The Red Wings set the NHL record last night with their 21st straight win at home, 3-1 over the Dallas Stars. Some of the talk has been how the Wings should have some sort of asterisk because of how the rules are different in using shootouts to end games or the amount of overtime victories the team has during the streak.
Is this criticism fair of the Red Wings, as in is it their fault that they are using the rules set before them? Times changed drastically from the 1929-30 Boston Bruins to the 1975-76 Philadelphia Flyers and from the Flyers to the 2011-12 Wings.
But first lets take a look back at the 29-30 Boston Bruins.
The Bruins went 38-5-1 with a 21-1-0 record at home that season. They sent numerous records that season including the fewest ties in a season, 1, fewest losses, 5, the longest winning streak at the time with 14 games, a record that stood for 52 years and is still the third-longest in league history. During the 20-game home winning streak the team won two games in overtime and the other 18 in regulation.
At the start of the season the NHL changed the rules to try to promote scoring and it allowed “cherry-picking,” which allowed an offensive player to basically stand by the goalie and wait for a pass. At the midway point of the season the NHL changed the rules that helped form the modern-day offside rules.
The team led the league in goals scored and goals allowed and won they won the American Division with 77 points, the second-place Chicago Black Hawks had 47.
When it came to the playoffs the Bruins made it to the Stanley Cup Finals, but lost to the Montreal Canadians 2-0 in the best-of-three series. It was the first time all season the Bruins lost two games in a row and caused the league to expand the final series to a best-of-five.
Now for the 1975-76 Philadelphia Flyers, the ‘Broad-street Bullies.’
The Flyers went 51-13-16 and 36-2-2 at home that year. They led the league in goals scored and finished with 118 points, second only to the 127 points put up by the Montreal Canadians.
During the 20-game home winning streak, the team was able to win all 20 games during regulation. Some people may say because the Flyers were able to win without a shootout or overtime they should still hold the record, but Steve Ott of the Dallas Stars disagrees:
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. 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.
During the current streak, the Wings have won one game in overtime, three by shootout and the other 17 have come via regulation. But it isn’t like the Wings have been a great team in the shootout since its inception in the 2005-06 season.
Detroit only has a 33-34 record in the shootout, way behind the league-best New Jersey Devils at 51-27. Despite all of the individual talent this team has, the team still has no better chance than a coin-flip to come out on top.
The chance to continue the streak Friday night when the Central Division rival Nashville Predators come to town. As for the streak itself, here is what’s next to come.