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Maven's Memories: So You Won the Easter Epic, Now What?

After winning the Easter Epic, the Isles had to get back to work against the Philadelphia Flyers in round two

by Stan Fischler StanFischler / NewYorkIslanders.com

In our ice world there have been hockey games which have been so uniquely special; so extraordinary, that it would be sheer folly for a follow-up melodramatic contest to match the original classic.

So, it was for the Islanders Easter Epic which began on Saturday night, April 18, 1987 and ended early on Easter Sunday, April 19th.

For so many reasons, it was beyond extraordinary, a colossal battle between two game teams, bolstered by superior goalies, Kelly Hrudey (73 saves) and Bob Mason (54 saves). The marathon on April 18, 1987 spanned three regulation periods and four overtimes before Pat LaFontaine finally beat Washington Bob Mason at 8:47 of the fourth sudden-death period to clinch the series in Game Seven.

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NHL Insider

Binkley's long trek through minors paid off with Penguins

Goalie was 33 when he made NHL debut with expansion team in 1967

by Stan Fischler / Special to NHL.com

Legendary hockey reporter and analyst Stan Fischler writes a weekly scrapbook for NHL.com. Fischler, known as "The Hockey Maven," will share his knowledge, humor and insight with readers each Wednesday. Once a month, he will let a picture from his vast collection do the talking in his "Picture is Worth 100 Words" feature.

This month, he writes about goalie Les Binkley, whose perseverance helped him earn a five-season stint with the Pittsburgh Penguins after the NHL's first expansion in 1967.

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SUNDAYS WITH STAN: The Best Quotes

Stan Fischler writes about the history of the Devils franchise in his weekly column

by Stan Fischler StanFischler / Special to NewJerseyDevils.com

Hockey people always have had the knack for clever commentary and that includes the Devils and assorted folks who have been associated with the club. Here are my twenty-five favorite New Jersey one-liners from personalities past:

1. EX-DEVS COACH TOM MCVIE ON HOW FAST HE'LL TAKE HIS NEXT JOB: "I can be out of town in twenty minutes; thirty if I have stuff at the cleaners."

 

2. HERB BROOKS ON HIS BITTER-SWEET JOB COACHING IN NEW JERSEY: "Coaching is like being king; it prepares you for nothing."

 

3. EX-G.M. LOU LAMORIELLO PUTTING KEN DANEYKO IN HIS PLACE: "A hockey team is like an orchestra. Ken, don't think you're in the violin section; you're on bass drum!"

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Maven's Memories: Easter Epic Pt. 3

Stan Fischler concludes his three-part series on the Easter Epic

by Stan Fischler StanFischler / NewYorkIslanders.com

Read parts one and two of Stan Fischler's three-part series on the Easter Epic.

(Editor's Note: The Islanders-Capitals. Easter Epic, April 18-19, 1987, was rated second greatest game ever by The Hockey News. As for the marathon, after three periods and three overtime periods, the game remained tied. Here's what happened next:)


It was early Easter Sunday when the Islanders and Capitals took the ice for the fourth overtime on April 18-19,1987 in Landover, Maryland.

Most of the capacity crowd at Capital Centre had become exhausted by this marathon seventh game of the series. Some fans couldn't handle the fatigue and just fell asleep in their seats.

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NHL Insider

Voices from the Past: Joe Primeau

Hall of Famer talks about winning Stanley Cup as player, coach with Maple Leafs

by Stan Fischler / Special to NHL.com

Legendary hockey reporter and analyst Stan Fischler writes a weekly scrapbook for NHL.com. Fischler, known as "The Hockey Maven," shares his humor and insight with readers each Wednesday.

This week's edition features a 1969 interview with Hockey Hall of Famer Joe Primeau, then 63 years old. The meeting took place at Primeau's home in Toronto. They talked about his career as a player and coach with the Maple Leafs, as well as his rare feat of having coached teams that won the Memorial Cup, the Allan Cup and the Stanley Cup.

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SUNDAYS WITH STAN: Showdown with the Rangers

Stan Fischler writes about the history of the Devils franchise in his weekly column

by Stan Fischler StanFischler / Special to NewJerseyDevils.com

By the 1987-88 season, it was inevitable that a Devils-Rangers homestretch race for the playoffs would become worthy of a Hollywood scriptwriter.

And so it was, as winter turned to spring and the clubs collided at The Meadowlands Arena in a match that gripped the heartstrings of fans on both sides of the Hudson.

Like a hound pursuing a fox in an English countryside setting, the Devils were hellbent in desperate pursuit of their Trans-Hudson foes. The stakes were high; the tension almost unbearable.

Only a few points separated them; but the Rangers for weeks had steadfastly -- very stubbornly -- held their fourth-place beachhead and were determined not to relinquish it so late in the campaign.

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Maven's Memories: Easter Epic Pt. 2

Stan Fischler recounts three of the first four overtimes in the second part of his three-part series on the Easter Epic

by Stan Fischler StanFischler / NewYorkIslanders.com

Read part one of Stan Fischler's three-part epic on the Isles-Capitals 1987 Easter Epic

(Editor's Note: The Islanders-Capitals. Easter Epic, April 18-19, 1987, was rated second greatest game ever by The Hockey News. As for the marathon, after three periods and no score -- plus one overtime period -- the game remained tied. Here's what happened next:)


Washington Capitals coach Bryan Murray believed that he had the Islanders on the ropes as the teams skated on to Capital Centre ice for the second sudden-death overtime period.

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NHL Insider

Seattle has long history of interesting hockey nicknames

Metropolitans, Bombers among teams that have played in home of NHL's newest franchise

by Stan Fischler / Special to NHL.com

Legendary hockey reporter and analyst Stan Fischler writes a weekly scrapbook for NHL.com. Fischler, known as "The Hockey Maven," shares his knowledge, humor and insight with readers each Wednesday.

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SUNDAYS WITH STAN: The Hot Homestretch

Stan Fischler writes about the history of the Devils franchise in his weekly column

by Stan Fischler StanFischler / Special to NewJerseyDevils.com

What could be better than a 1987-88 homestretch-playoff-berth race-between the Devils and Rangers?

Not much.

Well, actually, one thing could be better for New Jersey fans, and that would be for the Devils to oust their intensely disliked rival from a playoff berth.

Of course, since the Devils never had gained the post-season before, such glorious thoughts among Garden State fans occasionally were consigned to sleepless nights -- and sweet dreams.

"We knew that eventually, it could happen," said lifelong Devils fan Noam Kogen of Manhattan. "But we dared not believe that it would."

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Maven's Memories: The Easter Epic Pt. 1

The first of Stan Fischler's three-part series on one of the greatest Islander games ever played

by Stan Fischler StanFischler / NewYorkIslanders.com

The game took six hours and 16 minutes to play. 

It began on a Saturday and finished on Sunday. Easter Sunday, April 18-19, 1987, to be exact.

There has never been a National Hockey League game quite like it; never. 

Since the NHL's inception in 1917 some thousands of contests have been played; thousands. And out of this mass of outcomes The Hockey News rated The Easter Epic the "Second Greatest Game" ever played.

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