New York Islanders
1972/73: Forty years after the Brooklyn Americans folded, New York once again had two NHL teams. The dream of bringing a second hockey team to the New York Metropolitan Area belonged to William Shea who helped bring the National League an expansion team a decade earlier in baseball and Roy Boe who owned the New York Nets of the ABA. With plans of a rival hockey league starting up the NHL had decided to head the rivals off at the pass but granting Boe an expansion team based on New York known as the Islanders. General Manager Bill Torrey started by drafting Billy Smith and Ed Westfall in the expansion draft and Bobby Nystrom and Billy Harris in the amateur draft. The Islanders would debut on October 7th losing at the Nassau Coliseum 3-2 to the Atlanta Flames, who were also playing their very first game. The Isles would get their first win five days later as they beat the Los Angeles Kings 3-2. However, wins would be very rare as they end up finishing dead last with an awful record of 12-60-6.
1973/74: After struggling with two coaches in their first season the Islanders bring in another new coach Al Arbour who had been in the playoffs the past 19 seasons as either a player or a coach. The Islanders would struggle early under Arbour going winless through their first seven games, on the way to finishing in last place again with a 19-41-18 record. However, defenseman Dennis Potvin would provide a bright spot capturing the Calder Trophy as the league’s top rookie.
1974/75: The Islanders would get off to a terrific start in their third season losing just one of their first ten games. The Islanders would play good enough the rest of the way to make it into the playoffs for the first time in franchise history with a record of 33-25-22. In their first playoff series the Islanders were matched up against the New York Rangers. The Islanders would get off to a good start upsetting their rivals 3-2 in the opener at MSG. However, the Rangers would recover by taking Game 2 at Nassau Coliseum 8-3 setting up a decisive third game at the Garden. The Isles would let a 3-0 lead slip away in the 3rd period as the Rangers threw every shot, they could at goalie Billy Smith. However, the Isles still had a chance as the game went into overtime. The overtime would not last long as the Isles controlled the opening faceoff and won the game and the series on a goal by Jean Potvin, on a brilliant pass from Jude Drouin. In the second round the Islanders run appeared to be over as they dropped their first three games to the Pittsburgh Penguins. Only one team had ever overcome a 3-0 deficit before. However, the Islanders would not quit as Coach Al Arbour challenged his players saying, “If there’s anyone here who doesn’t feel we can come back and beat these guys, get off the ice immediately.” The Speech worked as the Isles won the next three games to force a seventh game in Pittsburgh. Game 7 would be a tight defensive affair, as the game remained scoreless into the 3rd Period before Ed Westfall gave the Isles a 1-0 lead late in the 3rd period. The Islanders would tighten their defense the rest of the way, while not allowing a shot on goal to complete the amazing comeback. In the semifinals the Islanders were matched up against the defending Stanley Cup Champion Philadelphia Flyers. The Islanders would find themselves down three games to none again, only to rally and force a seventh game. However, the Islanders miracle run would end with a 4-1 loss in Game 7, as the Flyers went on to win a second straight Stanley Cup.
1975/76: Coming off their miracle run to the semifinals the Islanders were even stronger as they finished in second place in the Patrick Division with a solid 42-21-17 record topping the 100-point mark for the first time in franchise history. Helping to lead the way was Bryan Trottier who had a spectacular rookie season winning the Calder Trophy by scoring 95 points. In the playoffs the Isles would make quick work of the Vancouver Canucks winning two straight games to reach the second round. In the second round the Isles would drop the first two games to the Buffalo Sabres on the road. However, the Islanders who were used to comebacks would win the next four games and reach the semifinals for the second straight season. However, the Islanders would end up falling to the eventual Stanley Cup Champion Montreal Canadiens in five games, as they could not overcome a 3-0 deficit.
1976/77: The Islanders continued to show they belonged at the top of the NHL’s list of elite teams, as they put together another strong season finishing in second place with a solid record of 47-21-12. The Islanders would hit the playoffs rolling as they made the semifinal again by sweeping through the Chicago Black Hawks in two games and the Buffalo Sabres in four games. However, once again the Isles would fall to the eventual Stanley Cup Champions as they are beaten by the Montreal Canadiens in six games.
1977/78: The Islanders continued to get stronger as Mike Bossy becomes the third rookie to win the Calder Trophy in five years, as the Islanders won the first division title with a spectacular record of 48-17-15. However, in the playoffs the Islanders would stumble dropping their second round series to the Toronto Maple Leafs in seven games after a first-round bye.
1978/79: Led by Bryan Trottier who captures the Hart Trophy with 134 points the Islanders continue to rise improving for the 6th year in a row while taking their second straight division title with an NHL best record of 51-15-14. In the playoffs the Islanders would get to the Semifinals for the fourth time in five years by sweeping the Chicago Black Hawks in four straight games after a first-round bye. However, once again the Islanders would have a letdown in the semis as they fall to the New York Rangers in six games.
1979/80: Coming off their playoff let down against the New York Rangers the Islanders would get off to a slow start at 6-11-4. The Islanders even lost a game in which Billy Smith became the first goalie to tally goal. However, as the New Year rolled around the Islanders started to turn things around climbing above .500 in mid-January. Down the stretch the Islanders would receive some added help by acquiring Butch Goring from the Los Angeles Kings, and calling up rookie Ken Morrow who had played on the Gold Medal Wining U.S. Hockey team. The Isles would go on to finish in second place with a 39-28-13 record. In the playoffs the Islanders got off to a fast start beating the Los Angeles Kings in Game 1 by a score of 8-1. However, after Chico Resch allowed six goals in Game 2 Coach Al Arbour decided to stop the Isles goaltender rotation and allow Billy Smith to play the rest of the postseason. Game 3 would still be a nail bitter however, as Ken Morrow scored the game winner in overtime, as the Isles overcame a 3-1 deficit. The Islanders would go on to win the series in four games. The Islanders started to get momentum in the second round as they won back to back overtime games on the road against the Boston Bruins on the way to taking the series in five games. In the semifinals for the fifth time in six years the Islanders were still looking for their first trip to the Stanley Cup Finals. The Isles would get off to a fast start taking the first three games against the Buffalo Sabres. The Sabres would make it interesting taking the next two games. In Game 6 the Isles continued to swoon as they fell behind 2-0. However, the Isles would come roaring back scoring five unanswered goals to advance to the Stanley Cup Finals for the first time in franchise history. In the finals the Islanders faced the Philadelphia Flyers. In Game 1 in Philadelphia the Islanders got off to a fast start winning in overtime on a goal by Dennis Potvin. After the Flyers took Game 2 the Islanders dominated Game 3 and Game 4 at the Nassau Coliseum winning by a combined score of 11-4. After the Flyers took Game 5 in Philly the Islanders appeared to have the cup in their grasp with a 4-2 lead in the 3rd period at home. However, in fight filled battle the Flyers would rally to tie the game and send into overtime. In overtime Bob Nystrom who had left the ice earlier in the game with an injury tipped a John Tonelli pass past Flyers goalie Pete Peeters at the 7:11 mark to give the Islanders their first Stanley Cup. Bryan Trottier who had 29 points in the playoffs would win the Conn Smythe trophy.
1980/81: Coming off their first Stanley Cup Championship the Islanders would get off to a fast start as Mike Bossy became just the second player in NHL history to tally 50 goals in 50 games. Bossy would go on to score 68 goals to lead the league as the Islanders finished in first place with a league best record of 48-18-14. In the playoffs the Islanders continued to roll dominating the Toronto Maple Leafs in a three-game sweep in which they won by a combined score of 20-4. In the second round the Islanders would need six games to get past the upstart Edmonton Oilers to get back into the semifinals. In the Semifinals the Islanders would simply dominate their rivals from the big city beating the New York Rangers in four straight games by a combined score of 22-8, as Islanders fans taunted long suffering Rangers fans with a haunting chant of 1940, the last time the Rangers had won the Stanley Cup. As for the Islanders they would easily win their second straight Stanley Cup jumping out to a 3-0 lead over the Minnesota North Stars before taking the series in five games, as Butch Goring won the Conn Smythe.
1981/82: Coming off their second straight Stanley Cup Championship the Islanders continued to dominate the rest of the NHL, which had been realigned into geographical divisions. Still in the Patrick Division the Islanders would win the regular season title for the second straight season with an impressive record of 54-16-10. Along the way the Islanders would make history setting a record for the longest winning streak in NHL history at 15. In a new playoff format where you faced your division foes in the first two rounds the Islanders appeared to have a cakewalk on their hands as they beat the Pittsburgh Penguins in the first two games by a combined 15-3 score. However, as the series shifted to Pittsburgh the Penguins would rally and tie the series at two games apiece sending the series to a decisive 5th game. Things looked bleak for the Islanders who trailed the Penguins 3-1, despite out shooting their rivals 2-1, with less the six minutes to play in the 3rd period at the Nassau Coliseum. Mike McEwen would keep the Isles flickering hopes alive putting cutting the deficit to 3-2. Billy Smith would keep the game there, making several spectacular saves before John Tonelli tied the game and sent into overtime. In Overtime Tonelli would be the hero again as he scored the game winner. In the Patrick Division Finals, the Islanders would get off to a shaky start as they dropped Game 1 at home to the New York Rangers. However, once again they would taunt their Big City rivals as they won the next three games on the way to taking the series in six games. In the Wales Conference Finals, the Islanders would find thing much easier as they swept the Quebec Nordiques in four straight games to reach the Stanley Cup Finals where they faced the upstart Vancouver Canucks. Game 1 of the finals would be a shootout as the Canucks scored three unanswered goals. However, the Isles would recover to send the game in to overtime on a goal by Mike Bossy. Bossy would go on to win the game in Overtime completing the hat trick. The rest of the series would be a breeze, as the Islanders went on to sweep the Canucks in four straight games to become the first team based in the USA to win the Stanley Cup three straight seasons, as Bossy scored seven goals in four games to win the Conn Smythe.
1982/83: Coming off their third straight Stanley Cup Championship the Islanders appeared to be wearing down Bryan Trottier and Mike Bossy went through long goal scoring droughts and Billy Smith struggled through a stretch where he failed to win a game for seven weeks. The Islanders would still make into the playoffs by finishing in second place with a solid 42-26-12 record. However, most experts predicted the Isles would not make it through another cup run. In the playoffs the Islanders would knock of the Washington Capitals in four games to set up another battle with the New York Ranges in the Patrick Division Finals. Through the first four games to the two rivals would battle to a stalemate as both teams defended their home ice. Back on the Island for Game 5 the Isles exploded for seven goals to take a 3-2 series lead. The Islanders would go on to take the series in six games. In the Conference Finals the Islanders jumped out to a 3-1 series lead before beating the Boston Bruins in six games. Heading into Stanley Cup Finals the Isles were matched up against the high scoring Edmonton Oilers led by record breaking Wayne Gretzky who was smashing all offensive records. However, in Game 1 Billy Smith stone walled the Oilers as the Islanders too Game 1 in Edmonton 2-0. After winning Game 2 in Edmonton 6-3, the Islanders continued to frustrate the Gretzky at Nassau Coliseum limiting the high scoring Oilers to three goals over the last two games to complete the sweep and become just the third team in NHL history to win four straight Stanley Cups, and the first team other than the Montreal Canadiens to pull off the feat. Billy Smith who had shut down the Oilers would go on to win the Conn Smythe trophy.
1983/84: Seeking history to tie the Montreal Canadiens record for five straight Stanley Cup Championship the Islanders had another solid season capturing the Division title with a record of 50-26-4. However, in the first round of the playoffs the Islanders were pushed against the ropes by the New York Rangers as they need a 4-1 win in Game 4 at the Garden to force a decisive fifth game at home. The Islanders need to rally again in Game 5 to send it into overtime where Ken Morrow kept the Isles hopes for a fifth straight cups alive with an overtime goal. In the Patrick Finals the Islanders would overcome a Game 1 loss to beat the Washington Capitals in five games to reach the Conference Finals. However, once again the Islanders would find themselves in a hole as they dropped the first two games on the road to the Montreal Canadiens. However, the Islanders would come roaring back to take the series in six games to set up a rematch with the Edmonton Oilers in the Stanley Cup Finals. In Game 1 Billy Smith would frustrate the Oilers again limiting the high scoring team to just one goal. However, the Islanders were unable to hit the back of the net and lost 1-0. The Isles would recover to even the series 1-1 with a 6-3 win in Game 2. However, as the series shifted to Edmonton the Oilers would explode scoring 19 goals in three games to capture the series in five games ending the Islanders dynasty.
