It was on this date back in 1984 that the Edmonton Oilers won their first Stanley Cup in franchise history. Now, let’s take a quick look back at the game that ended one dynasty only to spawn another.
Heading into the ’84 Finals against the four-time defending champion New York Islanders must have been a trip. The Islanders defeated the Oilers in four straight the year before and making sure that history didn’t repeat itself was not going to be easy. The Islanders, led by captain Denis Potvin and sniper Mike Bossy, had won their last nine straight games in the finals, a testament to their dominance in that era. Despite the obvious intimidation, the Oilers were obviously no slouches themselves, their roster dripping with future Hall of Famers and, of course, Wayne Gretzky who was coming off of a 205 point season.
Brownlee said it best when he profiled the 83/84 team a few years ago:
Unceremoniously swept aside the previous spring as the powerhouse New York Islanders rolled over the Oilers to claim their fourth straight Stanley Cup, Sather, Wayne Gretzky, Mark Messier and the rest of the Boys on the Bus began a stretch that would see them win four Cups in five seasons.
In what would be the most dominant season in franchise history, the Oilers won their first seven games and 19 of their first 23 on the way to 57 wins and 119 points – team records that still stand – setting up a Cup final rematch with the Islanders that would be very, very different from the year before. A rematch that would have champagne corks popping on Jasper Avenue.
The Oilers ended the 1983-84 season on a roll that would set them up for the challenge ahead. Heading into the playoffs, they had won 18 of their last 22 games which sent them into the bonus season with talent to spare and momentum on their side, a lethal combination for their opponents. After walking through rounds one and three against the Jets and North Stars respectively, the only real challenge for our boys in blue came from the Calgary Flames in the second round, a series that ended with the Oilers winning in seven games. Relatively speaking, the Oilers must have felt fresh after sweeping two of three series on their way to the finals, a series they had been anticipating.
Before the rematch started, Andy Moog spoke about the Oilers being better prepared to face the Islanders in the finals for the second straight season:
“We were just obsessed with one thing, there was one goal, one destination. We lived in the moment as far as the season was concerned, but nobody doubted for a moment what our objective was.”
With the objective in sight, the only thing that was left to do was execute and win. For the breakdown, we head back to Brownlee’s profile:
The teams split in Uniondale, the Oilers winning 1-0 on a goal by Kevin McClelland, before the Islanders responded with the 6-1 decision. That win would be the last hurrah for the champs as the Oilers pumped ‘em the rest of the way, outscoring the Islanders 19-6 in 7-2, 7-2 and 5-2 wins to get the party started in Oil Country.
The Islanders’ reign of terror was over, the Oilers were the new Stanley Cup Champions and a new dynasty was born. Not only did the Oilers exercise the demons of the previous year’s loss, they also jumpstarted a new era of dominance. An era that would see the Oilers winning four more Cups in the next six years. Edmonton would repeat as champions the following season as well as in 1987, 1988, and add a Gretzky-less Cup victory in 1990. And that, my friends, is how legends are born.
Check out the final moments of that game here: