Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Wings' Streak One for the Books

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Wings' Streak One for the Books

Article excerpt

DETROIT -- "Twenty-one! Twenty-one!"

There was snow on the ground and empty streets throughout Detroit. Tuesday night in February is a hard sell for any business.

"Twenty-one! Twenty-one!"

But inside Joe Louis Arena, it was buzzing like a summer weekend, a team, a sport and a crowd on fire, alive with the unique jolt of making history while being aware of it.

"Twenty-one! Twenty-one!"

The anthem was sung, the puck was dropped, and before you knew it, Nicklas Lidstrom, the Red Wings' captain, got it to Pavel Datsyuk, the alternate captain, who flicked it to Henrik Zetterberg, the other alternate captain (talk about your stars aligning!), who banged it past the Dallas goalie and straight into the record books.

A couple goals and a few hours later, it all became official. The scoreboard read 3-1, Wings over Stars, but the real score was being hollered into history -- "Twenty-one! Twenty-one!" -- because no matter what comes next, the 2011-12 Red Wings now own the longest single-season home winning streak since the NHL began keeping score.

Twenty-one straight. What started Nov. 5 continued unbroken Feb. 14, and there are few things in life you can say that about, except maybe breathing. It didn't matter what happened Friday night when the Red Wings sought to make it 22 in a row vs. Nashville.

"Tying the record was really cool," Zetterberg said in the victorious locker room, "but breaking it was even better."

Forever 21.

A long, long time ago

"Do you have any recollection what you were doing Nov. 5?" Zetterberg was asked.

"None, nothing, I have no clue," he said.

How far back does this thing go? That's how far. Nov. 3, the last time the Red Wings lost at home? Weren't we still eating our Halloween candy? We hadn't changed clocks for daylight savings. Herman Cain was still leading in Republican polls. Nov. 3?

To win, from then until now, 21 straight at home -- while traversing some of the middle dog days of the season -- is worthy of huge attention. It is hard for veteran teams to get excited about Mondays in January or Tuesdays in February. A slip seems inevitable, even on home ice. Fatigue. Injuries. …

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