1984/85: Seeking to reclaim the Stanley Cup the Islander showed some signs of age as they slipped into third place with a record of 40-34-6. In the playoffs the Islander starred elimination in the face as they dropped the first two games on the road to the Washington Capitals in overtime. However, the Islanders would not give up as they rebounded to take the next two games at the Nassau Coliseum on the way to taking the series in five games with a hard fought 2-1 win on the road in Game 5. However, the Islanders hopes of a sixth straight trip to the Stanley Cup Finals were ended by the Philadelphia Flyers in five games in the Patrick Division Finals.
1985/86: The Islanders would continue to show signs of decline as Al Arbour resigned in the middle of the season as the Islanders finished in third place again under new Coach Terry Simpson, with a record of 39-29-12. In the playoffs the Islanders would face the Washington Capitals again dropping the first two games on the road. However, this time there would be no comeback as the Islanders are swept in three straight games. Following the season, the pieces of the Stanley Cup dynasty would begin to leave as Bob Nystrom retired and Clark Gilles was dealt to the Buffalo Sabres.
1986/87: The Islanders would play mediocre hockey all season as they finished in third place again with a record of 35-33-12. In the playoffs the Islanders were matched up against the Washington Capitals again as they fell behind three games to one, after losing Game 3 and Game 4 at home by a combined score of 6-1. Fortunately, the Islanders the first round series was changed to a best of seven giving the Islanders a chance to comeback. The Isles would keep their hopes alive by taking Game 5 in Washington by a score of 4-2. They would force a seventh game with a 5-4 win at home. Back in Washington for Game 7 the Islanders would rally again to send the game to overtime where the two teams would battle deep into the night before Pat LaFontaine launched the Islanders into the Patrick Division Finals with a goal in the fourth overtime period. In the Patrick Finals against the Philadelphia Flyers the Islanders found themselves down 3-1 again, only to force a seventh game. However, there would be no comeback this time as the Flyers took Game 7 with a 5-1 win. Following the season Mike Bossy would become the latest vital piece of the Stanley Cup Dynasty to retire.
1987/88: The Islanders would remerge atop the Patrick Division with a record of 39-31-10, in a season in which the first place Islander and last place Pittsburgh Penguins were only separated by seven points. In the playoffs the Islanders would make a quick exit as they are stunned by the upstart New Jersey Devils in six games. Following the season Dennis Potvin would become the latest vital piece of the dynasty to retire.
1988/89: The Islanders downfall would continue as they got off to a terrible 7-22-2 start. Not even the return of Coach Al Arbour could save the Islanders from finishing last place as they posted a terrible record of 28-47-5 missing the playoffs for the first time in 15 years. Along the way Billy Smith’s stellar career came to an end with an awful record of 3-11-0.
1989/90: With new players like Patrick Flatley, Pat LaFontaine and Doug Corssman now leading the team the players that once Islanders dynasty continued to retire or be traded away. The young Islanders would get off to a terrible start winning just 4 of their first 20 games. However, under the tutelage of Coach Al Arbour the young Islanders would make it over to the .500 mark in mid-January. After a March losing streak it appeared as if the Isles would miss the playoffs again. However, the Islander managed to sneak into the playoffs by finishing in 4th place with a record of 31-38-11 beating the Philadelphia Flyers on the final day of the regular season to sneak into the playoffs by one point. In the playoffs the Islanders would find a familiar foe in the New York Rangers. However, they would barely put up a fight as the Rangers took the series easily in five games. Following the season Bryan Trottier would become the latest star of the dynasty years to depart as he was picked up by the Pittsburgh Penguins.
1990/91: With the stars of the dynasty all gone the Islanders young nucleus struggle finishing in last place for the second time in three years with an awful record of 25-45-10.
1991/92: Things continued to be tough for the Islanders who were forced to trade Pat LaFontaine early in the season for Pierre Turgeon, after an ugly hold out throughout the preseason and into the start of the regular season. Turgeon would be a more then suitable replacement as he led the Isles with 87 points. However, the Islanders would go on to miss the playoffs again with a record of 34-35-11. Following the season General Manager Bill Torrey who built the Stanley Cup Dynasty would retire.
1992/93: Pierre Turgeon has a spectacular season scoring 58-goals and tallying 74 assists to lead the Islanders back into the playoffs with a record of 40-37-7 which was good enough for third place. In the playoffs the Islanders would stun the Washington Capitals jumping out to a 3-1 lead with three consecutive overtime wins. After the Caps took Game 5 the Islanders completed the upset with a 5-3 win in Game 6 at home. However, the Islanders would lose Pierre Turgeon to a concussion when he is blindsided by Dale Hunter while celebrating the Isles fifth goal. Without Turgeon most expected the two-time defending Stanley Cup Champion Pittsburgh Penguins to walk all over the Islanders. However, the Islanders gave the Penguins all they could handle as they forced a seventh game with a 7-5 win at the Nassau Coliseum in Game 6. The Islanders would go on to complete the upset in Game 7 as David Volek scored in overtime. In the Conference Finals against the Montreal Canadiens the Islanders would get a boost as Pierre Turgeon came back from his injuries suffered by the cheap shot. However, it was not enough as the Islanders are knocked off in five games.
1993/94: Despite backstopping a run to the Conference Finals the Islanders let Goalie Glenn Healy go, while acquiring Ron Hextall from the Quebec Nordiques. The Islanders appeared to be doomed to missing the playoffs again. However, the Islanders began April with an eight-game unbeaten streak to claim the eighth and final playoff seed with a record of 36-36-12. In the playoffs the Islanders would play the New York Rangers who had won the President’s Trophy with the best record in the NHL. Throughout the season the Isles gave the Rangers all they could handle losing just one of five games, during the regular season. However, in the playoffs it was clear early things would be different. In Game 1 the Rangers dominated the Islanders with a 6-0 win. Hoping to change their fortunes the Islanders changed goalies in Game 2 as Jamie McLennan replaced Ron Hextall. However, the result was the same 6-0. As the series shifted to Nassau Coliseum the Islander would not fare much better as the Rangers completed the sweep outscoring the Isles in the four-game series 22-3. Following the season Coach Al Arbour would retire again, as the Islanders were put up for sale.
1994/95: Under new Coach Lorne Henning the Islanders were clearly in the start of another rebuilding project as they finished in last place in the Atlantic Division with a record of 15-28-5 in a season cut in half by a four-month lockout. Down the stretch as the Islanders fell out of the race the team would trade away Pierre Turgeon and Benoit Hogue in separate deals.
1995/96: Under new Coach Mike Millbury the Islanders had a new look. Gone was the traditional NY logo, which was replaced by an awful fisherman logo that looked just like The Gorton’s Fisherman. Isles fans rejected the logo while opposing fans taunt the Islanders with calls of “We want Fish sticks.” The year would be a total disaster as the Islanders finished in last place again with an awful record of 22-50-10. Along the way the Islanders fired General Manager Don Maloney who fans blamed for the team’s downfall as Mike Millbury added General Manager to his list of duties with Islanders. In addition, the Islanders would be sold to John Spano for $165 million dollars as the season wound down.
1996/97: The Islanders celebrated their 25th anniversary with the news that their unpopular fisherman logo was being put out to sea. However, since the team failed to make the deadline for a uniform and logo change fans would have to the Isles had to endure the calls of fish sticks one more season. However, the Islanders often wore a third jersey featuring the classic NY crest logo. The Islanders would finish in last place again with a record of 29-41-12. However, with rookie defenseman Bryan Berard posting 40 assists while capturing the Calder Trophy the Isles appeared to be heading in the right direction.
1997/98: The Islanders would be thrown into a state of uncertainty as Owner John Spano failed to make payments on a loan used to purchase the team. In July Spano was forced to relinquish control of the club as he was arrested on federal charges of bank and wire fraud. Eventually the club would be sold to a group headed by Howard Milstein and Steve Gluckstern for $195 million. Despite the uncertainty the Islanders would show some improvement finishing in fourth pace with a 30-41-11 record.
1998/99: Owners Howard Milstein and Steve Gluckstern upset over the condition of the Nassau Coliseum threatened to move the team. However, bound by a lease that did not expire until 2015 the Islanders were forced to stay put. Protesting the conditions of the Coliseum and stating the team could not make money the Islanders cut payroll drastically trading away the foundation for prospects, and trading budding prospects who were about to start earning big money for draft picks. Amidst the mess the Islanders crashed into last place missing the playoffs for the fifth straight season with an awful 24-48-10 record that was worse than the expansion Nashville Predators.
1999/00: The Islanders celebrated the 20th Anniversary of the start of their Stanley Cup Dynasty, in state of chaos. The Islanders fell to the bottom in attendance as fans felt the team was not even trying, as every player that started to develop was traded away. The Islanders would finish in last place again with a 24-49-9-1 record, as a for sale sign hung around their necks all season. Following the season, a buyer was found as Charles Wang paid $190 million for the struggling franchise.
2000/01: Under new ownership the Islanders continued to struggle as they finished in last place again with an awful record of 21-51-7-3. However, signs the team was heading in the right direction where all around as owner Charles Wang paid to have the Nassau Coliseum renovated. In the off-season Wang would help renovate the Islanders as he green lighted deals that would see the Islanders take on the big contracts of Alexei Yashin and Michael Peca.
2001/02: The addition of Michael Peca and Alexei Yashin brought credibility back to the Islanders who would get off to a flying start under new Coach Peter Laviolette, as they got at least one point their first 11 games to compile a 9-0-1-1 record. The Islanders would go on to make the playoffs for the first time in eight years with a record of 42-28-8-4 which was good enough for second place, as Peca earned recognition as the best two way forward winning the Selke Trophy. In the playoffs the Islanders would battle the Toronto Maple Leafs in one of the roughest series in NHL history, as several players on each side suffered serious injuries, including Michael Peca. Eventually the Islanders would fall in seven games as the loss of Peca proved to be the back breaker.
2002/03: With Michael Peca missing the first six weeks of the season due to the lingering effects of a knee injury suffered in the playoffs the Islanders got off to a sluggish start posting a 3-9-1 record in their first 13 games. Upon Peca’s return the Islanders rebounded and were able to climb back to the .500 mark on New Year’s Eve. The Islanders continued to play well through January and February despite a less than stellar season from Alexei Yashin. Down the stretch the Isles made several deals trying to strengthen themselves for a playoff run including acquiring defenseman Jannne Niinimaa from the Edmonton Oilers at the trade deadline. Despite the trades the Islanders struggled at the end of the season as they won just three of their final 11 games. However, it would still be good enough to hold off the New York Rangers for the final playoff spot with a record of 35-34-11-2. In the playoffs the Islanders got off to a strong start stunning the President’s Trophy Champion Ottawa Senators 3-0 in Game 1. After the Senators even the series with a 3-0 win in Game 2 the Islanders missed an opportunity to gain back control of the series by blowing a 2-1 lead heading into the 3rd period of Game 3 at the Coliseum as the Senators won in overtime 3-2. After their heartbreaking loss in Overtime the Islanders would bow out quietly losing the next two games as the Senators won the series in five games. Following the season, the Islanders would stun their fans by firing Coach Peter Laviolette and replacing him with Steve Stirling.
2003/04: It was a year of injury and frustration for Alexei Yashin who played in just 47 games while scoring just 15 goals as he was hampered by injuries all season. However, the Islanders played good enough again to slip into the playoffs with the eighth seed, while finishing in third place in the Atlantic Division with a record of 38-29-11-4. As rookie Trent Hunter helped pick up the slack with a team high 25 goals. In the playoffs against the Tampa Bay Lightning the Islanders spilt the first two games on the road as each team traded 3-0 victories. However, coming home the Isles struggled in the playoffs for the second straight year as they were blanked 3-0 in Game 3 and Game 4 as the eventual Stanley Cup Champion Lightning went on to take the series in five games.
2004/05: Season Cancelled Due to Lock Out
2005/06: The Islanders came out of the lost season limping as they lost Captain Michael Peca to free agency. With Alexei Yashin taking over as the Captain the Islanders got off to a mediocre start as they managed to play only .500 hockey through the first two months. Then in December they would take a down turn for the worst, losing seven of eight games as the New Year began before Coach Steve Stirling was fired, and replaced by Brad Shaw on January 12th, while General Manager Mike Millbury announced he would be resigning at the end of the season. The move would not be able to revive the Islanders as they were never in the playoff picture as the finished with a record of 36-40-6. Following the season, the Islanders would hire Ted Nolan, who had once won the Adams Award as Coach of the Year with the Buffalo Sabres, but was fired and blackballed for alleged infidelities, and problems with the front office. At the same time the Islanders brought back Bryan Trottier into the front office and named Neil Smith as the new General Manager. However, in a bizarre move Smith was fired just 46 days later, as Goalie Garth Snow retired and became the team’s new General Manager, giving a long term 15-year contract to starting goalie Rick DiPietro in his first move.
