People are searching for how many Stanley Cups the New York Islanders have. So to give them what they want, here’s a brief history of all four Cups.
I’m noticing “how many Stanley Cups have the New York Islanders won” trend recently. I imagine this is a direct result of MSG airing Isles cup winning games while the season has been suspended.
Of course, most Isles fans will know that the team won four back-to-back Cups between 1980 and 1983. But with people clearly trying to find out how many Cups the Islanders have shows that casual fans (or non-Isles fans) are as sure as some of us about the team’s previous glory days.
So, to quench the curiosity. Here’s a brief history about each Stanley Cup win including the Isles regular-season record that year, the teams they beat on the way to the final, the finals themselves, and who won the Conn Smythe (Playoff MVP) that year.
1980: The First Cup
Regular-season record: 39-28-13 (91 points) | 2nd Patrick Division
On their way to their first Stanley Cup, the Isles eliminated the Los Angeles Kings in four games during the preliminary round of the playoffs by a cumulative score of 21-10.
In the quarter-finals, the Islanders eliminated the Bruins in five games. It was a much closer series than a 4-1 record shows. Three games were decided in overtime.
Buffalo was next. The Sabres were the second-best team in the league that season, but the Isles were able to beat them in six games
In the finals, the Islanders would face the powerhouse Flyers. With the series at 3-2 and the score tied 4-4 in overtime of games six, the Isles could clinch their first Cup with just a single goal. At 7:11 of OT Bobby Nystrom (after a great pass from John Tonelli) beat Pete Peeters for the Cup-clinching goal.
Conn Smythe winner: Bryan Trottier | 29 points in 21 games
1981: OMG, Were Back Again
Regular-season record: 48-18-14 (110 points) | 1st Patrick Division
The Islanders barreled their way through much of the playoff tree in 1981. They swept the Toronto Maple Leafs in the preliminary round. The still young Edmonton Oilers proved a bit more difficult, but the Isles prevailed in six games.
In the semis, the Islanders swept the New York Rangers. The 22-8 goal differential for the series shows just how dominant the Islanders were against their cross-river rivals.
In the finals, they dispatched the Minnesota North Stars in five games and by a cumulative score of 26 to 16.
Conn Smythe winner: Butch Goring | 20 points in 18 games
1982: Dynasty Status
Regular-season record: 54-16-10 (118 points) | 1st Patrick Division
By the 1981-82 season, the New York Islanders were a well-oiled machine. They brushed past the regular season with their sights firmly set on establishing a dynasty.
The first round should have been easy, but it proved to anything but. The Islanders needed an OT goal from John Tonelli in game five of the preliminary round against the Pittsburgh Penguins to move on. Their next matchup was with the Rangers.
The Rangers wouldn’t be so easily walked over this time. They took the series opener (on Long Island). It was the first time the Isles lost at home in three months. It took six games, but the Islanders would come out on top once again.
From there the Blue and Orange didn’t lose a single game in the Conference finals or Stanley Cup finals. They went 8-0 as they tossed aside the Quebec Nordiques and the Vancouver Canucks for their third Cup in three years. They were now, officially, a dynasty.
Conn Smythe winner: Mike Bossy | 27 points in 19 games
1983: One of the Greatest
Regular-season record: 50-26-4 (96 points) | 2nd Patrick Division
In the division semi-finals, the Islanders would eliminate the Washington Capitals in four games to set up yet another matchup with the New York Rangers. The Rangers had just swept the division leaders Philadelphia Flyer in three-straight games.
After taking the first two games by a combined scored of 9-1, the Rangers fought back to tale two games of their own. Including a 13 goal goal-fest in game three where the Rangers won 7-6. But with two back-to-back wins in games five and six, the Isles sent the Rangers packing for the third straight year.
The Islanders got through the Boston Bruins in a six-game series that swung back and forth.
In the finals, they’d meet the Edmonton Oilers. A team that was supposed to be the next NHL dynasty. Unfortunately for the Oilers, the Isles were cup finals vets and easily tossed aside the Oilers in four straight games.
With four back-to-back Cups, the Islanders established themselves not only as a dynasty but as one of the greatest dynasties ever. Only two teams have ever won four Cups back-to-back. The Isles between 1980 and 83 and the Montreal Canadiens between 1956-1960 and then again between 1976-1979.
Conn Smythe winner: Billy Smith | 2.69GAA 0.913SV% in 17 games