The Detroit Red Wings made history on Tuesday Feb. 14 by winning 21 home games in a row and breaking the NHL record for most consecutive home wins in a single season.
The talking heads are already downplaying the Wings’ accomplishment by pointing out that winning 21 consecutive home games is much easier in today’s NHL because after the NHL lockout the league went to a shootout format instead of scoring tie games.
I wonder if any of these people have every played hockey? I remember scratching out one win being difficult for a hockey team, much less 21. Win or tie, playing at that high of a level for that amount of time is anything but easy.
This accomplishment was put in jeopardy when starting goaltender Jimmy Howard went down with a broken finger after the all-star break. Up to that point in the season, backup goaltender Joey MacDonald had only two starts and one win for the season.
The other teams to accomplish this feat are the 1975-76 Philadelphia Flyers and the 1929-30 Boston Bruins. The Wings should be proud to be in such elite company but tying or breaking this record is not the ultimate goal for all their hard work this season. It is nice to be mentioned in the record books but is much better to have your name engraved on the Stanley Cup.
The ’76 Flyers and the ’30 Bruins have one other thing in common. Both teams went to the Stanley Cup Finals and both were beat by the Montreal Canadians. It’s too early to make Stanley Cup predictions but the Red Wings seem to be in very good company.
There is still plenty of hockey left in the 2011-12 season. The Red Wings still have three more meetings with their division rivals the Chicago Blackhawks as well as a difficult west coast road trip in March when they will face the Los Angeles Kings, Anaheim Ducks, and San Jose Sharks. There is also an interesting meeting with the St. Lois Blues on April 4, just a few days before the end of the regular season.
This weekend the Wings will have the chance to break another record. The 1929-30 Bruins actually had a 22 home game win streak spanning two seasons. The Wings will face the Nashville Predators on Friday Feb. 17 and the Sharks on Sunday Feb 19.