2006/07: Under new Coach Ted Nolan the Islanders overcame a shaky start to post a strong November winning six of eight games in a stretch to hold a 12-7-3 record through the first quarter of the season. After a mediocre December, things took a significant downturn for the Islanders in the New Year as they won just two of eleven games falling out of playoff position. The Islanders would rebound with a strong February as they acquired Ryan Smyth from the Edmonton Oilers to make a run at the postseason. However, Smyth struggled and the Islanders nearly feel out of the race with a bad March, which saw enforcer Chris Simon suspended for the remainder of the season after a stick swinging incident against Ryan Hollweg of the New York Rangers on March 8th, and Goalie Rick DiPietro lost for the remainder of the regular season with a concussion. At 36-30-12 on April 1st the Islanders needed a miracle to make the playoffs, and beginning with a 3-2 shootout win over the Rangers, that is exactly what happened as the Islanders who had their epithet written won their final four games and got the chips to fall right elsewhere to sneak in on the final day of the regular season with a record of 40-30-12. In the playoffs the Islanders faced the Buffalo Sabres, and most expected a quick four game sweep, as the Islanders were hammered in the opener 4-1. However, the return of DiPietro gave the Iles new life in Game 2 as they evened the series with a solid 3-2 win. However, it would be a last gasp as the Sabres would go on to win the series in five games. The following off-season would be one of transition for the Islanders as they brought out the contract of Alexei Yashin, while letting Free Agents Ryan Smyth, Viktor Kozlov, Jason Blake, Tom Poti, and Richard Zednik and sign elsewhere. In looking for more leadership the Islanders signed Bill Guerin making him captain, while also adding Mike Comrie, Ruslan Fedotenko, Andy Sutton, Jon Sim and Josef Vasicek.
2007/08: Despite the roster turnover the Islanders played well early, as they a 9-4-0 record in the first five weeks of the season. However, as December began the Islanders began to struggle losing eight of ten games, as they slipped to .500. However, by closing out 2007 with four wins in their last five games the Islanders were able to go into the New Year in the playoff hunt with a record of 20-16-2. However, January proved to be a rough month for the Islanders as they won just four times. With their playoff hopes starting to slip away the Islanders won six in a row in February to stay in the hunt as the trade deadline approached. However, the Isles were quiet at the deadline. As March began the Islanders began to suffer a rash of injuries losing several key players including Goalie Rick DiPietro. The Islanders would win just five of their final 20 games as they finished in last place in the Atlantic Division with a record of 35-38-9. Following the season, the Islanders would dismiss Coach Ted Nolan and replace him with Scott Gordon.
2008/09: Under new Coach Scott Gordon, the Islanders got off to a slow start again, as they posted a 2-6-1 record in October, as they appeared to be focused on rebuilding, with Goalie Rick DiPietro lost for the season, with a knee injury after playing just five games. The Islanders would show improvement in November, winning eight games. However, it was short lived as the Islanders played awful hockey in December as they dropped ten games in a row. The Islanders would endure a seven-game losing streak in January, as they landed in last place again. As the trade deadline approached the Islanders focused on the future began unloading contracts; trading away Captain Bill Guerin to the Pittsburgh Penguins. The Islanders would go on to finish with the worst record in the NHL at 26-47-9, which enabled them to land the top pick in the NHL Draft, which they used to draft John Tavares, who was labeled a franchise player the Islanders could build around.
2009/10: The John Taveras era began on October 3rd as the Islanders faced the defending Stanley Cup Champion Pittsburgh Penguins. In the season opening game at the Nassau Coliseum, Taveras would score a goal and an assist as the Islanders lost 4-3 in a shootout. Overtime losses would be common early for the Islanders as they won just one of their first ten games, with five losses coming in either overtime or on the shootout. As October came to an end the Islanders started to win games, winning four straight games, as John Taveras was leading all rookies in scoring. In December, John Taveras scored five consecutive goals for the Islanders over a four-game span. After ending December with a 16-18-8 record, the Islanders started 2010 with six wins in their first seven games in January. However, Taveras began to hit a rookie wall and went into a slump as the Islanders struggled their way into the Olympic Break. After the break Taveras would come out of his slump to finish the season with 24 goals and 30 assists, as his 54 points was ranked second among all NHL rookies. The Islanders would go on to finish the season with a record of 34-37-11, missing the postseason by nine points.
2010/11: It was back to the future as the Islanders started the season, returning to the classic colors, look and style of the Islanders dynasty years. After starting the season with a 5-4 shootout loss to the Dallas Stars, the Islanders earned their first win against the New York Rangers as they played strong hockey at the start of their season, posting a record of 4-1-2 in their first seven games. However, they would quickly go into a tailspin, losing ten straight games, leading to the dismissal of Coach Scott Gordon. The losing streak would continue under Jack Capuano, as they lost their first five games under their new coach, equaling a franchise record 15 games without a win. The Islanders streak would end with a 2-0 win over the New Jersey Devils, behind Goalie Rick DiPietro. After two seasons of injury and frustration that led to him playing just 13 games in two seasons, Rick DiPietro was finally playing again and starting for the Islanders in goal after sharing the duties with Dwayne Roloson at the start of the season. After starting December, with six straight losses, the Islanders would begin to show signs of improvement as they closed the 2010 portion of their season, with six wins in their last eight games. The Islanders would begin the New Year with a record of 11-19-6, as Roloson was traded to the Tampa Bay Lightning for Ty Wishart. The Islanders hot streak would come to an end, as they posted a 4-8-1 record in January. As February began, Rick DiPietro had another setback, as he suffered a knee injury and facial fractures from a Goalie fight with Brett Johnson in the closing moments of a 3-0 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins. With Al Montaya playing in goal, the Isles had a solid month, posting a record of 8-5-1 in February. They would also post a winning mark in March as DiPietro returned to finish the season, wearing an older style cage mask. However, once again the playoffs were far out of reach, as the Islanders finished the season with a record of 30-39-13. In his second season, John Tavares scored 29 goals, with 38 assists, while Captain Doug Weight announced his retirement after lingering back troubles limited to 18 games. However, the biggest loss would come in the off-season, as a ballot referendum that would have given the Islanders money to build a new arena next to the Nassau Coliseum was soundly defeated. The Islanders future remains murky as they play in a crumbling outdated arena.
