Originally written February 14, 2012 on Fox Sports Detroit:
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DETROIT -- The NHL's playoff campaign slogan last year was "History will be made." Detroit Red Wings fans got to see a little history made during the regular season at Joe Louis Arena Tuesday night. With a 3-1 victory over the Dallas Stars, the Red Wings officially entered the record books with their 21st consecutive home victory. They are now 24-2-1 at the Joe this season. To put that in a little perspective, the Wings have more home wins than the Montreal Canadiens, New York Islanders, Carolina Hurricanes, Anaheim Ducks, Edmonton Oilers and Columbus Blue Jackets have total wins. "It's something special especially with all the really great teams I've been on here over the years and great players but we've never had a chance to do something like this," Wings captain Nick Lidstrom said. "This is a real special moment for the team." After the final horn sounded and the players had congratulated goaltender Joey MacDonald, who made 20 saves, all the Wings skated around the ice with their sticks raised to acknowledge the fans who were standing and cheering. "Thats the least we can do," said Henrik Zetterberg who scored the first goal of the game. "(Fans) are a big part of this and the way theyve been carrying us here this year, especially the last two games have been like playoff games, its helping us to play good." Brad Stuart, who scored the eventual game-winner 68 seconds after Zetterberg in the first period, talked about the reasons behind the team's home success. "Probably just good solid defensive play," Stuart said. "Our goals against has been pretty good. Theres been games where we shouldnt have won, but found a way to do what we needed to. I think thats the confidence we have, its a big factor we have now. When we need a play, need a save, a goal, were confident were going to get it." Coach Mike Babcock, who has insisted throughout the streak that the team is more focused on getting points than setting records in a tight division, admitted that he's proud of what the Wings have accomplished. "We're thrilled this has happened for our team," Babcock said. "I think it's really good for our logo, it's really good for our ownership, our team. I'm proud of the guys, they've worked hard and now let's get on with it." The Stars, who avoided a shutout with a goal from Adam Burish with :33 seconds left in the third period, were less thrilled than the Wings about appearing in the record book. "It's incredible. It truly is," Steve Ott said. "Twenty-one games in a row at home, let alone five in a row at home is amazing. It's a tremendous accomplishment for their organization. It completely sucks to be other end of it watching them do it against our team. It's disappointing, disheartening, because we wanted to be the spoilers." But there was no spoiling a record-setting Valentine's Day for the Wings and their fans. Not even the naysayers who point out the fact that the Wings earned their 21 straight wins with the help of three shootout victories and an overtime victory, something the 1929-30 Boston Bruins and 1975-76 Philadelphia Flyers did not have when they won 20 straight at home. "There's really no way to combat that argument but still in itself it's an incredible accomplishment regardless of what you're going to compare it to, whatever happened 80-some years ago," Stuart said. "We can take pride in it regardless of the arguments that can be made against it." Despite their mind-blowing success at home, the Wings are still just four points ahead of second-place Vancouver in the Western Conference. Things also remain tight in the Central Division. Although the St. Louis Blues lost Tuesday, they are just five points behind the Wings with two games in hand, the Nashville Predators are eight points behind with one game in hand and the free-falling Chicago Blackhawks are 15 points back with one game in hand. "For us, now we just want to keep going and we want to win the next game," Zetterberg said. "Now were kind of back to winning games because other teams are winning games. But, still, every game we win now is going to extend the record. You might as well keep going." And as MacDonald pointed out, there's something way better than an entry in the record book as far as the Wings are concerned. "Guys have stepped up," MacDonald said. "It's a different guy every night. 21 wins is a pretty good feeling but we've got to keep going. It's a record but there's one goal every year and that's to win the Cup."
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