by Guest Islander Expert,
1993 Playoffs: First Round (Game 4), Islanders vs. Capitals - April 24, 1993
I was a senior at Fairfield University in Connecticut. I had a few days off before finals and decided to head back to the Island to catch an Islanders playoff game. The Islanders had squeaked into the playoffs that year narrowly escaping a first round battle with the feared Pittsburgh Penguins. Names like Turgeon, Thomas, Hogue, Ferraro, Lachance, Pilon, Volek and Healy were carrying the hopes of all fans across the Island.
ISLANDERS FACE THE CAPITALS
After a flat effort in Game 1 dominated by the Capitals 3-1, the Islanders came back to win Game 2. Exchanging goals back and forth the Isles and the Caps needed double overtime to decide the contest. Finally, at 14:50 of the second overtime Brian Mullen lit the lamp for a 5 - 4 win. Game 3 was highlighted by a 3 - 1 comeback by the Islanders and a Ferraro goal in overtime again, to get a 4 - 3 win.
Islanders lead 2 games to 1
Pulling onto Hempstead Turnpike and heading toward the tolls to enter the Coliseum, I could just feel the excitement in the air. People, honking their horns to the tune of "Let's Go Islanders". Signs hanging out of cars, Islander jerseys on backs of fans everywhere. As we pulled into the parking lot, my friend Chuck and I had no idea what kind of game we were about to witness. You can say what you want about the old place but nothing could compare to the playoff atmosphere at the Coliseum that evening. We found our seats in section 219, made ourselves comfortable, and settled down for some good old playoff hockey.
The Islanders came out flat and the Caps were all over them, taking a 3 - 0 lead. You could see the disappointment on the faces of the fans throughout the stands. However, typical of the Islander team that year, they never gave up. They slowly chipped away at the lead, and with each successive goal, the Coliseum crowd was buzzing. When the Isles tied the score at 3 and headed into overtime you could cut the tension in the building with a knife. Something great was about to happen.
You would have thought the Islanders would spare the fans agony and pain by avoiding overtime in game 4. Two overtimes later that was an ancient memory. The Isles and Caps exchanged blows like two heavyweight fighters; I was feeling their pain! Then at 4:46 of the second overtime, Ray Ferraro, or as I liked to call him that year, "Mr. Overtime", buried the Caps once again to give the Isles a 4 - 3 win. When the game winner was scored the Coliseum exploded into a deafening roar. With height not exactly being my strong point (5'3"), I recall standing on the seat in front of me to just get a glimpse of the ice. Fans were hugging perfect strangers, confetti was flying everywhere, and I had nothing but a feeling of pride in being an Islander fan. According to Ferraro, "you can have a lot of thrills in this game, but it doesn't get any better than overtime in the Stanley Cup playoffs" (Pride and Passion, 1996). The Isles closed the series out in 6 games.
So Mike, what is your point?
Let me start by thanking Mr. Wang and Mr. Kumar for bringing hope, excitement, and support to the great fans of Long Island. Thank you for putting the Islanders back on the map of hockey. People are talking Islanders hockey again in the month of July and there is a feeling of excitement and anticipation about this team that hasn't been around since that amazing playoff run in 1993.
When I walk into the Coliseum for the home opener of the 2000 - 01 season on October 14th, the fire that raged inside me during that Game 4 of the 1993 playoffs will begin burning once again. Mark my words. The Islanders of today will be back in the playoffs this year, filling the Coliseum seats, bringing that electricity back, and building a winning tradition of their own.
We should all be given the opportunity to re-live that Game 4 back in 1993 when The New York Islanders and the fans of Long Island were on top of the hockey world. Names like Connolly, Isbister, Hamrlik, Pyatt, Czerkawski, Jonsson, and DiPietro can bring the magic back to the Coliseum just as names like Turgeon, Thomas, Hogue, Ferraro, Lachance, Pilon, Volek and Healy did on that amazing night in 1993.
I think a voice in the movie "Field of Dreams" said it best: "Build It and They Will Come". This is our time Islander fans. Mr. Wang and Mr. Kumar have begun to build.....
Lets Go Islanders!!