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.”
Perhaps Islanders fans were saying their goodbyes to Nassau Coliseum, for there won’t be another game at the so-called Barn if the Islanders don’t advance to the Stanley Cup final on Friday.
Either way, 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 — more so when they may be putting their favorite players at risk.
“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.”
The Islanders, who have called the 13,000-seat Coliseum home for almost every season since 1972, are expected to move to the newly constructed UBS Arena at Belmont Park next season.