The 1982 Islanders were arguably the best version of the team the NHL has ever seen. They held a regular season record of 54-16-10 for 118 points. That’s the 15th best season in the NHL, ever.
Sure, it’s not the 77-78 Canadiens that lost only eight times in an 80 game season. But it’s the best record the Islanders have ever managed in their history. Through those 80 games the Isles held a +135 goal differential. That’s insane.
As the Islanders entered the 1982 playoffs they already had two cups to their name. And they had a regular season to prove they could get a third.
They squeaked by the Penguins in five games of their opening round best of five series. If not for John Tonelli’s OT goal in game five the Isles might not have had the chance to play for a third.
With that slip-up front of mind, the Islanders lost just twice over the next three rounds. Both at the hands of the Rangers in the second round. They didn’t lose again through nine playoff games.
They swept the Nordiques aside in four games and then did the very same to the Vancouver Canucks in the Stanley Cup Finals.
The Islanders made a mockery of the regular season and finished off their playoff opposition with an absolute masterclass.
Again every championship is special, but the degree of difficulty in the 1982 cup was little to none. It was relatively straightforward for the Islanders compared to the first two in this list.