The New York Islanders have had little success recently, but their golden age began 38 years ago today.
The New York Islanders have been in a sad sorry state for decades. Years upon years of failures to bring us back to the golden years when the New York Islanders were the dynasty in the NHL.
The Islanders have new owners that can’t stop talking about bringing back the glory days. About bringing back championship mentality. About bringing back the drive for five.
It all sounds great. But in two years since they took over as majority owners, their team missed the playoffs twice. The first time by a single point two seasons ago and then by 17 this season.
Now that they have Lou Lamoriello as the team’s President of Hockey Operations they’ve put their money where their mouth is. But while we wait for Lou to work his magic, we have to live in the past. A past that includes the first cup the Islanders ever won on this day in 1980.
The First Cup
After two seasons finishing with over a 100 points, the New York Islanders disappointed in the playoffs by losing to the Maple Leafs in the quarter-finals of the 1978 playoffs and then losing to the Rangers in the semi-finals of the 1979 playoffs.
In 1980 the Islanders didn’t have a similarly successful regular season. With 91 points they finished behind the Flyers and their 116 point campaign.
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In the playoffs, the Islanders took out the Kings in four games of a preliminary round. Then it was the Bruins in a five-game series. Before the Isles took out the Buffalo Sabres in six games int he semi-finals.
They made it further than ever by making it to the finals. Where they would meet the Philadelphia Flyers. The team that finished a healthy 15 points ahead of the Islanders.
By game six the New York Islanders had a 3-2 series lead over the Flyers. With goals from Denis Potvin, Duane Sutter, Mike Bossy and Bob Nystrom the Islanders held a 4-2 lead going into the third period. The Islanders were 20 minutes away from winning their first cup.
The Flyers, veterans of two cups already, weren’t going down easy. They pushed back in the third period with two goals of their own to level the score and send it to overtime. That’s when Bob Nystrom stepped up once again.
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It was 38 years ago today that the New York Islanders won their first championship of four. It was the first step in cementing their legacy as one of two teams to ever win four in a row. Hopefully, the addition of Lou Lamoriello is step one in a multi-step process that allows the Islanders to lift the cup again.