Over 20 years later, Bourne's goal still the most talked about
By Jason Lockhart
It was graceful, athletic and a thing of beauty. Bob Bourne's end-to-end rush on April 20, 1983 that put the Islanders up 5-1 against the Rangers in Game Five of the Patrick Division Final was in a word, "magical."
Everyone at the Nassau Coliseum, even the opposing players, knew they had seen a goal for the ages.
"I didn't even see it start," said Mike Bossy, following the game.
That's how unassuming Bourne's rush began in his own zone, but once in full stride some knew what was coming. Rangers netminder John Davidson, who was sitting in the Coliseum press box at the time, recognized trouble. "Bournie could always fly," said Davidson who played against Bourne in junior hockey.
And fly Bourne did, through center ice, even beating his linemates to the offensive zone, who had been looking for the head-man pass.
"I got to the red line first, but Bournie beat me to the blue line," said Brent Sutter.
Once in the offensive zone, Bourne made the move that would define the goal. With a quick move to the left, Bourne then slipped the puck back to the right, between defenseman Reijo Ruotsalainen's legs and skated in on netminder Eddie Mio.
"I saw Ruotsalainen plant his feet and I put the puck through them," said Bourne simplifying the complexity of the move.
From there, Bourne slipped a low shot past goaltender Mio to cap off the greatest end-to-end rush in Islanders history.
It became something out of folklore when Newsday even drew a diagram mapping out Bourne's goal. It was a play you were more likely to see in juniors where the superstars dominated, but to see it at the NHL level was almost unbelievable.
"It was the prettiest goal I have ever seen," said Duane Sutter, who had front row seats to the goal on the Islanders bench.
If you didn't see the goal live, you'll want to re-live it at the Nassau Coliseum Saturday night at 7 pm, when we honor Bourne on Hall of Fame Night. You won't want to miss it.