The Islanders and Bruins are set to meet in the postseason for just the third time in their histories. In the previous two collisions, the Islanders captured the series on the way to winning the first and last of their four consecutive Stanley Cups. Here’s a look:
1980 quarterfinals: Islanders win, 4-1
After dispatching the Kings in the first round, the Islanders went to Boston Garden to begin the second round. The Bruins had amassed 105 points in the regular season to the Islanders’ 91. But the Isles took control of the series early, winning twice in overtime.
Clark Gillies won Game 1 just 62 seconds into the first extra period. Game 2 began with a pair of epic fights between Gillies and Terry O’Reilly, and the first period concluded with a benches-clearing brawl that resulted in eight players receiving game misconducts. The game ended 5-4 when Bob Bourne scored at 1:24 of the first overtime, but the Gillies-O’Reilly battles have been credited as the catalyst for the Islanders winning the Cup.
On Long Island, Bryan Trottier’s two goals and two assists led the Islanders to a 5-3 win in Game 3. Boston averted the sweep on O’Reilly’s overtime goal in Game 4. Things started to get dicey back in Boston when the Bruins took a 2-0 lead in the first four minutes of Game 5. But Stefan Persson scored a power-play goal in the second period and Duane Sutter, Gillies and Denis Potvin scored in the third to cue the handshake line. The Islanders moved on to defeat the Sabres in six and the Flyers in six to win their first championship in just the eighth season of the franchise’s existence.
1983 semifinals: Islanders win, 4-2
After romping to the league’s top points totals and two more Stanley Cups, the Islanders dipped to 96 points in 1982-83 — 14 fewer than the Bruins. This meant that after beating the Capitals, 3-1, and Rangers, 4-2, the Islanders again had to start the series on Causeway Street. This time, they split the first two before the offense went nuclear at Nassau Coliseum.
Mike Bossy had a goal and three assists in a 7-3 win in Game 3, then scored a hat trick in an 8-3 rout in Game 4. Boston survived at home in Game 5 before Bossy did himself one better with a four-goal game in an 8-4 closeout.
The Islanders then swept the Oilers for their fourth Cup, and won three more series the following year to make it an astounding 19 series in a row before losing in the Cup finals to Edmonton.