Tonight’s game will mark the Kings final visit to Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, the stadium where the Islanders have played their home games for the last 43 years.
It’s also a perfect opportunity for the subject of this week’s Throw Back Thursday article. Not only is it a building very reminiscent of the Kings former home in Inglewood, the Great Western Forum – featuring one giant concourse, leaving very little room for maneuvering around, and where fans need to take a lot of stairs to get up to the last rows of the arena – it was also where Luc Robitaille recorded his first career hat trick.
Riding a hot streak, winning their previous four games, the Kings visited the Islanders on December 9, 1986. Pat Quinn was in his last month of coaching Los Angeles before some reported shady dealings with the Vancouver Canucks became public. For Robitaille, he was about to notch three goals in a single NHL game against goaltender Billy Smith.
In the first period, with the game tied at 1, Robitaille recorded his first goal of the game:
Look at that hold on Dave Taylor, and it wasn’t even going to be called! The Kings took control of the game after this goal, as Jimmy Carson would score just 11 seconds after Robitaille’s goal. Later, in the third period, with the Kings already up 5-2, Robitaille outworked Brian Curran to pick up his second goal of the game:
With time winding down, and less than a minute remaining in the game, Quinn had Carson and Robitaille on the ice, each looking for their hat trick goal. Robitaille found some room:
Back then, instead of “Kings Live”, the postgame show was “Kings Korner” (yes, Kings Korner with two Ks). Robitaille sat down with then-color analyst Nick Nickson to talk about his hat trick. Sadly the video cuts out before the very end of the interview:
While the building may be old and dilapidated, it will always be a special place for Robitaille.
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