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The Oilers Were The Spoilers
Jack Falla
May 28, 1984
An era ended as Edmonton's Oilers wrested the Stanley Cup from the Islanders after Wayne Gretzky got going in Game 4 (right)
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May 28, 1984

The Oilers Were The Spoilers

An era ended as Edmonton's Oilers wrested the Stanley Cup from the Islanders after Wayne Gretzky got going in Game 4 (right)

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"But give the Oilers credit," said former Islander captain Ed Westfall, now a TV analyst, before Game 5. "They're breaking down the great defensive capabilities of the Islanders. They're doing it with offensive push and speed. They'll get one guy to make a mistake and somebody has to cover for that man and you get a continous breakdown compounding itself."

The Oilers also prevented the Islanders from setting up in the attacking zone by moving the puck out with short passes up the boards rather than with the long, risky, up-the-middle bombs they tried futilely in '83.

By Friday, the city of Edmonton and its team sensed that the result of Game 5 was foreordained. At posh and pricey Walden's restaurant on 104 Street, an "Oiler special" featuring roast Long Island duckling had been added to the menu.

"Is that Smitty?" asked a diner, pointing to a duck dish.

"No," said the waiter, "Smitty is the turkey."

Just before the Oilers took the ice for Game 5 on Saturday, Gretzky stood up in the dressing room and, according to Lowe, said, "I've had a lot of individual honors and personal recognition, but nothing I've ever done, won or received means as much to me as winning the Cup."

With that, Gretzky opened the game with a pair of first-period goals on Smith, who was once again replaced by Melanson at the start of the second period. Melanson allowed a goal by Ken Linseman within 38 seconds and then Kurri scored just over four minutes later. Both goals came on power plays, each created by a penalty committed by Duane Sutter.

Two goals in the first 35 seconds of the third period by Islander rookie Pat LaFontaine had Sather pacing the bench, telling his players to relax. From then on the Oiler defense tightened up.

An empty-net goal by Lumley at 19:47 set off a rain of streamers and balloons. And the end of the game brought dozens of fans onto the ice where they engulfed their Oilers. There developed a giant human swarm, with Gretzky in the middle holding high the Cup. This year it signified not just the winning of the championship, but also the changing of the guard—and the game.

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