The Islanders nearly got knocked out — by their own fans.
After Islanders forward Anthony Beauvillier scored in overtime Wednesday to force a Game 7 in the semifinal against Tampa Bay, fans threw beer cans, water bottles and rally towels onto the Nassau Coliseum ice as their favorite players celebrated.
At one point, hard-nosed Islanders forward Cal Clutterbuck had to knock a can out of the air — and did not seem happy about it.
“I can’t understand this,” longtime NBC hockey analyst and former Rangers Stanley Cup champion Eddie Olczyk said as the scene unfolded on live television. “This is dangerous for the players. This is your team.”
Beauvillier, the hero of the 3-2 win, was all for it.
“Going into OT the building smelled like cigarettes, and now it smells like beers,” the 24-year-old said.
Though fans throwing objects onto the ice is nothing new, especially after a loss, it’s unusual for them to do so in celebration — especially when they may be putting their favorite players at risk.
Perhaps Islanders fans were saying their goodbyes to Nassau Coliseum, for there won’t be another game there if the Islanders don’t advance to the Stanley Cup final on Friday.
The Islanders, who have called the Coliseum home for almost every season since 1972, are expected to move to the newly constructed UBS Arena at Belmont Park next season.
“Never seen anything like that,” Islanders star forward Mat Barzal said. “A little dangerous, but… that’s the Islanders faithful. They’re passionate, they get excited.”