2011/12: As the Islanders entered their 40th season, they suffered a big loss in the off-season, as Nassau County voters rejected a bond that would have given them a new arena. After starting the season with a 2-0 loss to the Florida Panthers at the Nassau Coliseum, Islanders won their next three games, taking advantage of an early four game homestand. However, those would be the only wins the Islanders would get in October as they again dug a deep hole early in the season. The Islanders would again be a very streaky team throughout the season, as they seemed to equal every winning streak with a losing streak. Despite the addition of Evgeni Nabokov, the Islanders continued to have trouble finding a consistent goalie, as Rick DiPietro played in just eight games. The Islanders would use five goalies during the season, none of which won more games than they lost as the Islanders finished in last place with a record of 34-37-11. One bright spot was the continued improvement of John Tavares who led the team in scoring with 81 points, while Matt Moulson led the team with 36 goals.
2012/13: The start of the season was delayed by a lockout, but the Islanders made news anyway announcing a deal to move to Brooklyn for the 2015/16 season after their lease with Nassau County came to an end. The news was disappointing to many fans on the island, but kept them from leaving New York altogether. When the season finally started on January 19th, the Islanders continued their struggles on opening night, losing to the New Jersey Devils 2-1. However, they did finish January strong, winning four of their next six games. When February started the Islanders struggled, losing five straight games, as they failed to benefit from an early schedule that kept them in the New York metropolitan area for nearly three weeks. Along the way the Islanders said goodbye to Goalie Rick DiPietro sending him down to the AHL and eventually releasing him. DiPietro never lived up to his big contract as he battled injuries and became the league’s symbol for bad contracts that led to the latest work stoppage. As March began the Islanders fortunes improved as they won five of seven games and crept into the playoff picture. A driving force for the Islanders turnaround was the play of John Tavares who continued his drive to superstardom and was among the NHL’s top scorers leading the Islanders with 28 goals and 47 overall points. As April began the Islanders found themselves in a race with their local rivals the New York Rangers and New Jersey Devils for the last three playoff spots in the Eastern Conference. Instead of slipping under the pressure, the Islanders excelled as Tavares became a candidate for MVP with the Islanders winning eight of nine to start the season’s final month. Despite dropping their final three games, the streak was good enough to give the Islanders the final spot in the Eastern Conference Playoffs with a record of 24-17-7.
2013 Playoffs: As the Islanders prepared for their first postseason games in seven years, they were considered a heavy underdog as they faced the Pittsburgh Penguins. The Islanders were shaky in their playoff debut, losing 5-0. However, they rebounded to take Game 2 powered by Kyle Okposo’s slap shot 4-3, as they ended the game with three unanswered goals. Game 3 at the Nassau Coliseum saw the Islanders jump out to an early 2-0 lead. However, the Penguins dynamic offense showed it would not go quietly silencing the sold-out crowd by scoring the next four goals. The Islanders would bounce back and force overtime on goals by Okposo and John Tavares. In the end the Penguins would prove too strong winning the game 5-4 on a Power Play Goal by Chris Kunitz. Game 4 would see the Islanders offense show it too could be explosive as they evened the series with a 6-4, as Mark Striet led the way with two goals and an assist. The Penguins would switch goalies and blank the Islanders 4-0 in Game 5 to retake control of the series. The Penguins would go on to win the series in six games, closing things out with 4-3 win in overtime, as the fans at the Coliseum gave their Islanders a standing ovation for revving their long dormant hopes.
2013/14: Coming off their first playoff appearance in six years, the Islanders got off to a sluggish start, despite record a 4-3 win in a shootout over the New Jersey Devils in a shootout to open the season in Newark. The Islanders would fall in a shootout in their home opener as they held a 4-4-3 record on October 27th. Looking for a spark the Islanders acquired pending free agent Thomas Vanek from the Buffalo Sabres for Matt Moulson and two draft picks. However, the deal never quite worked out as the Islanders planned, as despite solid numbers from Vanek who had 17 goals and 27 assists in 47 games the Islanders did not play any better, struggling through November and December as they went into the New Year with a record of 13-21-7. As 2014 began the Islanders started to show signs of improvement, winning 10 of 13 games. However, as January ended the Islanders started to slide again, losing five in a row including a 2-1 loss to the New York Rangers at Yankee Stadium in the Stadium Series. The Islanders would go into the Olympic Break with a disappointing record of 23-30-8. Any chance the Islanders had of making a late run at the playoffs would vanish in Sochi as John Tavares who was third in the NHL with 66 points in 59 games suffered a season ending knee injury while playing with Team Canada. Without Tavares, Kyle Okposo would lead the team in scoring with 27 goals and 42 assists. The Islanders despite their best attempts could not sign Thomas Vanek to contract extension and ended up dealing him to the Montreal Canadiens for Sebastian Collberg and a draft pick at the trade deadline. The Islanders also sent Andrew MacDonald to the Philadelphia Flyers for Matt Mangene and a pair of draft picks as they finished in last place in the Metropolitan Division with a record of 34-37-11, despite a strong finish that saw them post a record of 8-2-2 over their final 12 games.
