HIGHLIGHTS: 1985 - Game 5 vs. Philadelphia
HIGHLIGHTS: 1987 - Game 7 vs. Philadelphia
HIGHLIGHTS: 1988 - Game 4 vs. Boston
HIGHLIGHTS: 1990 - Game 5 vs. Boston
In a somewhat rare rematch of Stanley Cup finalists, the Edmonton Oilers and New York Islanders battled again for NHL supremacy in 1984 -- but with a decidedly different outcome than the previous spring. The Islanders were now the owner of a still-unmatched record in professional North American sports with 19 straight playoff series victories and were in position to win a 20th and what would have been their fifth straight Stanley Cup.
The mega-talented Oilers, however, learned a valuable lesson immediately after getting swept in the Final a year earlier when their young stars -- Wayne Gretzky, Mark Messier and others -- walked by the New York locker room. The Islanders were not so much celebrating as much as they were recuperating with numerous ice bags on their battered bodies after hoisting their fourth straight Cup around the ice. The recognition of needing to sacrifice and endure whatever pain it required to let their formidable talent prevail in the end galvanized Edmonton one year later.
After splitting the first two games in the best-of-seven series, the Oilers' speed helped obliterate New York with back-to-back 7-2 wins in Edmonton for a 3-1 series stranglehold. The domination continued through the first two periods of Game 5, where Gretzky would score the Oilers' first two goals and add an assist en route to a 4-0 Oilers lead through two periods, chasing Billy Smith from the Isles' crease. Edmonton would hang on to dethrone New York with a 5-2 victory and the first of four Stanley Cups in five years.
Gretzky delivered a superstar-worthy 35-point performance in the playoffs, but it was Messier who was awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy with eight goals and 18 assists in 19 playoff games. The start of another NHL dynasty had begun.Author: NHL.com Staff