As much as I hate to do this, I need to congratulate the Detroit Red Wings for the NHL history they made.
Last Tuesday, Feb. 14, they beat the Dallas Stars 3-1 for a National Hockey League record 21st straight home victory. They surpassed the 1929-1930 Boston Bruins and the 1975-1976 Philadelphia Flyers, who were both tied with 20 straight home wins.
This is just one more reason for me to hate Detroit. I became a diehard Flyers fan when I was 6 years old. Philadelphia made it all the way to the Stanley Cup Finals, but they were swept in for games by the Red Wings. Now they break what I feel is a very impressive record partially held by my franchise.
Detroit’s home winning streak started on Nov. 5 with a decisive 5-0 win against the Anaheim Ducks. Before that, the Wing’s home record was a mediocre 3-2-1.
Throughout this streak, they have beaten the Ducks, Avalanche, Oilers, Stars, Flames, Predators, Lightning, Coyotes, Jets, Kings, Blues, Blackhawks, Sabres, Blue Jackets and Flyers. So that’s 21 straight wins against 15 different teams.
The irony in all of this is that a one of the teams who shared the record, my Philadelphia Flyers, had a chance on Sunday, Feb. 12 to stop the Red Wings from tying the record. They had 19 straight home wins going into the Sunday night showdown with Philly and tied the record against one of its holders.
If we look back at the previous two record holders, Wings fans should be getting excited since both the Bruins and Flyers made the Stanley Cup Finals in the years they set the record, 1930 and 1976 respectively.
But the city that should be really pumped for the playoffs is Montreal.
Even though both Boston and Philadelphia made the Stanley Cup Finals in those seasons, both had their championship dream crushed by the Montreal Canadiens. The 1930 finals were a best of three series and Montreal defeated Boston two games to none, winning game 1, 3-0, and game 2, 4-3. By 1976, the finals were in its current format of a seven game series, but the Flyers suffered the same fate, losing the series four games to none.
However, it doesn’t look like history will be repeating itself. Currently the Montreal Canadiens are tied for 11th place in the Eastern Conference with the Tampa Bay Lightning and New York Islanders, and are eight points away from a playoff spot. If the Habs do find a way into the playoffs, it will be a story to keep an eye on, though.
Even if it isn’t against Montreal, I could definitely see the Red Wings losing in the finals this year. Given that they are 24-2-1 at home, their incredibly average 15-15-1 road record is preventing them from separating from the rest of the pack in the Western Conference race for top seed and the overall race for the President’s Cup, most points in the league. As I write this they hold only a two point lead in the conference over the Vancouver Canucks and a one point lead over the New York Rangers for the most points in the NHL.
So once again, congratulations to the Detroit Red Wings and their record for most consecutive home wins, but as we’ve seen in the past, it doesn’t always lead to hoisting up the cup.