2021 will be a season that will never be forgotten by Islanders fans: Ryan Pulock’s save, Anthony Beauvillier’s winning goal in the final game at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, the ending of the Covid pandemic, the return of fans to the arenas and the beginnings of getting back to “normal.” With all the new memories collected this year, how did it stack up against the other ones in history? In our first segment of Path To The Draft, Isles Talk ranks 2021 with other top seasons in the history of the New York Islanders.
- 1982-83 season: The 82-83 team may not have been the best during the regular season, but then again, as we learned this year, it is not how you start but where you finish. This season the Isles completed a regular season record of 42-26-12 for 96 points and a winning percentage of .600. No longer favorites to win the Cup, the injury riddled Islanders came back healthy just in time for the playoffs and steam-rolled through the playoffs, including a Stanley Cup Finals sweep of the favorites, Edmonton Oilers.
- 1981-82 season: Now you want to talk about a dominating season, this was it. In 81-82 the Isles posted a 54-16-10 record for 118 points and a winning percentage of .738 and the playoffs were no different as they cruised their way to the Finals and wound up beating the Vancouver Canucks in a sweep to win the Stanley Cup for a third consecutive year.
- 1979-80 season: There is nothing like your first time. The Isles failed to get to the finals back in 78 and 79 when they were upset by Toronto and the Rangers, respectively. During the 79-80 season, many wanted the team blown up, and start over along with Al Arbour being fired as head coach. Good thing Isles GM Bill Torrey knew otherwise, as he made a trade deadline deal that brought in Butch Goring from the Los Angeles Kings and the rest is Islander’s history.
- 1980-81 season: Lost in the Dynasty years is a team that really was not challenged during the regular season (48-18-14 for 110 points and a .688 winning %) and concluded their 2nd straight Stanley Cup victory with a 4-1 series win against the Minnesota North Stars. The Edmonton Oilers was the only franchise in the playoffs to take the Isles to a 6-game series.
- 1983-84 season: The Islanders continued their regular season dominance (52-26-4 for 104 points and a winning % of .650) and were looking to win their 5th straight Stanley Cup, but ran into the Edmonton Oilers in the Cup finals. This time the Oilers, having taken a few lessons from the Islanders on what it takes to win the Cup, beat the Isles in 5 games, ending the greatest playoff series winning streak at 19.
- 2020-21 season: Yes folk, this was that good of a year for this franchise. Despite playing only 8 teams this season, the Islanders established a record of 32-17-7 for 71pts and a winning % of .634 ranking them 7th all-time in Islanders history. What places them 6th all-time is that this is the 2nd straight season that that the Isles have made it to the Conference Finals (or Final Four) and lost to the defending Stanley Cup Champions, Tampa Bay Lightning, only this time losing in 7 games instead of 6.
The remaining seasons filling out the top 10 for this organization goes as follows:
7. 1992-93 season; 8. 1978-79 season; 9. 1977-78 season 10. 2019-20 season.
Again, this could all be up for interpretation and your comments are more than welcomed, but there is no denying that this franchise had a remarkable and memorable finale to this season and the fact remains that this organization has now turned the corner I have been expecting for some time. Coming up on the Path To The Draft, I’ll be going over the prospects across the pond and up north followed by the college kids and finally the Bridgeport Islanders. Don’t forget to follow Isles Talk on the following pages:
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