WESTERN CONFERENCE SERIES STORYLINES
DETROIT RED WINGS (1) vs. DALLAS STARS (5)
It's Been A While: It has been 10 years since the Stars and Red Wings last met in a playoff series, with the Red Wings capturing the 1998 Western Conference Final series in six games. Mike Modano, Sergei Zubov and Jere Lehtinen remain from that Stars team; Tomas Holmstrom, Nicklas Lidstrom, Darren McCarty, Kirk Maltby, Kris Draper and Chris Osgood are still with the Red Wings.
Red Wings-Stars I: With a 5-3 win against the Stars on March 13, the Red Wings clinched the Central division crown for a seventh consecutive season and secured their 17th consecutive trip to the Stanley Cup playoffs. Stars coach Dave Tippett after the Stars gave up a 3-1 lead: "When you watch [Henrik] Zetterberg and Datsyuk go out there and dominate the game, that's frustrating. These guys are setting the bar for the Western Conference, so we better raise our bar. We better raise our bar, or we're in trouble."
Red Wings-Stars II: When the Red Wings lost 1-0 to the Stars on Feb. 17, it was their sixth straight loss -- their longest losing streak since January, 1991.
Red Wings-Stars III: The Stars 3-0 loss to the Red Wings on Jan. 5 was their fourth consecutive setback and their longest losing streak since December, 2003. Stars captain Brenden Morrow after the loss: "Losing four in a row makes you feel not so good about yourselves. That was a good hockey team we played today but we didn't push it hard enough to beat them. We didn't win the battles and get to the pucks in the crease."
DETROIT RED WINGS
NHL Playoff Appearance: 56th (17th consecutive)
Stanley Cups: 10 (last SC: 2002)
Last Stanley Cup Final Appearance: 2002
All-Time Playoff Series Record: 60-45
All-Time Playoff Game Record: 277-250-1
How They Got Here: Defeated the Nashville Predators, 4-2, in the Conference Quarter-Finals; defeated the Colorado Avalanche, 4-0, in the Conference Semifinal.
Nov. 27/07 -- Nicklas Lidstrom becomes the 72nd player in NHL history to appear in his 1,200th NHL game.
Jan. 8/08 -- Against Colorado, D Chris Chelios becomes the second-oldest player in NHL history, second only to Gordie Howe.
RED WINGS STORYLINES
Repeat After Me: The Red Wings were the last team to win consecutive Stanley Cups, doing so in 1997 and 1998. Six of the players who competed for both champions are playing for the Red Wings in the 2008 playoffs: Kris Draper, Tomas Holmstrom, Nicklas Lidstrom, Kirk Maltby, Darren McCarty and Chris Osgood.
Os-so-good: Detroit G Chris Osgood took over midway through Game 4 of the opening-round conquest of Nashville, stopped 53 of 54 shots he faced, and ran his 2008 playoff record to 6-0 in the sweep of Colorado. With 44 playoff victories, Osgood is within three of matching the Red Wings record for goaltenders held by Terry Sawchuk.
Patience, patience: Three of the most important Red Wings were extremely late draft picks -- LW Tomas Holmstrom was #257 in 1994, C Pavel Datsyuk was #171 in 1998 and LW Henrik Zetterberg was #210 in 1999.
More patience: Compared to Holmstrom, Datsyuk and Zetterberg, Johan Franzen, who has scored 11 goals to set a Red Wings record for one playoff season, was an "early" pick -- #97 overall in 2004. (Brett Hull, who now shares the Dallas GM duties with Les Jackson, earned a share of the previous Red Wings playoff goal record with 10 in 2002. Hull collected his total across 23 games; Franzen scored his in 10 games).
Young At Heart I: In Game 2 of the Conference Quarter-Final against Nashville, D Chris Chelios set the record for most Stanley Cup Playoff games with his 248th, surpassing the record set by G Patrick Roy. Chelios also has extended his own Stanley Cup record by appearing in his 23rd career playoff season.
Young At Heart II: Chelios, who turned 46 on Jan. 25, passed the late Moe Roberts (45 years, 347 days) to become the oldest U.S.-born player in NHL history and the second-oldest NHL player ever, surpassed only by Gordie Howe (52 years, 6 days). Roberts, a goaltender, made his last NHL appearance was for Chicago -- against the Red Wings -- Nov. 25, 1951; by then he was assistant trainer for the Blackhawks but was pressed back into service (17 seasons after his previous NHL appearance) when Chicago's starting goaltender, Harry Lumley, was injured.
Young At Heart III: Chelios is older than three of the remaining coaches in the 2008 playoffs, including Red Wings coach Mike Babcock. He also predates Pittsburgh's Michel Therrien and Philadelphia's John Stevens . . . Stars Coach Dave Tippett, born August 25, 1961, is five months older than Chelios . . . Chelios played his first game March 8, 1984, or 12 days before teammate Valtteri Filppula was born.
Truly Presidential: Including this season, the Red Wings have won the Presidents’ Trophy six times since it was presented by the Board of Governors to the National Hockey League in 1985-86 to honor the team that finished the regular season with the League’s best record. No other team has won it more than twice.
In The Long Run: This is Detroit's 17th consecutive season in the playoffs – the longest such streak in pro sports. The New York Yankees are second with 13 in a row. This also is the Red Wings' eighth consecutive season of 100 points or more, matching the record the Montreal Canadiens set from 1974-75 to 1981-82.
Offensive Defense: Detroit is the only team in the NHL with three defenseman who scored 30 or more points during the regular season -- Nicklas Lidstrom (10-60--70), Brian Rafalski (13-42--55) and Niklas Kronwall (7-28--35). Lidstrom and Rafalski were the top-scoring defense pair in the NHL.
