New York Islanders History
The New York Islanders are one of five teams in the Atlantic Division of the Eastern Conference of the National Hockey League (NHL). The Islanders play in the Nassau Veterans Coliseum in Uniondale, New York. Uniondale is on Long Island, the island from which the team takes its name. The team jersey is blue and orange.
From 1980 to 1983 the Islanders won the Stanley Cup four years in a row, making them only the second NHL team, after the Montréal Canadiens, to win four consecutive Stanley Cups. During these years the Islanders’ lineup included forward Mike Bossy, defenseman Denis Potvin, and goalie Billy Smith—all future Hockey Hall of Fame members. Bossy set an NHL record in 1979 by scoring his first 100 goals in 129 games—faster than any previous NHL player. In 1986 he again set an NHL record by reaching 500 goals in only 647 games. Also in 1986, Potvin, with 271 goals, became the top-scoring defensive player in NHL history, surpassing the record previously held by Bobby Orr.
Islanders head coach Al Arbour, who guided the team to the four Stanley Cup championships, eventually coached a total of 1601 games, winning 902 of them.
The New York Islanders entered the NHL in 1972 as an expansion team. They finished the 1972-73 season with a win-loss-tie record of 12-60-6; it was the worst record to that date in NHL history. Under Arbour, who was hired as head coach before the 1973-74 season, the Islanders steadily improved, and one of the NHL’s best-known rivalries developed between the Islanders and the New York Rangers. In the 1977-78 season, with rookie forward Bossy leading the offense, the Islanders captured their first division title. In the postseason, however, they were defeated by the Toronto Maple Leafs in the second round.
For his play in the 1978-79 season, center Bryan Trottier won the Hart Memorial Trophy as the league’s most valuable player (MVP). Before the 1979-80 season the Islanders acquired defenseman Ken Morrow, who had won a gold medal with the United States ice hockey team in the 1980 Olympic Games, and forward Butch Goring, from the Los Angeles Kings. That year the newcomers teamed with veterans Trottier, Denis Potvin, Mike Bossy, Billy Smith, and forward Bobby Nystrom to lead the Islanders to their first Stanley Cup. In the finals they defeated the Philadelphia Flyers 4 games to 2. Trottier won the Conn Smythe Trophy as the MVP of the playoffs.
During the 1980-81 season the Islanders won their division, and in the 1981 Stanley Cup Finals they defeated the Minnesota North Stars 4 games to 1. Goring was named playoff MVP.
The Islanders ended the 1981-82 season as division champions for the second straight year. They went on to win their third Stanley Cup in a row, this time beating the Vancouver Canucks in the finals 4 games to 0. Bossy was named playoff MVP. The Islanders’ fourth Stanley Cup victory, against the Edmonton Oilers in four consecutive games, followed in 1983, and Billy Smith won the playoff MVP award.
In the 1984 playoffs the Islanders continued their postseason domination, again reaching the Stanley Cup Finals. This ran their streak of consecutive playoff series victories to 19, a league record. In the finals, however, they lost to the Oilers 4 games to 1. After their loss in the 1984 finals, the Islanders’ performance declined, although they did win their division in 1987-88. Notable players for the Islanders in the 1990s included center Pierre Turgeon, right wing Zigmund Palffy, and defenseman Scott Lachance.
Official New York Islanders Web Site