2014/15: Entering their final season at the Nassau Coliseum, the New York Islanders looked to make improvements on defense after missing the playoffs. The biggest move was landing a better goalie, which they did by signing free agent Jaroslav Halak to a four-year deal worth $18 million. Just before the start of the season, the Islanders made even more improvements, acquiring Johnny Boychuk from the Boston Bruins and Nick Leddy from the Chicago Blackhawks, both defensemen were key parts on teams that had recently won the Stanley Cup. The moves were the first made after the Islanders got new owners with Charles Wang selling controlling shares of the franchise to businessmen Jon Ledecky and Scott D. Malkin. The moves paid dividends right away, as they won their first four games, and finished October with a record of 6-4-0. November would be even better for the Islanders as they won 11 games and shot to the top of the Metropolitan Division. The Islanders were particularly strong at home, winning seven in a row at the old coliseum. The acquisition of Jaroslav Halak played a big role in the Islanders success, as he won 11 straight games, passing the previous record of 10 straight wins by Billy Smith. Jaroslav Halak would go on to set a franchise record, recording 38 wins during the season, as he posted a record of 38-17-4, with a 2.43 GAA and a .914 save percentage. Despite several key players missing time due to injuries the Islanders continued to impress in December and went into the New Year with a record of 25-11-1. Starting January in first place for the first time in 27 years, the Islanders continued their strong play all the way up to the All-Star Break, as John Tavares scored four goals matching an All-Star Game record for an individual player’s goals scored. Despite being the brightest star Columbus, John Tavares was not given the All-Star Game’s MVP as the award went to Ryan Johansen of the host Blue Jackets in an online fan vote instead. Despite losing Kyle Okopso for 22 games due to a serious eye injury the Islanders continued their strong play into February, though their grip on first place began to slip as they were passed by the rivals from the Manhattan. March would be a struggle for the Islanders, as they won just one of seven games on home ice, while posting a losing record for the entire month. While the late season struggles did not put their playoff hopes in jeopardy, the Islanders ended up slipping into third place, with a record of 47-28-7. John Tavares was the Islanders unquestioned star as they readied their move to Brooklyn, falling just one point of the NHL scoring title with 86 points, highlighted by a team high 38 goals and 48 assists.
2015 Playoffs: Despite starting the playoffs on the road, the Islanders had a strong start beating the Washington Capitals 4-1 in the series opener as Brock Nelson netted two goals. Game 2 would be a back and forth affair, as the Capitals scoring twice in the third period evened the series with a 4-3 win. As the series shifted to the Nassau Coliseum the goalies began to have an impact on the series as the game was tied 1-1 at the end of regulation despite the Islanders landing 40 shots on Braden Holtby. Overtime would end in a flash, as John Tavares needed just 15 seconds to win the game, and give the Islanders back control of the series with a 2-1 win. The following game would also go into overtime, but this time it would be the Capitals winning 2-1 on a goal by Nicklas Backstrom. Back at the Verizon Center in Game 5, the Islanders got an early goal by Josh Bailey but little else as the Capitals took control of the series with a 5-1 win. With Game 6 possibly being the final game ever at the Nassau County Veteran’s Memorial Coliseum the New York Islanders tied in the third period with the Capitals 1-1, got a goal by Nikolay Kulemin and an empty netter from Cal Clutterbuck to keep their playoff hopes alive. Despite their best efforts it would indeed be the last game at the coliseum as the Capitals hung on to beat the Islanders 2-1 in Game 7 as Evgeny Kuznetsov third period goal proved to be the difference as the Islanders had trouble even getting off a clean shot against the hard pressing Washington defense.
2015/16: After 43 years in the suburbs, the New York Islanders moved into the heart of the city as they began playing their home games at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. It marked the end of a seven-decade journey for New York’s largest borough. In 1941 the New York Americans became the Brooklyn Americans with the anticipation of building an arena in Brooklyn, but those plans were interrupted by the United States being pushed into World War II. The Americans would fold after the season and New York did not get a second team until the Islanders began play in Nassau County. The Islanders first official game in Brooklyn came on October 9th as they opened the season against the reigning champion Chicago Blackhawks. The Islanders would lose in overtime 3-2, but still managed to get off to a good start winning six of their next eight games. However, early reviews of the Barclays Center were less than spectacular as attendance was disappointing. The long travel from their Long Island fan base to Brooklyn and the set up at the Barclays Center were to blame. Simply put the arena was not built with hockey in mind, part of the ice went under the stands, making fans on one side forced to look at monitors to see action near the net, while the sightlines throughout the Barclays Center were less than ideal for hockey. Despite the difficulties, the Islanders played well and were in second place in the Atlantic Division for much of the first half, as they went into the New Year with a record of 21-12-5. January would be a rough month for the Islanders, who started off by dropping three of their first four games. The Islander would get back on track by winning three of four. As the season went deep into the winter months, the Islanders began to develop a solid home ice edge in Brooklyn, posting a 9-1-1 record at Barclays Center in February and March. As the season came down the stretch the Islanders suffered a big blow, as Goalie Jaroslav Halak was lost to a lower body injury. The Islanders would slip into third and battled the rival New York Rangers for third place, but with the charging Pittsburgh Penguins taking over second place, getting the Wild Card match up with the Atlantic Division Champion Florida Panthers was a better matchup for the Islanders. The Islanders would lose their final two games and finished one point behind the Rangers with a 100-point season and a record of 45-27-10. Once again Captain John Tavares was the Islanders leading scorer with 70 points and a team best 33 goals.
2016 Playoffs: The New York Islanders who were hungry for playoff success took on the Florida Panthers who were a big surprise champion of the Atlantic Division. Game 1 would be a back and forth battle as the two teams traded the lead in a high scoring affair won by the Islanders 5-4. John Tavares was the big play maker with a goal and two assists, while Thomas Griess held off the Panthers in the final ten minutes, making a total of 41 saves in the game. The Panthers would bounce back in Game 2, and evened the series with a 3-1 win. In the first playoff game in Brooklyn, the Islanders were in trouble early, trailing by two goals in the third period. The Islanders rallied to tie the game on goals by Shane Prince and Frans Nielsen. After a scoreless game period the game went to overtime with Thomas Hickey winning the game for the Islanders 4-3 on a wrist shot at 12:31. The Panthers though fought with a 2-1 win in Game 4 to again even the series. Game 5 back in South Florida would be another battle of the goalies as the game was tied 1-1 going deep into second overtime with Thomas Griess making 47 saves before Alan Quine netted the game winner at 16:00. Looking to win their first series since 1993 at home the Islanders did not give their fans much to cheer about as the Panthers held a 1-0 lead late in the third period. With just under a minute left, John Tavares scored the equalizer for the third overtime game of the series. The game would remain tied until double overtime, when Tavares scored again to give the Islanders a 2-1 win and move them on to the second round of the playoffs for the first time since 1993. In the second round the Islanders would remain focused on Florida as they faced the Tampa Bay Lightning. Game 1 would be all Islanders, as Shane Prince scored twice to lead the way in a 5-3 win. The Lightning would strike back in Game 2, winning 4-1 to even the series. Game 3 in Brooklyn would go back and forth, with the Islanders clinging to a 4-3 lead late in the third period. However, with 39 seconds left Tampa tied the game on a goal by Nikita Kuckerov. The Lightning would win the game in overtime 5-4 on a goal by Brian Boyle. Kucherov did it again in Game 4, scoring with way through the third period to tie the game 1-1. In overtime the Lightning needed just 94 seconds to strike down the Islanders, winning 2-1 on a goal by Jason Garrison. Deflated after two overtime losses at home, the Islanders returned to Tampa for Game 5, and barely showed any life, suffering a 4-0 loss to lose the series in five games.
