Hull-oween, ‘Slap Shot’ and a Dead Wings revival: Detroit Red Wings’ Halloween road woes

Detroit Free Press

Does Buffalo’s KeyBank Arena even have a doorbell to ring?

That’s the question as the Detroit Red Wings go trick-or-treating … er, drop the puck with the Buffalo Sabres on Monday night. The visit to western New York will be the franchise’s 12th time playing on the road on Halloween; the Wings are 4-4-3 all-time as visitors on the holiday. (They’re 8-3-1 when hosting on Halloween; maybe it is better to give than receive, even if we’re just talking fun-size candy bars.)

The game on All Hallows’ Eve will be the Wings’ first on the road for the haunted holiday since 2015, though. Here’s how they fared in the previous 11:

1959: Wings 2, Canadiens 2

As you might expect for a 1950s tilt in Montreal, it was a big night for future Hockey Hall of Famers: Wings forwards Alex Delvecchio and Norm Ullman and Habs forwards Dickie Moore and Maurice Richard all had a goal and an assist. The Rocket’s game-tying goal came with about 9½ minutes remaining in the third period, back in the days before overtime (or shootouts). Oh, and Detroit’s Terry Sawchuk and Montreal’s Jacques Plante stopped 91.3% and 93.9% of the shots they faced in net, respectively. (Meanwhile, the Pistons fared little better in Philadelphia, as Basketball Hall of Famer Wilt Chamberlain dropped 36 points and 34 rebounds on them in a 120-112 Warriors victory.)

MEMORIES:Red Wings’ 1997, ’98 Stanley Cup celebrations heavy on nostalgia, light on Russians

1976: Wings 6, Rangers 5

In the midst of the “Dead Wings” era, the Wings showed some life, with three goals in less than two minutes in the first period. Then again, they were still the Dead Wings, so they lost that 3-0 lead just 10 minutes into the second. (The “Dead Wings Moment of the Night”: Defenseman Rick Lapointe attempting to grab a centering pass in his own zone, only to bat it past goalie Ed Giocomin for the Rangers’ first goal, despite no Rangers being within 10 feet of the net.) Another two-goal lead, built 72 seconds apart toward the end of that period, evaporated in the final five minutes as future Hall of Famer Rod Gilbert tied it up for New York with 37 seconds remaining. But J.P. LeBlanc gave the Wings the win 17 seconds after that with his second score of the game and the season. (He scored just five more times the rest of the year.)

1981: North Stars 5, Wings 4

The game featured a goal by one of the players the fabled “Hanson Brothers” from the movie “Slap Shot” were based on — Jack Carlson, whose brothers Steve and Jeff played two of the trio in the movie, scored host Minnesota’s fourth goal. But it was the setup for the game-winner, scored by Minnesota’s Bobby Smith with 91 seconds remaining, and the finish that most resembled a scene from the movie: Wings forward Mike Foligno (who already had a goal and an assist) was whistled for tripping with 1:56 remaining, incensing the Wings, who argued Foligno had merely accidentally collided with the North Stars’ Neal Broten. After the game, Foligno and teammate Mark Osborne (who scored the Wings’ second goal) let the ref who called the penalty have it, breaking their sticks and launching them across the ice. Teammate Walt McKechnie, meanwhile, literally shouted till he was red in the face. The Wings’ coach, Wayne Maxner, was terse in his disappointment: “It’s frustrating. The guys worked their butts off.”

1985: Wings 2, Devils 2

“Devil’s Night” ended up going to neither the Devils nor the Wings, as the two teams that would combine for 106 losses during the 1985-86 season played like it, with an identical two goals scored on 26 shots taken in front of 7,551 fans in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The Devils got a moral victory in scoring the equalizer with just 28 seconds left and then stopping Wings rookie Gerard Gallant, who had already scored once, in the final seconds. The Wings got a moral victory, as general manager Jimmy Devellano told the Freep, “I’m happy that we’ve strung a win and a tie together. It’s a start.” That’s not to say there were no winners: The Devils’ costume content went to, as the game story put it, “either a large woman dressed as a blind referee or a blind referee impersonating a large woman.”

1987: Wings 3, Blues 3

The Wings’ visit to St. Louis Arena got off to a grisly start as a Gilbert Delorme slapshot hit Blues defenseman Charlie Bourgeois in the face in the first minute, dropping him to the ice. He skated off under his own power, with a broken jaw, but not before leaving a pool of blood on the ice. The Wings built a two-goal lead in the second period, but St. Louis’ Doug Gilmour, a future Hall of Famer, was too much to handle; he scored the Blues’ first goal (on a first-period power play off a holding call on Delorme) and then the equalizer just under eight minutes into the third period.

