Twenty-one is a winning hand, in blackjack and on the ice.
History was made on Tuesday night: Twenty-one home games, and 21 straight home victories for the Red Wings at Joe Louis Arena. The Red Wings surpassed the 1929-30 Boston Bruins and the 1975-76 Philadelphia Flyers, whom they tied at 20 straight wins on Sunday.
The victory had a sense of inevitability after the first period, when the Detroit Red Wings pumped 20 shots on the Dallas Stars' goal and got two pucks past Kari Lehtonen. Like in so many other victories during their record-setting home winning streak, the Wings looked like an unbeatable machine in the Motor City.
Here's how the final moments looked and sounded, as Red Wings fans made the barn sound like the waning moments of a Stanley Cup Final, and the players sent that love back to them in the postgame celebration.
First-period goals by Henrik Zetterberg and Brad Stuart set the tone; Jiri Hudler put the game out of reach at 15:11 of the third period. Adam Burish of the Stars broke Joey McDonald's shutout bid with a skate-to-stick goal in the last 33 second of the game — and old Chicago Blackhawks nemesis, back to provide a little rain on the picnic.
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But nearly everything else went the Wings' way in hitting 21. They led in shots on goal, in takeaways and in blocked shots. They had a 3-to-6 advantage in penalties. Overall in the 21-game home winning streak, the Red Wings outscored their opponents by an 87-31 count.
Here's the streak, which began after a 4-1 home loss to the Calgary Flames on Nov. 3.
|Nov. 5, 2011||Red Wings 5, Ducks 0|
|Nov. 8, 2011||Red Wings 5, Avalanche 2|
|Nov. 11, 2011||Red Wings 3, Oilers 0|
|Nov. 12, 2011||Red Wings 5, Stars 2|
|Nov. 23, 2011||Red Wings 5, Flames 3|
|Nov. 26, 2011||Red Wings 4, Predators 1|
|Nov. 30, 2011||Red Wings 4, Lightning 2|
|Dec. 8, 2011||Red Wings 5, Coyotes 2|
|Dec. 10, 2011||Red Wings 7, Jets 1|
|Dec. 17, 2011||Red Wings 8, Kings 2|
|Dec. 27, 2011||Red Wings 3, Blues 2|
|Dec. 31, 2011||Red Wings 3, Blues 0|
|Jan. 12, 2012||Red Wings 3, Coyotes 2|
|Jan. 14, 2012||Red Wings 3, Blackhawks 2|
|Jan. 16, 2012||Red Wings 5, Sabres 0|
|Jan. 21, 2012||Red Wings 3, Blue Jackets 2|
|Jan. 23, 2012||Red Wings 3, Blues 2|
|Feb. 8, 2012||Red Wings 4, Oilers 2|
|Feb. 10, 2012||Red Wings 2, Ducks 1|
|Feb. 12, 2012||Red Wings 4, Flyers 3|
|Feb. 14, 2012||Red Wings 3, Stars 1|
With that run, the Detroit Red Wings set a new standard for consecutive victories on home ice. Yes, a few of them came during overtime sessions that weren't available to the Flyers and Bruins. Maybe you feel that earns the record an asterisk. Bob Duff of the Windsor Star, however, found someone that disagrees — and he's not exactly a Red Wings loyalist:
Some have suggested that Detroit's streak should wear an asterisk, since the Wings have won three times in overtime and once during a shootout, but don't try selling that theory inside an NHL dressing room.
"I think if you talk to Wayne Gretzky about Sam Gagner (and his eight-point game), he'd tell you it's pretty amazing in this age," [Dallas Stars forward Steve] Ott said. "The players are a lot similar. The teams are a lot similar.
"That parity, it's so much closer than it was back in the 80s or the 70s, or even the 90s for that fact. It's a new era, a new game, and the guys are so well-versed on physical strength, mental strength. There's so many different methods of preparation — video preparation. So much has changed over the years. That's a phenomenal feat to win 21 straight home games."
Tonight, the Red Wings made sports history. Who's next?
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