Isles 40 in 40 -- #31
Denis Potvin heard the phrase "The Next Bobby Orr" throughout his career.
When the Isles selected him in the 1973 Amateur Draft, the NY Times story began:
Denis Potvin, a fast, aggressive, high-scoring defenseman in the mold of Boston's Bobby Orr, was chosen by the New York Islanders today as the No.  pick in the National Hockey League's draft of amateur players.
When the two were teammates on the Canada Cup team in 1976, Potvin drew attention for his comments critical of the Bruin star:
Peter Gammons-SI on Potvin/Orr
One thing was certain, though. If Bobby Orr was the best defenseman in the NHL from the mid-60's to the mid-70's, his Norris Trophy successor as the best defenseman was Denis Potvin.
Thus, as Potvin's career progressed the comparisons continued.
By the 1985-86 season, the Stanley Cups were in the rear-view mirror and for the first time since the 1970s, the Isles were not a team that had played in the Stanley Cup Finals the previous spring.
However, Denis Potvin's numbers were accumulating to a level no defenseman had ever seen. No defenseman but Bobby Orr that is.
On December 20, 1985, Potvin finally passed Orr on the points list as he recorded his 916th point as he assisted on a Mike Bossy goal (#495). Perhaps fittingly, the game is played at Madison Square Garden.
Then, barely five weeks later, Potvin passes Orr again, but this time it is with his 271st career goal:
Less than three weeks later, Coffey grabbed Potvin's goal record as well. Perhaps fittingly, it came less than two months after Potvin and Mike Bossy were inducted together into the Hockey Hall of Fame."It's a thrill. Denis Potvin is one of the greatest defensemen that ever played the game. To have a chance to even share numbers with someone like him is one thing, but to have a chance to pass him is another."
Some fans in Manhattan never forgot this play (compare it to what you see every day in the NHL these days)
Most everyone else remember him as the Captain of 4 Stanley Cup championship teams, who in a span of two months, passed the Great Bobby Orr... twice. Those feats earn him #31 on the Isles 40 in 40 list.
The List to Date:
#31--December 20, 1985 and January 28, 1986--Potvin Passes Orr.. Twice
#33 -- June 26, 2009 -- Islanders Select John Tavares
#34 -- May, 1982-- Bossy leads the Isles to 3rd Stanley Cup
#35 -- January 6,1981 --With Bossy Chasing 50, Tonelli Lights Up the Leafs
#36 -- January 18, 1973 -- Expansion Isles Beat the Champs
#37 -- November 28, 1979 -- Billy Smith is credited with a goal
#38 -- December 23, 1978 -- Trottier re-writes the record book
#39 -- February 11, 2011 -- Isles pound Pens 9-3
#40 -- Summer 2001 -- Isles hire Laviolette, trade for Peca and Yashin, claim Osgood.
Like any of these lists, my #2 may be your #20...