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The 1981 Stanley Cup Finals 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.

This would be the last all-American Finals until 1991 when the North Stars faced the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Road to the Final[]

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

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

The Series[]

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.

However, the Islanders' much deeper lineup won the day. Wayne Merrick scored the series winning goal at 5:37 in the first period.

Date Visitors Score Home Score
Tue, May 12th Minnesota 3 New York 6
Thu, May 14th Minnesota 3 New York 6
Sun, May 17th New York 7 Minnesota 5
Tue, May 19th New York 2 Minnesota 4
Thu, May 21st Minnesota 1 New York 5

New York Islanders: 1981 Stanley Cup Champions[]



  • 11 Wayne Merrick
  • 14 Bob Bourne
  • 19 Bryan Trottier
  • 25 Billy Carroll
  • 91 Robert "Butch" Goring


  • 8 Garry Howatt
  • 9 Clark Gillies
  • 12 Duane Sutter
  • 22 Mike Bossy
  • 23 Bob Nystrom
  • 27 John Tonelli
  • 28 Anders Kallur
  • 29 Hector Marini


  • 5 Denis Potvin (Captain)
  • 3 Jean Potvin††
  • 4 Bob Lorimer
  • 6 Ken Morrow
  • 7 Stefan Persson
  • 16 Mike McEwen
  • 24 Gord Lane
  • 26 Dave Langevin


  • 31 Billy Smith
  • 1 Roland Melanson

Coaching and administrative staff

  • John Pickett (Chairman/Owner)
  • Bill Torrey (President/General Manager)
  • Al Arbour (Head Coach), †10 Lorne Henning (playing-Ass't Coach)
  • Jim Devellano (Chief Scout), Gerry Ehman (Western Scout)
  • Harry Boyd (Scout), Maurice Sabageno (Scout)
  • Ron Waske (Trainer), Jim Pickard (Asst. Trainer)
  • Steve Corais (Director of Public Relations)^

Stanley Cup Engraving[]

  • ^-Steve Corais was included on the team, but name was left off the Stanley Cup.
  • † Lorne Henning (Center) played nine regular season and one playoff game. He was the last playing-coach to win the Stanley Cup.
  • †† Jean Potvin played 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.