Team Recap: 8th-Seed ’78-’79 New York Islanders

The #8 seed of the inaugural Ultimate NHL Playoff, the '78-'79 New York Islanders.

The #8 seed of the inaugural Ultimate NHL Playoff, the ’78-’79 New York Islanders.

  • Mike Bossy (RW)
    • 11 GP   12 G   5 A   17 P   +5   44 S   1 GWG   0 PIM   8 Stars
  • Bob Bourne (C)
    • 11 GP   3 G   2 A   5 P   +5   25 S   0 GWG   2 PIM   0 Stars
  • Clark Gillies (LW)
    • 11 GP   5 G   9 A   14 P   +5   24 S   0 GWG   2 PIM   4 Stars
  • Richie Hansen (C)
    • 11 GP   0 G   4 A   4 P   +5   7 S   0 GWG   0 PIM   0 Stars
  • Billy Harris (RW)
    • 11 GP   4 G   5 A   9 P   +4   24 S   1 GWG   2 PIM   4 Stars
  • Gerry Hart (D)
    • 11 GP   0 G   4 A   4 P   +2   1 S   0 GWG   10 PIM   0 Stars
  • Garry Howatt (LW)
    • 11 GP   3 G   3 A   6 P   Even   22 S   0 GWG   18 PIM   3 Stars
  • Dave Lewis (D)
    • 11 GP   1 G   4 A   5 P   +2   24 S   0 GWG   2 PIM   0 Stars
  • Bob Lorimer (D)
    • 11 GP   0 G   4 A   4 P   +6   9 S   0 GWG   6 PIM   0 Stars
  • Bob Nystrom (RW)
    • 11 GP   6 G   3 A   9 P   +1   57 S   0 GWG   6 PIM   2 Stars
  • Stefan Persson (D)
    • 11 GP   3 G   11 A   14 P   +3   20 S   0 GWG   2 PIM   1 Stars
  • Denis Potvin (D)
    • 11 GP   1 G   10 A   11 P   +3   34 S   0 GWG   4 PIM   1 Stars
  • Pat Price (D)
    • 11 GP   0 G   6 A   6 P   +4   7 S   0 GWG   0 PIM   0 Stars
  • Glenn Resch (G)
    • 7 GP   5-2-0   3.14 GAA   .898 SV%   0 SO   3 Stars
  • Billy Smith (G)
    • 5 GP   1-2-1   3.20 GAA   .891 SV%   1 SO   0 Stars
  • John Tonelli (LW)
    • 11 GP   7 G   5 A   12 P   +5   22 S   2 GWG   4 PIM   5 Stars
  • Bryan Trottier (C)
    • 11 GP   5 G   10 A   15 P   Even   56 S   2 GWG   2 PIM   6 Stars
  • Ed Westfall (RW)
    • 9 GP   0 G   0 A   0 P   Even   0 S   0 GWG   0 PIM   0 Stars

Bold – Team Best

Team Stats:

  • Record: 6-3-2
  • Goals Scored: 50
  • Goals/Game: 4.55
  • Goals Allowed: 38
  • Goals Allowed/Game: 3.45
  • Shots: 376
  • Shots Allowed: 362
  • Shots/Game: 34.2
  • Shots Allowed/Game: 32.9
  • # of PP’s: 23
  • PPG’s: 4
  • PP%: 17.4%
  • TSH: 24
  • PPGA: 2
  • PK%: 91.7%
  • Penalties in minutes: 62

This was the team before the Islanders dynasty began. It was still a very good team and it featured many of the stars that were the mainstays during the dynasty. I had some high expectations for this team, but in their path were their bitter rivals. Here is the ’78-’79 Islanders’ matchups during the inaugural Ultimate NHL Playoff.

1st Round:

Bye

2nd Round:

Defeated 25th-seeded ’05-’06 Ottawa Senators (modern), 4-1

3rd Round:

Lost to 9th-seeded ’71-’72 New York Rangers, 4-2

Under the legendary Al Arbour, the ’78-’79 New York Islanders posted a record of 51-15-14 during the regular season, which was good for 116 points and 1st in the Patrick Division. There was a span of games from November to January where this team won 20 of 21 games. After running through the regular season, they swept the Chicago Blackhawks in the Quarterfinals. In the Semifinals, they face their bitter rivals, the New York Rangers, and lost to them in six games. It would be their last playoff series lost until the Stanley Cup Final of the ’83-’84 season.

This Islanders team featured some stellar point scorers. It started with Mike Bossy and his ability to score goals almost at will. He potted 69 goals in 80 games played and also posted 57 assists for 126 points. However, he was not the team leader in points. That belonged to Bryan Trottier, who posted 47 goals and 87 assists for 134 points in 76 games played. Bossy and Trottier’s linemate Clark Gillies was fourth on the team in points. He posted 35 goals and 56 assists for 91 points. Back on the blueline, Denis Potvin was arguably the best offensive defenseman of his time. In the ’78-’79 season, Potvin posted 31 goals and 70 assists for 101 points. Fellow defenseman Stefan Persson posted stellar offensive numbers, including 56 assists. Their goaltending situation was a 1a-1b situation. Glenn Resch, more commonly known as Chico, started 43 games and Billy Smith started 40 games. Resch posted the better numbers during the regular season, but Smith posted the better numbers in the postseason, with each goalie earning five starts.

Up next is the #9 seed, the ’71-’72 New York Rangers!

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