Friday, May 17, 2013
On this date in 1983, the New York Islanders became the first team based in the United States to win four consecutive Stanley Cup championships with a 4-2 win to sweep the Edmonton Oilers in four games.
1982-83 New York Islanders
Having already won Stanley Cups the previous two seasons, the Islanders entered the 1981-82 season looking to make the jump from back-to-back champions into the realm of a dynasty.
The Islanders had finished first overall in the league in 1978-79, but were eliminated in the conference finals that season. That playoff run and eventual disappointment gave the Islanders valuable playoff experience that would serve them well the next season of 1979-80, as they only finished the regular season with the fourth best record, but defeated the higher ranked Boston Bruins and Buffalo Sabres on their way to knocking off the number one seeded Philadelphia Flyers to capture their first Stanley Cup championship.
Now full of confidence, the Islanders, led by Bryan Trottier, Denis Potvin, Mike Bossy, Clark Gilles and the goaltending duo of Billy Smith and Chico Resch, finished first overall and defended their title by sweeping the Toronto Maple Leafs, defeating the up and coming Edmonton Oilers in six, sweeping the rival New York Rangers and defending their title by knocking off the Cinderella Minnesota North Stars in five, which included a Butch Goring hat trick in Game 3 on this date in 1981, making him the first player to score a playoff hat trick with two different teams, the other coming with the Los Angeles Kings.
1981-82 was a repeat of the previous season, as the Islanders again led the league with 118 points, seven more than their next closest challengers. Bossy led the team in scoring with 64 goals and 147 points, second in the league in both categories. Additionally, Trottier was fifth with 129 and reached the 50 goal plateau for the only time in his career.
The Islanders opened their season by only losing once in their first 12 games. After a loss on the road to the Rangers, the Islanders finished the season strong. An NHL record fifteen game winning streak (all in regulation since there was no overtime rule then), began a run, with the club going 29-2-4 from January, 21st to April 3rd, which included two additional nine game unbeaten streaks.
Once in the playoffs, the Pittsburgh Penguins gave the champions a scare, forcing the Islanders to come from behind in the fifth and deciding game of the first round, won on a John Tonelli goal in overtime. The Rangers again fell to the Islanders in six before a sweep of the Quebec Nordiques put them back into the finals for the third consecutive season.
A hat trick by Bossy, completed in the final second of the first overtime of Game 1, put the Islanders up by a game. A 6-4 win at home sent them to Vancouver now up by two. Smith shut out the Canucks in Vancouver 3-0 to take a commanding 3-0 lead before a 3-1 win gave the Islanders their third consecutive championships with a series sweep.
The Islanders 1982 Stanley Cup Celebration
The Islanders tied for sixth overall in 1982-83, but their battle tested playoff cunning came through as they defeated the Washington Capitals 3-1 in the opening round best-of-five, their crosstown rivals the Rangers 4-2 and then Boston 4-2 to advance to face the up-and-coming Edmonton Oilers.
Islanders goaltender Smith earned the Conn Smythe Trophy as he held Edmonton to six goals in a four game sweep, including not allowing Wayne Gretzky a single goal, as the Islanders captured their fourth consecutive championship in 1983, earning the right to call themselves a dynasty and joining only the 1956-60 (5) and 1976-1979 (4) Montreal Canadiens as the only clubs to have won four consecutive Stanley Cups.
The Islanders dynasty banners
Today's featured jersey is a 1981-82 New York Islanders Bob Bourne jersey. Bourne originally joined the Islanders in 1974 and played 12 seasons with the club. The speedy center scored 30 goals or more three times with his best offensive season being the 1980-81 season when he scored 35 goals and 41 assists for a career high 76 points.
A member of four consecutive Stanley Cup champions, Bourne was an integral part of the Islanders playoff success, averaging a point a game from 1980-1983, including 28 points in 20 games in 1983 to lead the Islanders in playoff scoring.
Bourne played the final two seasons of his career with the Los Angeles Kings and was named the winner of the Masterton Trophy in 1988.
The original Islanders jerseys had a lace-up collar, no names on the back and the lower part of the sleeves were white in color. In 1977-78 the collar was changed to a v-neck, the lower part of the sleeves become blue and two-color names appear on the jerseys for the first time. The following season the striping on the jersey was changed to add white above orange on the arms and the waist stripes are changed from orange above white to white above orange, making them consistent with the striping on the arms, as seen on today's featured jersey, the one in which they would win four straight Stanley Cups.
In our first video today, Bob Bourne talks about how to keep fit and prevent injuries now that he is in his 50's.
Here are brief highlights from Game 4 of the 1983 Stanley Cup Finals, played on this date in 1983, when the Islanders won their fourth consecutive championship.