On This Date in Sports April 26, 1975

In collaboration with the

The New York Islanders beat the Pittsburgh Penguins 1-0 in Game 7 of the Quarterfinals of the Stanley Cup Playoffs at the Pittsburgh Civic Center. The Islanders won four straight after losing the first three games of the series, becoming the second team in NHL history to win a seven-game series after trailing 3-0, the previous team to do it was the Toronto Maple Leafs who beat the Detroit Red Wings in 1942.

Coached by Al Arbour, the New York Islanders in just their third season were a young team on the rise. Led by players like Denis Potvin and Bobby Nystrom, the Islanders made it into the playoffs for the first time in franchise history with a record of 33-25-22. Finishing eighth overall of the 12 seeded playoff qualifiers; the Islanders met the New York Rangers in the Preliminary Round. After splitting the first two games of a three-game series the Islanders found themselves in overtime, tied 3-3 with the series on the line at Madison Square Garden. Just 11 seconds into sudden death, the Islanders got a goal by J.P. Parise to send a message to their established rivals from the big city that they have arrived.

The Pittsburgh Penguins coached by Marc Boileau had their ups and downs since joining the NHL in 1967. Making their third postseason appearance in eight years, the Penguins had their best season to date at 37-28-15. Qualifying sixth in the NHL playoff seeding, the Penguins swept the St. Louis Blues in the Preliminary Round.

The Penguins continued their momentum into the series against the Islanders, winning the opener 5-4 as the Islanders got two third period goals from J.P. Parise. Pittsburgh would win Game 2, by a score of 3-1 with Lowell MacDonald scoring twice. At the Nassau Coliseum, the Penguins remained in control winning 6-4 to take a 3-0 series lead. After losing the first three games, the Islanders made a change in goal, benching Billy Smith in favor of Glenn “Chico” Resch, a nickname he earned due to his resemblance to comedian Freddy Prinze who was in the sitcom “Chico and the Man”. The moved paid off, as the Islanders recorded a 3-1 win in Game 4, with Clark Gilles and Parise scoring 39 seconds apart in the third period. Chico was the man again in Game 5 in Pittsburgh, stopping 36 of 38 shots as the Islanders won 4-2. In Game 6, Resch made 31 saves as the Islanders evened the series with a 4-1 win, scoring two empty net goals in the final seconds. Looking to equal the feat of the Toronto Maple Leafs who beat the Detroit Red Wings after losing the first three games in the Stanley Cup Finals. The Islanders again got a big game from Chico Resch who frustrated the Penguins all game long stopping all 30 shots. As the Penguins controlled the puck most of the game Pittsburgh Goalie Gary Inness was also blanking the Islanders until Ed Westfall scored the game’s lone goal with 5:18 left in regulation.

With their 1-0 win, the Islanders moved on to face the Philadelphia Flyers in the Stanley Cup Semifinals. The Flyers dominated the first three games of the series, but the Islanders who already won five straight elimination games battled back again to force a seventh game. This time, however, the would fall short losing 4-1 as Philadelphia went on to win the Stanley Cup for the second straight season beating the Buffalo Sabres in six games. The Islanders would continue adding young talent and won the Stanley Cup in 1980, beginning a four-year championship reign.