Wednesday night might have been the New York Islanders’ last hurrah at the Nassau Coliseum. If it was, both the team and their fans sent it out in their own inimitable style.
In a win-or-go-home Game 6 for the Islanders, they came back from a 2-0 deficit in the second period to tie it up, and then scored the winning goal against the Tampa Bay Lightning with 18:52 left in overtime. The man responsible for putting it in the back of the net was Anthony Beauvillier, who snapped a 10-game scoreless streak to force a winner-take all Game 7.
In the mayhem after the overtime goal, fans did something inexplicable. Faced with what might be their final moments watching their beloved Islanders in the past-its-prime Coliseum, they began throwing beer cans — expensive stadium beer cans — onto the ice in a twisted declaration of love.
It was also weird and not at all safe. Islanders forward Mathew Barzal acknowledged that, but also seemed to understand why the fans did it.
“Never seen anything like that,” Barzal said via the New York Post. “A little dangerous, but… that’s the Islanders faithful. They’re passionate, they get excited.”
Thankfully, no one was harmed.
The Islanders and Lightning now head back to Tampa for a winner-take-all Game 7. If the Islanders can’t pull it out, the joy and triumph of Game 6 will be the last memories the team and their fans will make at the Coliseum before they move into the brand new UBS Arena next season. If they can prevail over the Lightning on Friday night, fans will be back for one more series. Hopefully they hold on to their beer cans.
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