Mention the Islanders' stupendous 1993 upset of the defending champion Pittsburgh Penguins and the first name that comes to mind is David Volek, whose goal torpedoed Pitt's drive for three Cups. The second name would have to be Ray Ferraro, who courteously ladled the pass to Dauntless Dave who then deposited the biscuit behind Tom Barrasso.

What's too often overlooked is the fact that none of this would have been possible without Rapid Ray playing The Old Lamplighter in the previous round. Yesiree, it was Signor Ferraro himself, who almost single-handedly walloped Washington's Capitals. Consider this:

The Caps-Isles tourney was portrayed as a showdown between two hard-working clubs that were going to kill each other for the right to dethrone Mario Lemieux, Inc.

Al Arbour's battalion was not given much chance to win the series after a desultory performance in Game One, Perpetual nuisance Dale Hunter entertained the home crowd at Capitol Centre in Landover, Maryland with a two-goal performance in the third period.

The final result was 3-1 for the home club with Hunter illuminating two red lights in the final frame. One report about the visitors succinctly stated: "The Islanders did not put up much of a fight."

Coach Al Arbour didn't have to read the paper to know that. "I saw it," the skipper allowed, "and I had to figure some way to awaken these guys."


On the day before Game Two, he loaded his players on the bus destined to take them to Annapolis for a practice. Instead, he had the driver step out of the vehicle after which Radar closed the door of the bus and blasted his troops.

"Al knew we could win the series," said Patrick Flatley. "But he was questioning if we knew that."

Game Two would tell the tale. Arbour was especially directing his tirade at top scorer Pierre Turgeon as well as tiny Ray Ferraro, who earlier had suffered a broken right leg that would sideline him for six weeks and 38  games. 

But Rapid Ray was ready, willing and able in Game Two. The Isles led 3-2 until late in the third period when defenseman Rich Pilon took a five-minute major penalty for high-sticking defenseman Sylvain Cote.

Hunter tied the game with three seconds left in regulation but the Isles still had to kill two minutes of Pilon's penalty in the first overtime. They took care of that bit of business and then played the Caps even through the opening sudden death period.

More than half way through the second extra session, both Brian Mullen and Ferraro took whacks at a loose puck. Mullen was credited with the winner although it looked like Ray got the last whack to give the Isles a 5-4 win.

"You can have a lot of thrills in this game," said Ferraro. "But it doesn't get any better than overtime in the Stanley Cup playoffs."

Game Three - back in Uniondale - was another OT thriller. This time, the Nassaumen overcame a 3-1 deficit in the third period on Turgeon's tally with 42.7 seconds left in regulation. This time, there was no doubt about Ferraro scoring the winner. Ray took a pinpoint centering pass from Benoit Hogue. That put New York ahead 2-1 in the series. YAY, RAY!

"I'm handling the puck really well and I'm playing well in front of the net," Ferraro said. "I can't explain the feeling other than it's like a hitter in baseball when he goes on a hot streak."

Having turned the series around - now leading two games to one - the Islanders pulled off yet another comeback. Down 3-0, they stormed back once more and that meant yet another pulsating overtime game.


This nail-biter extended into the second sudden-death period. This time, utility forward Claude Loiselle found Ferraro wide-open in the slot and Ray took care of the rest - and also caused a few "What Ifs" in the press box.

If the goal in Game Two had been rightfully credited to Ray instead of Mullen, Ferraro's string of three straight OT game-winners would have been unprecedented in NHL history.

Now it was Washington's turn and in Game Five in Landover, they responded with a 6-4 win. However, when the Isles were down 5-1 in the third, Ferraro scored a hat trick in the span of 7:51 - giving him four goals for the night - but the Caps held on and spoiled the Isles hopes for coming back in Game Five, sending the series back to Hempstead Turnpike.

The Islanders would win the series in Game Six, 5-3, but it was Ray Ferraro's offensive thrusts starting in Game Two that helped catapult his team to ultimate victory.

Or, as teammate Derek King so aptly put it: "This is Ray's season right now!"

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