2016/17: After winning their first playoff series in 23 years, the New York Islanders hoped to move forward as they began their second year in Brooklyn. However, the Islanders would have to do it with several key players as they lost Frans Nielsen and Kyle Okposo to free agency. Suffering a 5-3 loss to the New York Rangers to open the season, the Islanders got off to a sluggish start as they posted a 6-10-4 record in their first 20 games. This led to goalie Jaroslav Halak placed on waivers and assigned to the AHL Bridgeport Sound Tigers after slumping in the first three months. The Islanders played better in December and entered the New Year with a record of 15-15-6. The Islanders slumped as January began, leading to the dismissal of coach Jack Capuano on January 17th, with the Islanders holding a record of 17-17-8. The Islanders would promote associate coach Dough Weight to the lead position. The move paid dividends right away, as the Islanders finished January strong with a record of 5-0-1 over their last six games. The Islanders continued to have their ups and downs, as they were in the playoff chase, but could not win consistently enough to stay in playoff position. Late in the season the Islanders would make one last push, winning their last six games, but fell one point short with a record of 41-29-12. John Tavares was the Islanders top scorer with 66 points, while Anders Lee had a team best 34 goals.
2017-18: As the 46th season began, the New York Islanders got off to a blazing start in a crucial season for the team going 15-8-2 in the first two months of the season led by rookie Mathew Barzal. Between Barzal’s line and Tavares’ line, the Isles had a top-six that was a force in the league. Scoring is high and all. However, one problem is that they could not defend. The way they were winning games was almost video game in that they were basically winning shootouts of a lot of 6-5, 7-6 type of games which was unsustainable. Eventually, the offense fizzled out, heading into December. Heading into the New Year with a record of 20-15-4, the Islanders’ offense picked back up again, but the defense got worse and worse. Mathew Barzal kept tearing up the league, but the question marks around John Tavares had begun. What was once looked at the potential for an exceptional season was turning south. Barzal continued to develop chemistry with young forward Anthony Beauvilier and recently acquired Jordan Eberle. The Islanders tried to appeal to Tavares in any way possible to convinced him to stay. This included signing the longest-tenured Islander, Josh Bailey to a six-year contract. However, the Islanders would end up missing the playoffs with a record of 35-37-10, as they had one of the league’s worst defenses, allowing 293 goals. Anders Lee finished with 40 goals, Beauvilier finished his second campaign with 21 goals, while John Tavares finished the season with 84 points, scoring 37 goals. Matthew Barzal topped them all with a team-high 85 points as he won the Calder Trophy as the NHL’s Rookie of the Year.
Written by Kenneth Boudreau
2018/19: It was a seismic off-season for the New York Islanders, who were rocked when Captain John Tavares signed a seven-year contract worth $77 million to live out a boyhood dream to play with the Toronto Maple Leafs. While losing, Tavares stung the Islanders, they move quickly to turn the page, as Hall of Famer Lou Lamoriello took over as General Manager, while Barry Trotz fresh off leading the Washington Capitals to the Stanley Cup was named as the team’s new coach. The Islanders player competitive hockey over the first two months, as Matthew Barzal followed up his Calder Trophy by leading the Islanders in scoring with 62 points. On December 1st, the Islanders returned to their roots playing at the Nassau Coliseum for the first time in three years. Since moving to Brooklyn, the old barn was renovated, with its seating capacity reduced to be mainly used for concerts. However, fans on the Islanders desired a return to the Nassau Coliseum, as the Barclays Center in Brooklyn was proving to be ill-suited for hockey with inferior site lines. The Islanders also were able to get a plan together for a new arena near Belmont Park that is scheduled to open in 2021. In their first game back at the Nassau Coliseum, the Islanders beat the Columbus Blue Jackets 3-2, as they played a dozen games back in their original home. As Robin Lehner began to play more games in net, the Islanders fortunes improved as they went into the New Year with a record of 21-13-4. The Islanders closed December during a seven-game win streak that included a 4-0 win over Tavares and the Leafs at Barclay’s Center. From December 15th through February 2nd, the Islanders lost just three games in regulation, as Islanders allowed the fewest goals in the league. Robin Lehner, who signed a one-year deal and shared the goaltending duties with Thomas Griess, would post a 2.13 GAA while recording 25 wins while dealing with bipolar disorder. Lehner would go to win the Masterton Award for perseverance and dedication to hockey. As February began, the Islanders found themselves in first place. They would just short of their first division title in three decades, as they placed second with a record of 48-27-7 as Barry Trotz won the Jack Adams Award for Coach of the Year.
2019 Playoffs: For a moment, it felt like the world was transported back to 1982, as the New York Islanders hosted the Pittsburgh Penguins in the first round of the playoffs, with the opening two games to be played at the Nassau Coliseum. In Game 1, the Islanders rallied to beat the Penguins in overtime 4-3, with Josh Bailey scoring the game-winner. Bailey scored again in Game 2, as the Islanders won 3-1. The Islanders defense continued to frustrate Sidney Crosby and the Penguins in Pittsburgh, as they recorded a 4-1 win in Game 3 to take a 3-0 series lead. The Islanders would go on to complete the sweep with a 3-1 win in Game 4, as Sidney Crosby was held to one assist in the series. In the second round, the Islanders were obligated to play at Barclay’s Center as they faced the Carolina Hurricanes. The magic they had in the games at the Nassau Coliseum was not to be found, as the Hurricanes won the opener 1-0 in overtime. In Game 2, the Hurricanes scored twice in the first 65 seconds of the third period to take a 2-0 series lead, winning 2-1. It would be the last time home game the Islanders would play as they came out flat in Carolina, losing 5-2 in both Game 3 and Game 4 to fall victim to a sweep.
©MMXX Tank Productions. Stats researched by Frank Fleming, all information, and team names are property of the National Hockey League. This site is not affiliated with the New York Islanders or the NHL. This site is maintained for research purposes only. All logos used on this page were from Chris Creamer’s Sports Logos Page.
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