On this day in 1984, the Edmonton Oilers defeat the New York Islanders to win their first Stanley Cup in franchise history
6 months ago
On this day in 1984, the Edmonton Oilers would hoist their first-ever Stanley Cup in franchise history after a game-five victory over the New York Islanders.
It had been five years since the Oilers joined the NHL in 1979 and the deepest the team had gotten was the cup finals the year before, where they got swept by the Islanders. This would be the year that would mark history and pave the way for the Dynasty that followed.
The team from Alberta’s capital would go 57-18-5 in the regular season, earning themselves the first-place spot in the Smythe Division. They would play the Winnipeg Jets in the first round in 1984, sweeping them in a quick three games to move on to the Smythe Divison finals against their provincial rivals, the Calgary Flames. Calgary wouldn’t go down without a fight, forcing a game seven after Lanny McDonald scored the overtime winner in game six, keeping Cowtown in the race.
Evidently, the Oilers wouldn’t let the Flames engulf them coming back to win 7-4 in game seven. Edmonton would match up against the Minnesota North Stars in the pair’s first playoff series for the battle to reach the final round. It seemed too easy, and the Oilers would sweep the North Star State in four games punching their ticket to the Stanley Cup Finals.
Feeling confident after easily beating the Clarence Campbell Conference, the Oilers would be up against the four-time Stanley Cup Champions, the New York Islanders. The Oilers had matched up against the team from Long Island in the 1982-1983 finals but were swept out in four games. This would mark the third playoff match-up between the two; each time previous, the Islanders came out victorious.
The series would begin in Uniondale, New York, at the Nassau Coliseum, with the Oilers sneaking by in game one with a lonely goal from Kevin McClelland in the third period; the Islanders would respond with a 6-1 victory in game two. As the series shifted to Alberta soil, it became one-sided in favour of the home team. The Oilers would take games three and four, meaning there was only one game left until captain Wayne Gretzky and his team would wrap their hands around the prized cup.
Game five would be played in front of thousands of Oilers fans at Northlands Coliseum and as netminder Andy Moog and the team took the ice, the place erupted. The game would start with a penalty for too many men sending the Islanders into a power play, but with a successful Oilers penalty kill, Wayne Gretzky would walk in, scoring two goals in the first period. Duane Sutter of the Islanders would be penalized at the end of the first for roughing, giving the Oilers a scoring opportunity to start the second, which Ken Linseman took full advantage of, scoring 38 seconds in.
Sutter would have a time-out in the sin bin once more for hooking, allowing Jari Kurri to score on the man advantage. The Oilers were up by four unanswered goals heading into the third period before Pat LaFontaine would come in, putting the Islanders on the board by burying two goals 22 seconds apart, making the score 4-2. Dave Lumley would secure the game with 13 seconds left in the third, scoring once more to give the Oilers a 5-2 victory over the reigning champions.
As the Oilers hoisted their first-ever Stanley Cup, the city exploded in a screaming ovation that echoed through the streets that were probably heard all the way to Long Island. As Tom Barrett of the Edmonton Journal described the event, the party wouldn’t end there, as thousands of Edmontonians turned to Jasper Avenue chanting, “We’re No.1, Go Oilers Go, and We Want Billy,” celebrating in an endless party of champagne showers. The Billy chant is in reference to the Islanders goaltender Billy Smith, the man every Oilers fan loved to hate.
Mark Messier would win the Conn Smythe Trophy for the most valuable player, and Gretzky would lead the team in scoring and points at 13 goals and 35 points. Andy Moog would become the Oilers’ No.1 netminder after Fuhr suffered an injury after LaFontaine crashed into the goaltender during game three.
This was just the beginning of the Oilers’ victorious reign in the NHL, and in the years to come, Edmonton would have many more champagne shower celebrations.
Aleena Aksenchuk is an intern with Oilersnation and the Nation Network. She can be found on twitter at @A_Aksenchuk8
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