In a highlight film on playoff hockey, Bob Bourne's goal would be the centerpiece. Playing out a little boy's dream, the TV folks called it.
"I went home after the game last night, started on my tape machine and looked at it 10 or 12 times," he said after the Islanders had gone through a light skate this morning. "And today, the feeling is still there."
As it should be. Bourne's goal was one breathless, headlong rush from behind his goalie's net through a flatfooted defense, his wrist shot beating the Rangers' Eddie Mio late in the second period.
"Prettiest goal I ever saw," said Islanders Coach Al Arbour. Bill Torrey, the team's general manager, called it "a work of art." Even the Rangers' Anders Hedberg had praise.
"It was beautiful," Hedberg said. "When you see a goal like that, you feel like you want to give the guy a little tap on the pads."
At the time, the Islanders held a 4-1 lead, but Bourne's goal still was worth a standing ovation.
"What I remember most is the first few seconds after, when Tommy (Jonsson) came up and grabbed my head to congratulate me," Bourne said. "I didn't notice the crowd, or anything else, until I saw the tape." He peeled some tape from around his wrists, looked up and smiled. "I've had lots of end to enders (opportunities), but nothing like that. You might see Mike Bossy do it 20 times a season. You wouldn't expect to see me do it. I'm going to keep that tape all my life. I might even get 20 copies."
Bourne, who is enjoying the best playoff of his career, is a longtime Islander. "People don't realize it, but I'm here 10 years," he said. He is principally a speed machine, swooping down ice as if he were running the 220, sometimes appearing out of control.
"I do a lot of things that don't look great," he said. "With so much speed, it is hard to cut in and go in front of the goalie. (Former Islanders goalie) Chico Resch told me that I had to slow down on a clean breakaway, but most of the chances I get are not with that much open ice. Last night, I knew I had all that room. I was completely cool and in control."
Bourne isn't sure exactly why he's doing so well during these playoffs, and this series. He has 16 points, 12 in this series, with 10 assists against the Rangers, three Wednesday night.
"I think it's because of all the honey and nut Cheerios I've been eating all year," he said, straight of face. "Really, it's our line (the Sutter brothers, Duane and Brent, with Bourne, accounted for two goals Wednesday night) that has everything working well. That's where the points are coming from; Brent and Duane put the puck on my stick."
Bourne said there is subtle pressure--"From myself, really"--to perform well during the playoffs. "I know with Bryan (Trottier) not one hundred percent, and Clark (Gillies) out, my responsibility is to be in there. But for this time of year, it's a natural pressure. I get nervous, but then things start to happen."
The Rangers, troubled by injuries, will have to get healthy in a hurry to avoid being eliminated Friday night. Mike Allison, who went off with a sprained knee during Wednesday night's second period, will be out at least three or four weeks. Don Maloney, who has a virus, skated briefly and is listed as "50-50;" his brother Dave, with a pulled muscle in his lower stromach, also is doubtful.