Last Team To Win The Presidents’ Trophy And The Stanley Cup In The Same Year: The Red Wings, in 2002.
March Madness: Johan Franzen scored 14 goals -- six of them game winners – in March, surpassing the single-month record Gordie Howe shared with Henrik Zetterberg.
Motor (City) Coach: Mike Babcock this season became the first coach in League history to win 50 or more games in his first three seasons with an NHL team. He also steered the Red Wings to the Presidents' Trophy in his first season in Detroit, 2005-06.
Flipping Over Lidstrom: Nicklas Lidstrom has won the Norris Trophy five times in the past six seasons. Only Bobby Orr (8) and Doug Harvey (7) have won it more times.
NHL Playoff Appearance: 29th (5th consecutive)
Stanley Cups: 1 (1999)
All-Time Playoff Series Record: 28-27
All-Time Playoff Game Record: 152-149
How they got here: Defeated Anaheim, 4-2, in Conference Quarter-final; defeated San Jose 4-2 in Conference Semifinal.
Nov. 7/07 -- C Mike Modano scored against San Jose to become the all-time U.S.-born scoring leader (1,233 points).
Nov. 13/07 -- After a 7-7-2 start to the regular-season, the Stars replaced GM Doug Armstrong with co-GMs Brett Hull and Les Jackson.
Jan. 7/08 -- C Mike Ribeiro signed a five-year contract extension. Co-GM Brett Hull on Ribeiro: "He reminds me of myself when I first got to St. Louis. I scored 42 goals, and [coach] Brian Sutter grabbed me for individual meetings, and I was expecting a pat on the back. And instead it was, 'That was nothing, you have so much more to give.' That's the way we're going to treat [Ribeiro]. I really believe the strides he's made from last year to now . . . it's just scratching the surface of what he can be."
Feb. 28/08 -- C Brad Richards (acquired with Johan Holmqvist from Tampa Bay in exchange for Jeff Halpern, Jussi Jokinen, Mike Smith and a fourth-round pick in 2009 on Feb. 26) registered five assists in his debut with the Stars (7-4 win Feb. 28 vs. Chicago) to become the first player in NHL history to record five assists in his first game with a team. The Stars finished with 12 victories in February – a franchise record for a single month.
Richards ties Playoff Record: Stars C Brad Richards tied an NHL playoff record with four points (1-3-4) in the third period at San Jose in Game 2 of the Western Conference Semifinal. Richards tied the mark set 12 times previously. He was the first player to collect four points in a playoff period since New Jersey's Alexander Mogilny had one goal and three assists on Apr. 28, 2001 against Toronto. Dave Gagner was the only other player in franchise history to accomplish the feat, notching four points (2-2-4) in the first period on Apr. 8, 1991 vs. Chicago. The three assists and four points for Richards also set playoff career highs for him in a game.
Turco Time: Including a shutout in the Stars’ opening-round win over Anaheim, G Marty Turco has four shutouts in his past 19 playoff starts. The hot streak dates to the 2007 playoffs, when he posted three in the opening-round series loss against Vancouver. Over his last three playoff series dating back to the Vancouver series, Turco has posted an 11-8 record with a 1.56 goals-against-average and a .938 save percentage.
Turco’s NHL past at Joe Louis Arena: “I think there’s been a lot of talk about my professional issues . . . my lack of success there (0-7-2 his past 10 starts at Joe Louis). But the only thing I have in the back of my mind was to play there in the playoffs and see what happens. I got my wish against a team that’s been dominating in the regular season and playoffs and one that’s going to take every inch of battle from us.”
Turco's Collegiate Past At Joe Louis: 10 years ago, when the Stars and Red Wings last met in the Stanley Cup playoffs, University of Michigan star goaltender Marty Turco was leading his Wolverines to their record ninth NCAA hockey championship -- a 3-2 overtime win over Boston College on April 4, 1998. Six days later, the curtain came down on Turco's outstanding collegiate career at Joe Louis Arena when a team of U.S. collegiate stars, led by Turco, defeated their Canadian counterparts 3-1 on Apr. 10/98.
Morrow's Career Year: LW Brenden Morrow set career highs with 32 goals and 74 points points and equalled his career-best with 42 assists. Morrow on the increased offensive production: "I enjoy doing a lot of other things a lot better than I enjoy sitting in the box nowadays. I have tried to control those things more. You don't want to lose your edge, but at the same time, you can be smart about those things and help your team more."
More Morrow: Morrow leads all playoff performers in hits (66) and, with an average per-game ice time of 23:32, ranks second among all forwards in the 2008 playoffs – trailing only Alex Ovechkin (24:03). Morrow, who was named captain of the Stars on September 15, 2006, has earned the praise of his teammates and coaches with his play in the 2008 playoffs:
Marty Turco on Morrow: “To say he’s a warrior is kind of an understatement at this point. With all he’s gone through, the attention he gets, the physical nature he plays with and the pure intensity. It’s not easy, but it’s something that’s inside him.”
Stephane Robidas on Morrow: “We do not have any quit in us because he (Morrow) does not have any quit in him.”
Coach Dave Tippett on Morrow’s performance in Game 6 overtime vs. San Jose: “Brenden was saying ‘Come on, jump on my back and we’re going.’ Their will and effort is just phenomenal. I know we talked about the games being so close, can you give us 5-10 percent more? Then I look at Brenden and say ‘I’m asking 5-10 more from this guy?’”
Steve Ott on Morrow's performance in San Jose series: “The whole series, he was our first star. He led the charge physically, offensively, demanding every shift of himself and demanding that other players follow him. What he did was an incredible feat.”
40+ wins, again: The Stars have now registered 40 or more wins in the regular season for the 10th time in the past 11 seasons. Only New Jersey (11) has more 40-or-more win seasons since 1996-97.