Today, 37 years ago, the New York Islanders did something only one other NHL team has done; win four back-to-back Stanley Cups. Establishing themselves as legends in the sport.
One cup is special, two is a run, three is a dynasty. Winning a third back-to-back Stanley Cup in 1982 established the New York Islanders as a dynasty in the NHL. A year later the Islanders would become legends in the sport by winning a fourth straight.
Up to that point in the NHL, only one team had won four straight Stanley Cups. The Montreal Canadiens won five straight between 1956 and a1960 under head coach Toe Blake and then won four straight between 1976 and 1979 under head coach Scotty Bowman.
That’s legendary status.
It was today, May 17, 1983, that the New York Islanders beat Wayne Gretzky‘s Edmonton Oilers with a 4-2 win in game number four for the 1983 Stanley Cup finals. Thirty-seven years ago today, the Isles beat a “dynasty in waiting” Edmonton Oilers in a four-game sweep with four goals to win their fourth Cup.
After the win, Wayne Gretzky remembered that the Islanders dressing room wasn’t a wild party but a sign of guys who were absolutely exhausted holding bags of ice and heat pads. Losing taught the “Great One” what it would take to win. Something the Oilers would do a year later.
Four straight Stanley Cup wins has yet to be reproduced in the NHL. No one has even come close. There have been a few back-to-back winners, like the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2017, but no team has been able to hit three, let alone four.
What the New York Islanders did back in 1983 established themselves as legends in the sport. Sure, some players and staff were already legends. Guys like Bryan Trottier, Mike Bossy, Denis Potvin, Billy Smith, Al Arbour, and Bill Torrey (to name a few) were already big names in the sport.
But with a fourth cup the Islanders franchise, a franchise that didn’t exist just 12 years prior, was now firmly part of hockey folklore thanks to its legendary run of championship victories.