Pekka Rinne, who has been impressed by the Red Wings' home winning streak, hopes the Predators can put a stop to it Friday night. (Photo by Getty Images)
While most of the Red Wings have taken their new NHL record in stride, opposing players and coaches have marveled at what the league’s best team has accomplished.
The Wings re-wrote the record book, surpassing a 36-year-old mark for most consecutive home victories when they defeated the Dallas Stars earlier this week, marking their 21st straight win.
Detroit hasn’t lost at home since dropping a 4-1 decision to Calgary on Nov. 3.
“I think it's truly amazing. Anytime a record's broken, or tied, or even in the same characteristic of any other record, it's special,” Stars forward Steve Ott said. “I think if you talk to Wayne Gretzky about Sam Gagner (eight-point game) and he'd tell you it's pretty amazing in this age. The players are a lot similar. The teams are a lot similar. That parity, it's so much closer than it was back in the 80s or the 70s, or even the 90s for that fact.”
Detroit has now gone 107 days without losing a game on home ice, outscoring opponents, 86-31. The Wings go for win No. 22 tonight when they host the Nashville Predators, who are currently the sixth seed in the Western Conference standings.
“I think it's one of the great records in the game,” Preds coach Barry Trotz said. “There isn't a team in this league that you can just say, ‘Hey play.’ There’s so many good goaltenders that can steal games. There's so many things that can happen. You've got travel. In the Western Conference, travel can beat you up. They've done it, and all the credit to them.”
Nashville is 13-2-2 versus its four Central Division foes – Detroit, Chicago, St. Louis and Columbus. The Predators will try to prevent from becoming the sixth team to lose more than once to the Wings during their winning streak.
Detroit defeated the Predators, 4-1 on Nov. 26. the last time they were in town.
“I don't think we can stress that too much,” Nashville goalie Pekka Rinne said. “It's just a fact that everyone realizes and is in the back of our minds. But once the game starts, you're not going to think about those kinds of things. It's just another battle for another two points.”
The Wings’ record was first established by the Boston Bruins at the end of the 1929-30 season. Forty-six years later, the Philadelphia Flyers equaled the mark by winning the last 20 games of the 1975-76 campaign.
But Trotz is quick to point out that the Wings established the new mark in a far different fashion than the Flyers.
“Home ice isn't as big as an advantage as it was in the 70s, when you had to fight your way out of the rinks in Philadelphia, or somewhere like that, where you were just trying to get out of there alive,” Trotz said. “I think it's less intimidating that it was in the past. That's why I think it's more impressive of a record, because building aren't intimidating like they used to be.”
Hasn't the Predators' coach heard the playoff atmosphere inside Joe Louis Arena?