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1981 Stanley Cup Finals

1981 Stanley Cup Finals
12345 Total
New York Islanders 66725 4
Minnesota North Stars 33541 1
Location(s)Uniondale: Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum (1, 2, 5)
Bloomington: Met Center (3, 4)
CoachesNew York: Al Arbour
Minnesota: Glen Sonmor
CaptainsNew York: Denis Potvin
Minnesota: Paul Shmyr
DatesMay 12 – May 21
MVPButch Goring (Islanders)
Series-winning goalWayne Merrick (5:37, first, G5)
NetworksCBC, Simulcast in the United States by USA Network
SportsChannel New York (Games 1,2,5; New York Area), WOR-TV (Games 3 and 4; New York Area)
AnnouncersBob Cole, Mickey Redmond, and Gary Dornhoefer (CBC/USA)
Jiggs McDonald and Ed Westfall (SCNY)
Tim Ryan and Ed Westfall (WOR)

The 1981 Stanley Cup Finals was the championship series of the National Hockey League's (NHL) 1980–81 season, and the culmination of the 1981 Stanley Cup playoffs. It was contested by the Minnesota North Stars, making their first Finals appearance, and the defending champion New York Islanders, in their second Finals appearance. The Islanders would win the best-of-seven series, four games to one, to win their second Stanley Cup championship. This would be the last all-American Finals until 1991, when the North Stars faced the Pittsburgh Penguins. Butch Goring won the Conn Smythe Trophy as Most Valuable Player in the playoffs.

Paths to the Finals

Minnesota defeated the Boston Bruins 3–0, the Buffalo Sabres 4–1 and the Calgary Flames 4–2 to advance to the Final.

New York defeated the Toronto Maple Leafs 3–0, the Edmonton Oilers 4–2, and the New York Rangers 4–0 to reach the Final.

Game summaries

Dino Ciccarelli of the North Stars set a rookie record (since tied by Ville Leino in 2010), scoring twenty-one points (14 goals and seven assists) during the year's playoffs. The Islanders' much deeper lineup, however, won the day.

New York Islanders vs. Minnesota North Stars

Date Visitors Score Home Score
May 12 Minnesota 3 New York 6
May 14 Minnesota 3 New York 6
May 17 New York 7 Minnesota 5
May 19 New York 2 Minnesota 4
May 21 Minnesota 1 New York 5

New York wins the series 4–1.


The series aired on CBC in Canada. In the United States, this was the first of five seasons that the Cup Finals aired on the USA Network. For the 1981 Finals only, USA simulcast the CBC feed instead of producing their own coverage.

New York Islanders — 1981 Stanley Cup champions



Coaching and administrative staff

Stanley Cup engraving

  • ^-Steve Corais was included on the team, but name was left off the Stanley Cup.[citation needed]
  • † Lorne Henning (Center) played nine regular season and one playoff game. He was the last playing-coach to win the Stanley Cup.
  • †† Jean Potvin 18 games regular season games, and did not dress in the playoffs. He spent the rest of year as a broadcaster. Potvin's name was put on the cup in 1981, even though he did not officially qualify.
  • A new ring was created in 1993 for the winners from 1979 to 1991. New York Islanders was misspelled. NEW YORK ILANDERS missing the first "S". Name was spelt correctly on the Replica Cup also created in 1993.

See also


  • Total Stanley Cup. NHL. 2000.
  • Podnieks, Andrew; Hockey Hall of Fame (2004). Lord Stanley's Cup. Triumph Books. ISBN 978-1-55168-261-7.
Preceded by
New York Islanders
New York Islanders
Stanley Cup Champions

Succeeded by
New York Islanders