LAST TIME OUT:Lucas Raymond’s big night lifts Red Wings to 2-1 win over Minnesota Wild

1992: Maple Leafs 3, Red Wings 1

Just 24 hours after decimating the Leafs, 7-1, at Joe Louis Arena, the Wings were stumped at Toronto’s Maple Leaf Gardens in a game that turned physical even without enforcer Bob Probert, who was barred from traveling to Canada. Wings forward Shawn Burr thought the refs were perhaps a little lenient — “I thought we went back to the old rules. There was a lot of holding and high-sticking they didn’t call.” — despite a flurry of penalties in the second period; the Wings and Leafs combined for 38 penalty minutes (including a game misconduct for Keith Primeau) between the intermissions. Then again, Burr had a simpler excuse for the Wings’ reversal of fortunes: “We played more worse than they played more better.”

1998: Stars 3, Wings 2

Halloween is a time to try out new looks, and so of course, noted offense-first right wing Brett Hull dressed up as … a left wing? OK, so maybe the details weren’t that different, especially as Hull, the Stars’ big addition after losing to the Wings in six games in the Western Conference finals the previous summer, still connected on two goals, including the game-winner with six minutes left, thanks to a sweet feed from Livonia’s Mike Modano, the Stars’ captain: “He has a very distinctive voice on the ice and I got it to him,” Modano said. “He’s a big-game player, that’s why he’s here.” Call it “Hull-oween”: The three-year deal paid off for the Stars, who went on to dethrone the Wings in the West and then win the Stanley Cup, with Hull scoring the winning goal.

2000: Capitals 6, Wings 2

Forget “trick or treat,” for the Caps’ Richard Zednik it was “Hat trick, a treat!” The Czech forward scored three goals — one in each period — as Wings goalie Chris Osgood was bombarded with 35 shots at the then-MCI Center. The blowout was doubly surprising considering the Caps had just one win in their first 11 games of the season; coach Scotty Bowman was blunt in his assessment, saying, “I wouldn’t want to be the owner tonight, signing those checks.” Osgood, perhaps smarting from his busy night, was even more blunt: “We were terrible —  there’s no other way to put it,” Osgood said. “We were dominated.”

2001: Wings 4, Stars 3 (OT)

Call it “Hull-oween, Part II”: Three years after he haunted the Wings on Halloween as a member of the Stars, Hull brought out the boos in Dallas — this time wearing the Winged Wheel. Hull ended his first game against his former team with a goal past his old teammate, Ed Belfour, 48 seconds into the extra period. The two teams combined for six goals — including one by Hull — in the first 16:05, then went scoreless for nearly 45 minutes of ice time. Finally, Hull scorched a shot though Belfour’s legs on a three-on-one breakaway for a taste of revenge on the franchise that offered him a mere one-year deal and a smile on his face: “I’d be lying — and you’d know I’d be lying — if I said it didn’t,” Hull said.

2009: Wings 3, Flames 1

Someone celebrating the holiday at the Saddledome probably went to the bathroom and missed virtually all of the offense in this one: The Flames broke through on Osgood 14:43 into the second period, but Wings defenseman Brad Stuart tied it up from the point 35 seconds later. Just 59 seconds after that, Pavel Datsyuk lifted Calgary defenseman Curtis Glencross’s stick to steal the puck and fed Tomas Holmstrom for the eventual winner. The play drew high praise from his teammates, including Todd Bertuzzi: “You know what? I’m a huge fan of his,” Bertuzzi said. “I’m not too sure I’ll watch hockey when I’m done, but that’s one guy I’d actually pay for a ticket to come watch.”

2015: Wings 5, Senators 3

The Wings were the visitors at Canadian Tire Centre, but it was forward Henrik Zetterberg who handed out the treats: his assists on the Wings first two goals (power play scores by Tomas Tatar and Gustav Nyquist, respectively) left the Wings captain as the seventh player in franchise history with 500 assists and 800 career points. Not that you’d know it from Zetterberg’s reaction after the game: “It was nice to get a win,” Zetterberg said. “We played overall a good game. Spent a little bit more in their end, power play got two. It was a good night.” Coach Jeff Blashill was a little more cognizant of the achievement: “Good for him. … He has had a great career, and he’s got lots of career left in him, but it is a good milestone.”

Articles You May Like

Red Wings News & Rumors: Kane, Trade Market, Prospects & More
Griffins Notebook: Kasper, Mazur, Danielson & More
Detroit Red Wings: Contract Projections for 2024 RFAs
4 Red Wings Trade Targets This Offseason

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *