The Drive For Five (May 14, 1984)
This a saying we've all heard since 1984, as it's the year The Drive For Five began. Stanley Cup champions four years in a row, the Islanders were entering their fifth straight cup final after winning 19 straight playoff series.
Playing far more games than any other team over five years, the Isles were beaten up, with author E.M. Smith, in his first paragraph, comparing Clark Gillies's face to a topographical map of the Laurentians mountain range in Quebec.
The physicality of the Islanders in the '80s was unmatched, willing to go toe-to-toe with any opponent.
The Isles had just defeated the Montreal Canadiens to reach their fifth consecutive final, but winning the first three rounds didn't come as easy in years past. The Isles weren't as dominant as they'd been between 1980-1983, but their experience when it mattered most helped carry them to the cusp of a fifth straight cup.
"We've had to struggle in the playoffs from Game 1 this year," Al Arbour told SI. "We've had adversity in all departments. You name it, we've had it."
After the Isles defeated the Habs in six games, Hal of Fame head coach Jacques Lemaire said of the Isles. "They'll win it [the Stanley Cup] because they're the best team in America. They were too strong for us. They're good all over."
The Isles lost to the Oilers in the 1984 Stanley Cup Finals as the Edmonton organization said it took losing to the Islanders in 1983 to figure out that you had to leave everything you had on ice if you want to become a champion.