The Islanders’ Dynasty Begins and the Oilers’ Last Hurrah
On this day in 1980, Bobby Nystrom’s overtime goal in Game 6 against Philadelphia gave the New York Islanders their first Stanley Cup. It was only the 8th season for the expansion Islanders and their first Stanley Cup Finals appearance.
The Islanders returned to the finals the next year and again closed it out at their Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum home, this time dispensing with the Minnesota North Stars 4-1.
The Islanders returned again in 1982 and 1983, sweeping the Vancouver Canucks and then the Wayne Gretzky-led Edmonton Oilers.
The Islanders four Stanley Cup titles in a row has only been matched by the Montreal Canadiens, who won five straight (1955-1960) and four straight (1976-1979). The core of that team hangs in the rafters. All but Nystrom made it to the Hall of Fame and Potvin, Trottier, Bossy and Smith were all included in Hockey News Top 100 Players in 1998.
In 1984, they appeared in their 5th straight Stanley Cup finals with a 19 playoff series winning streak, but Wayne Gretzky’s 7 goals in 5 games brought the streak to an end.
Gretsky and company began a new streak the following year, winning 4-1 against Philadelphia.
The Oilers would win again in 1987 and 1988, and then on this day in 1990, the Oilers’ Dynasty won their last Stanley Cup beating Boston 4-1.
While Pittsburgh and Detroit would win back-t0-back crowns in the 1990’s, hockey’s age of Dynasty had come to a close. From 1976-1990, three teams (Montreal, New York Islanders and Edmonton) won 15 of the 16 championships.
The Islanders and Oilers went from being two of the best NHL teams in the 80’s, to being among the worst. In the 32 years since the Oilers broke their 19-series streak, the Islanders have made it to the Conference Finals once and missed the playoffs altogether 17 times.
Since winning their last Stanley Cup in 1990, the Oilers made it back to the Stanley Cup in 2006 losing in seven games to Carolina, but have missed the playoffs 16 times (including the last 10-years in a row).
Cover Photo: Neil R, Isles Stanley Cup