11 Stanley Cups. 66 Hall of Famers. 9 MVPs. And now the greatest home winning streak in the history of the National Hockey League.
The Detroit Red Wings won their 21st home game in a row last night, surpassing the 1929-1930 Boston Bruins, and the 1975-1976 Philadelphia Flyers. Detroit beat the Dallas Stars in a game that was much more lopsided than the 3-1 final score would indicate. Two first period goals, from Henrik Zetterberg and Brad Stuart, sent the capacity Joe Louis Arena crowd into a frenzy that lasted throughout the evening. Jiri Hudler put the nail in the coffin in the third period, firing up Journey and chants of “21.”
The Red Wings have won more consecutive home games than the Columbus Blue Jackets have won all season, and as many as the Carolina Hurricanes. To put more perspective on this streak, only the St. Louis Blues have won more home games throughout the entire season than the Red Wings have won in a row. The Wings are undefeated at home in 2012, not having lost in the state of Michigan since November 3rd. The most amazing part of this streak is the Red Wings home futility last season. In 2010-11, the Red Wings won only 21 home games period. Incredible.
The best part of the streak, at least in my opinion, is the sense of unfinished business from the players. Captain Nicklas Lidstrom said after the game “ It’s something special for the team, but we are still in the middle of the season. We still are very focused.” Scary. At least if you wear another sweater.
The best home team in the NHL isn’t satisfied with an NHL record. Look out. Detroit has 14 of the remaining 24 games at Joe Louis, setting up a season of well over 100 points.
Not everyone has been completely receptive to this streak, many citing the Red Wings use of shootout victories, something that was unavailable to the Bruins and Flyers during their streaks. Adam Burish, the Dallas goalscorer last night, has his own opinion on that matter; “I think it’s harder than it was in the 70′s, just because of the parity. There are no games where you can just show up and think you’re going to win.”
Enjoy the ride Red Wings fans, you may never see another like this. In the big picture, the streak means very little, but it’s a helluva lot of fun. Detroit is still battling St. Louis and Nashville just to win the division.
This franchise is measured by Stanley Cups, not home winning streaks, and every person in that locker room understands that. Will it be good enough to win 16 games in the spring? Only time will tell.
When will this streak end? Will it end? (Of course it will eventually…. right?)
The Wings look to extend the streak Friday against Nashville. I advise you not to miss that one.