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#7 May 17th, 1983: The New York Islanders Last Stanley Cup The Islanders dominated the Edmonton Oilers en route to their 4th straight Cup, sweeping the series (again) and winning each game by at least 2 goals (again). This would be the last Stanley Cup the Islanders ever won, losing in the Finals to Edmonton the following season. Billy Smith won the Conn Smythe as the MVP of the playoffs. Wayne Gretzky, in an interview with NHL.com twenty years later, credited that Islanders team for helping teach his Oilers what it took to be great.
“”After the 1983 Finals, we had to walk by the Islanders’ locker room, and we saw guys limping around and putting ice bags on themselves. We didn’t have a scratch. We learned a lot about what it took to win.”-Wayne Gretzky
This was a proverbial “changing of the guard” series, since the Oilers would go on to win 4 Stanley Cups in the next 5 seasons. The Islanders final Stanley Cup marked the end of an era of sorts. Granted they didn’t win it all, but during the 1983-84 playoffs they reached the Stanley Cup finals (including a great game that we will discuss later on), which brought their number of consecutive playoff series wins to 19; a North American professional sports record. Since the Islanders won four Stanley Cups in a row, no other North American professional sports team has won more than 3 consecutive titles. The Islanders dynasty is vastly regarded as the last of its kind in the NHL, the likes of which may never be seen again.