Red Wings Reach Record with Win over Flyers

The Detroit Red Wings tied the NHL record longest home winning streak with a 4-3 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers on Sunday night.

It was the twentieth consecutive win at home for the Wings, matching runs by the 1929-30 Boston Bruins and the 1975-76 Flyers. The team hasn’t lost in Detroit since November 3.

Johan Franzen scored the game-winning goal just 52 seconds into the third period, finishing off a slick passing play. Pavel Datsyuk worked the puck out of the right corner to Henrik Zetterberg at the right point. Zetterberg sent a hard pass to Nicklas Lidstrom at the inside edge of the left faceoff circle, who tipped in on to Franzen at the right side of the crease for a shot past Philadelphia goalie Sergei Bobrovsky.

The Red Wings had opened the game’s scoring at 7:08 of the first period when Niklas Kronwall fired a one-timer from the blue line through a Todd Bertuzzi screen and past Bobrovsky while on a power play.

Brayden Schenn tied things up with 3:18 left in the period. Detroit goalie Joey MacDonald went behind the net to play the puck and whiffed on it, then hesitated before getting back into his crease. Daniel Briere grabbed the loose puck and sent it out to Schenn, who was wide open to put it into the empty net.

Schenn gave the Flyers their first lead at 5:22 of the second period, lifting the rebound of a Brayden Coburn chance past MacDonald after the Detroit netminder had made the initial save and tried to poke the loose puck clear.

Datsyuk evened things up 3:05 later, rifling a shot from the left side of the slot past Bobrovsky off a feed from Franzen, the Red Wings’ second power play goal of the night.

Maxime Talbot put the Flyers back out in front with 3:41 left in the second, tipping a shot-pass from Scott Hartnell past MacDonald from just outside the crease.

Zetterberg rallied Detroit once more with 1:39 remaining, slapping a shot from the high slot into the back of the net to make it 3-3.

The Flyers did not score on their two power plays while the Red Wings’ two power play goals came on five tries with the extra attacker, including one in the game’s final minutes with Bobrovsky on the Philadelphia bench for an extra skater.

Bobrovsky stopped 21 of the 25 shots he faced on the night. MacDonald stopped 26 of 29 for his third consecutive win.

The Red Wings will get their chance to break the record when they host the Dallas Stars on Tuesday.

Detroit remained without forward Danny Cleary, who is expected to return to the lineup no sooner than Friday against the Nashville Predators… Goaltender Jimmy Howard also hopes to return against Nashville… Defenseman Mike Commodore was the team’s only healthy scratch.

Postgame: Flyers @ Red Wings – 2/12

Obviously the big thing about the Red Wings’ win tonight over the Flyers is that they’ve now tied the NHL record for longest home winning streak at twenty games. It’s a remarkable run but we’re going to see a lot of debate about how legit it is, given that they had three shootout wins and an additional overtime win in the run.

When the 1929-30 Boston Bruins set the record, they didn’t have the benefit of a shootout and played ten-minute overtime periods without sudden death. The 1979 Philadelphia team that tied that mark played only sixty-minute games with no overtime. As such, games that would have been ties for either of those teams were wins for the Red Wings, keeping their streak alive.

I agree with that argument. We’re comparing apples and oranges here. I also think it doesn’t matter.

Any time you compare records from different eras, you end up with cases where what the two teams had to do don’t always match up. Should only the Flyers’ share of the record count because they had no overtime wins? Should only the Bruins’ because they had harder travel, having to take trains during a grueling season rather than being able to fly straight to their destination? Should Detroit’s count more because they put together the team that did it under a salary cap?

They’re all twenty games, that’s all that matters ’cause we can find any number of reasons for every record to have an asterisk if we try hard enough.

Things I Liked
Scoring by Henrik Zetterberg, Pavel Datsyuk and Johan Franzen? More of that, please. Great to see so many of the Wings’ elite forwards getting on the board at once.

Detroit’s puck possession was stellar all night.

Jonathan Ericsson made some big defensive plays, including one on Wayne Simmonds on a breakaway in the third period. Simmonds was offside by about a mile and it wasn’t called but Ericsson did a good job of getting to him.

Joey MacDonald continued to look really good… As long as he was in the crease.

Things I Didn’t Like
Joey MacDonald had two pretty bad giveaways. The first Philly goal came when he went behind the net and bobbled the puck, then hesitated on getting back in position. The second came when he attempted to poke the puck away and put it right on a Flyer’s stick. Ugly.