It’s an incredible streak. It’s the longest streak in the history of the league. The Detroit Red Wings have rolled off 23 straight wins at home.
I attended win No. 14. It’s the only one to have been won in overtime. However, three of the wins have been in a shootout. And because of that, I believe this streak needs an asterisk.
The 1975-76 Philadelphia Flyers and the 1929-30 Boston Bruins each won 20 games in a row at home. It was obviously a different game in the 20s and ’30s, so for the sake of discussion, I’ll only talk about the Flyers’ streak.
Philadelphia’s “Broad Street Bullies,” as two-time defending Stanley Cup champions, beat the New York Islanders on Jan. 4, 1976, and won their last 19 home games of the season after that. To review, that’s 20 wins in a row on home ice. All 20 of those wins came in the regulation 60 minutes of play because there was no overtime in the NHL in 1976.
This year’s Detroit Red Wings have gone into overtime four times during their streak. And, as I stated before, three of those went past the extra period and into a shootout. Playing by the rules of 1975-76, the Wings’ streak would have ended at 12 games.
Between the second and third games of Philly’s streak, the Flyers defeated the Russian Red Army (obviously, the Soviet Union back then), 4-1. The same Soviet team which won Gold at the Olympics in 1964, ’68, ’72, a month after that Flyers game in ’76, ’84 and ’88. I’m pretty sure we all know what happened in 1980.
I don’t want to take away from what the Red Wings are doing. They’re the best team in the league, in my opinion. And they’ve been the best franchise in the NHL for my entire life. You can’t argue with a 26-2-1 home record. But the 1996 Wings were 36-3-2. They would have to go 10-1-1 to just tie the best home record in franchise history! Wings captain Nicklas Lidstrom was on that team, which is also incredible. For those of you who don’t follow hockey (you wouldn’t have read this far down if you didn’t), they’re the Yankees of the NHL, and Lidstrom is Derek Jeter. One can argue the Montreal Canadiens are, but that’s another discussion.
The Wings are on one of the all-time best runs. They battle the Vancouver Canucks, who are second in the Western Conference behind Detroit, on Thursday night. If the Wings can get a win, the streak may never end. It’s an incredible accomplishment, but I still believe it deserves an asterisk.