By defeating the Dallas Stars 3-1 on Tuesday night at Joe Louis Arena, they became the first team in League history to win 21 straight games on home ice in one season.
“We’re thrilled this has happened for our team,” Wings coach Mike 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.”
“This seemed something that was unattainable, especially now in the League –where every team has a chance to win every night,” said defenseman Brad Stuart, whose first-period goal made it 2-0 just 9:15 into the game and stood up as the eventual game-winner. “The home advantage isn’t as prevalent as it used to be. We’ve won some games we probably shouldn’t have, but we found ways to win. Other games, we’ve just been solid. It’s a pretty good accomplishment now that we’ve done it. I think we can reflect on it a little more.”
The Stars agree, bitter as they are about dropping their second game in this building during the streak and being “that team” that lost the game to set the new mark 82 years after it was initially set.
“That’s a darn good team over there,” said forward Adam Burish, who scored the lone Stars goal with just 32.8 seconds left in regulation, spoiling MacDonald’s shutout bid. “They didn’t get the record by just showing up and playing. It’s an
impressive record. This isn’t the ’70s. You can’t show up at the rink and say, ‘We’re going to cruise through this one.’ The competition level in this League from top to bottom is pretty good.”
Stars forward Steve Ott agreed.
“It’s incredible, it truly is,” said Ott, who rooted for the Red Wings as a kid and played junior hockey for the Windsor Spitfires just across the Detroit River from Joe Louis Arena. “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 [stinks] to be on the other end of it watching them do it against our team. It’s disappointing [and] disheartening, because we wanted to be the spoilers.”
No longer are the [Red Wings] tied with the 1929-30 Boston Bruins and 1975-76 Philadelphia Flyers, who won 20 straight games in their own barns. The Red Wings (39-17-2) now hold the NHL record for both consecutive road wins (12) and home wins (21) with Central Division rival Nashville coming to town on Friday.
The Wings, however, opted not to crack open any celebratory beverages in the post-game locker room — in fact, they barely high-fived.
Instead, they did what they always do after games, win or lose – cranking out pull-ups and bench presses, getting themselves prepared for the next one on the schedule. That is how streaks like this are constructed.
“We didn’t spend any time thinking about this or talking about it,” Babcock said. “We just do what we always do, prepare for the game and try to focus on doing good things. That’s what we’ve done all along. That’s what we’ll do [on Wednesday].”
It might sound boring, but it’s the exact recipe this team has used to string this many wins together on their own sheet of ice – including their preparation for Dallas. The only difference was that on Tuesday morning, for the first time in the streak, Wings players made their intentions clear: They were gunning all-out for this record.