1975, 1980, 1983, 1993 lead the way
Here's a sample of the more than 400 responses we received by the fans when asked for their favorite Islanders playoff series.
Hard to top a Cup year, but rounds 1 and 2 of 1993 were great....(Round 1) Ray Ferraro killing the Caps in OT... Dale Hunter, public enemy #1...(Round 2) Kaspar the unfriendly ghost putting Lemieux down and keeping him down. Fitzgerald scoring TWO shorthanded goals ON THE SAME PENALTY KILL!...A game 7 OT winner by Volek....and finally wishing John Leclair took up figure skating instead of hockey.
Without a doubt - the series that sealed my future as an Islander fan....The 1987 Patrick Division Semis against the Washington Capitals, which culminated in the 4OT classic Easter Epic on the stick of Pat LaFontaine. I had no access to cable TV at the time, so a friend and I sat huddled around a radio when the goal was scored. I think it was even MORE exciting to hear the call that way. AMAZING!!!
It has to be the 1980 Finals against the Flyers. Nystrom from Tonelli and Henning at 7:11 of overtime of Game 6! Nothing more needs to be said! It was the series that finally brought Lord Stanley to Long Island.
Islanders fan since 1972
The 1975 quarterfinal playoff series where they came back from a 3-0 series deficit against the Penguins to become the first team since the '42 Leafs to accomplish that. Eddie Westfall scores in the 3rd for a 1-0 win and Chico kisses the goal pipes. Great memories.
Pt. St. Lucie, Fla
1980 Quarter Final Series vs. Boston. They truly built their dynasty with that one; by far the most important in team history. They showed guts, heart and an unmatched chemistry that bonded them for not one, but four straight Cups. The O.T. thrillers, the fights, brawls. The team stood up and made it known to the hockey world that no team from that point forward would dictate the way the Isles played hockey. They became the team everyone would try to emulate. Without the Boston series win, they may have been dismantled and we might've had no Cups on the Island.
My favorite playoff series was the '83 Cup Finals. Gretzky and the rest of the young hot-shot Oilers were supposed to be poised to win their first Cup but the Islanders swept them in four games to win the Cup for the fourth straight time. Sweet.
North Babylon, NY
There are some obvious choices like the 75 series vs the Rangers and the 80 Cup winner vs Philly, but to me the best series was the 1980 series vs the rough and tumble Boston Bruins. That serious was perceived to be about intimidation from Terry O'Reilly and company, and we were coming off of 2 disappointing series losses in which we didn't handle the physical stuff as good as we should have. Not only did we answer the bell here, but Gillies and Howatt in particular won it by a knockout (ask O'Reilly's face). This series was the most important one in gaining the confidence to become a championship team.
What could be better than sweeping the Oilers in the '83 finals for the fourth straight Cup? Smitty was a one-man wrecking crew, both in net and in the Oilers' heads. In those four games, the Isles taught Wayne & Co. what it takes to be the CHAMPS.
1975. J.P. Parise scores in overtime and I became an Islander fan forever. No more heartbreak. No more disappointment. I knew at that moment that the Islanders were "my team" and would take me on a hockey journey that would last a lifetime. What a great ride it's been!
The four-game sweep of the Rangers in 1981. The only thing missing from the first Cup run was beating the Rangers, especially after '79. Dominating them the next year en route to Cup two was fun to watch and it shut up half my block growing up.
(formerly North Babylon)
The first one vs. the Rangers in 1975. Everyone will remember the JP OT goal ,but Bill Smith's goaltending kept it a tie, watch the tape. I watched it live on our newly installed cable, with the brown box with the long wire at my parents' house in Hicksville.
Had to be final round of the 1980 playoffs against Flyers ending in game 6 OT thriller witnessed by me and my dad (sect 308 at the time) and won by the Isles. Key to series was Isles stealing home advantage in game 1 on OT goal by Denis Potvin.
(formerly North Merrick, NY)
Boston - 1980. Clark Gillies showing the Bruins that the Islanders will not be pushed around. We were not soft anymore - I think this series, more than any other one, pushed us to the for Cups. And, we clinched it on the road!!!!! Take that!!!!
79-80 Bruins series. Prior to this series, it was known that the Islanders had the talent to win, but they could be pushed around and intimidated. After the starch was taken out of a few Bruins (see O'Reilly & Cashman), the message was sent that the Islanders could play any style and be successful in doing so.
The Yankees had Bucky Dent. The Islanders had Dave Volek, who in 1993 who ripped a deep blast past the unscreened Tom Barasso to eliminate the NHL's point leading Penguins in sudden death, game 7. The best holy confirmation gift I recieved that day.
There is only one the 1980 Stanley Cup finals against Philadelphia. It is the one that put Long Island on the map (in terms of hockey, anyway) and started the dynasty run, something that all Islander fans can be proud of.
The 1983 Final against Edmonton was the best Islanders playoff series EVER....Hands Down. They showed the rest of the NHL how to play defense against the "high flying" Oilers who scored only 6 goals in the finals; and how shut down Gretzky who scored 71 during the season but ZERO goals in the finals. The proved all the critics wrong and lifted a 4th cup.
My favorite Islander playoff series is one that they haven't won yet. I have been coming to games since 1973 with my father, was at all the great home playoff series during the dynasty, and now I'm a season ticket holder and can't wait to taste victory again. It's been too long.
Bobby Nystrom beating Pete Peeters and wristing one into the net for the Islanders first Stanley Cup. I worked in Bartone's cleaners in East Meadow, and had a handful of tickets in my hand, as I watched Thor, streak across the blueline, and put the biscuit in the basket.
Amazing comeback vs Pittsburgh in 1982. I'm in college at Cornell University before internet & cable. I call home and have my father put the phone receiver next to the television. When the Islanders come back to win the deciding game, I throw the receiver against the wall. It breaks.