2018-19: Round 1
Result: 4-0 series win
Islanders top scorer: Jordan Eberle (6 points)
Remember how bad the New York Islanders were supposed to be in 2018-19? Like the other 30 teams in the NHL were going to dunk so hard on the Isles because they lost John Tavares and brought in a bunch of bottom-six players.
But everyone forgot about Barry Trotz. The Stanley Cup-winning coach proved he was the best in the business by turning what should have been a training-wrek into an overwhelming success.
The Islanders finished the 18-19 season with 103 points, just a single point behind the Washington Capitals in the Metropolitan Division and good enough to finish sixth in the NHL.
You’d think that the “Islanders are actually bad” narrative would have gone out the window by the playoffs. That wasn’t the case. The Islanders were still seen as frauds and the Penguins would bring order back to the NHL.
Wrong. The Islanders, lead by Jordan Eberle up top and Robin Lehner between the pipes, swept the Penguins in four straight games. And outside of a 4-3 OT win in Game 1, the rest of the series wasn’t close.
The Isles ran a +8 goal differential through the four-game series with the Penguins. Eberle would put up four goals and six points while Robin Lehner stopped 130 shots for an incredible 0.956SV% and 1.47 GAA.
The Islanders once again proved everyone wrong. They showed a team with very few stars could still compete not only in the regular season but for a championship. And they’d do it again, and again, and again.