As the final seconds tick off the clock at Joe Louis Arena it almost seems a ritual that the Red Wings skate off the ice with a W in the column. What Detroit has been able to do at home is remarkable. Very few teams have been able to be so dominating at home in one season. With their NHL record longest home winning streak hitting 23 games after their victory over the Sharks tonight, they still may not be the best home season ever.
The Red Wings have played 29 home games, winning 26 of those. But they have very little room for error to beat the NHL record for most home wins in a single NHL season. Philadelphia Flyers won 36 home games in the 1975-76 season in only 4 games. So looking at this realistically the Red Wings have to win virtually all of their remaining 12 home games. It may be possible with they way they are playing right now but unfortunately all teams must lose eventually but who knows.
I don't want to take away anything that they have accomplished because it truly is remarkable, especially the fact that they had no depth in the goaltender position. When Jimmy Howard, who was and still is leading the NHL in wins, went down with a broken finger after a huge shootout win against Vancouver I had a heart attack. Ty Conklin had been shaky all season and got rocked against Edmonton when coach Babcock decided it's Joey MacDonald's turn. He played a bit for the Wings last season but was average at best. He proved all of his doubters wrong this year, in a contract year none-the-less. His is 6-1-1 with a 1.66 goals against average and a 93% save percentage. But what is amazing about Joey is the quality of wins he had. He came in with the record within sight and stood his ground and gave Detroit exactly what they needed to beat the record.
Another big change that has come during Detroit's tear through the standings is the emergence of a solid 3rd line consisting of Drew Miller, Darren Helm and Justin Abdelkader. They continue to have a huge impact each night that they lace up the skates (Helm and Miller each getting huge goals tonight). How about Henrik Zetterberg?
The veteran forward who lead the Wings in points last season with 80 was off to a very, VERY slow start with only 35 points in the first 52 games of the season including a stretch of just 1 goal in 23 games. Ouch! But if you know anything about Zetterberg, you know you can't keep him quiet for long. After the All-Star break he seemed like a different player, he was skating better, skating harder and it was paying off. "Hank" as he is known as to many in Detroit has 11 points in his last 8 games including goals in 4 in his past 6 games. So now you have both of the Euro-twins putting up points and that is a very good feeling. Anything can happen with those two world-class players on top of their game.
This season is certainly magical for Detroit and as we approach the final 6 weeks of the regular season keep your eyes on these Wings. Is history in their future? How about a Stanley Cup? What does their future hold? First things first...let's win some road games! One thing is for sure, it will be exciting to sit back and watch how it plays out.