The NHL’s Detroit Red Wings are definitely king of the castle when it comes to their home rink of Joe Louis Arena. The Red Wings set a brand new league record by winning for the 21st consecutive time at home on Feb. 14 with a 3-1 victory against the Dallas Stars.
The old mark was set by the Boston Bruins in the 1929/30 season and then equalled by the Philadelphia Flyers in 1975/76 when both clubs won 20 straight in their home rinks. The last time Detroit lost at home was back on November 3 when the Calgary Flames topped them 4-1.
Journeyman goaltender Joey MacDonald helped the team set the record after watching the first 17 games of the streak from his couch at home. MacDonald was playing for the Red Wings American Hockey League (AHL) farm team in Grand Rapids, Michigan when he was called up by the NHL team after regular goaltender Jimmy Howard broke a finger.
Howard had been in net for all 17 wins until MacDonald took over. MacDonald said he never dreamed he’d be a part of the record since the Red Wings backup goaltender is Ty Conklin. However, Red Wings brass felt Conklin was playing was inconsistently and gave the 31-year-old MacDonald a chance to shine. MacDonald made 20 saves against the Stars and lost his shutout bid with just 33 seconds remaining in the game. After the game Red Wings fans remained in the arena and chanted “Joey, Joey.”
Detroit coach Mike Babcock said the team never talked about the record before the game as the club was just concentrating on getting two points to stay on top of the NHL standings. However, he did say the organization is thrilled with the new record as everybody from ownership down worked hard to set it.
It may have set the mark for excellence in the NHL, but compared to the other three major North American sports 21 straight home wins is the lowest on the totem pole. The Pittsburgh Pirates MLB team won 24 in a row at home in 1978 and the Boston Red Sox matched it 10 years later. In the NFL, the Miami Dolphins hold the record with 27 consecutive home victories which they compiled between 1971 and 1974 and the NBA’s 1995/96 edition of the Chicago Bulls hold the record in basketball with 37.
The Red Wings have the opportunity to match or break these marks if they can keep their streak alive. Ironically, the club also holds the NHL record for most consecutive road wins with 12. During the 21-game home streak Detroit has outscored the opposition 84-31. Three of the games were won in penalty shootouts and one was won in overtime. The Bruins won two games in overtime when they set the previous record, while Philadelphia won all 20 of their contests in regulation time.
A post by Ian Palmer from Feed Crossing.