Skip to Main Content
The Official Site of the Detroit Red Wings

Twenty-five moments for 25 years of Hockeytown

On the 25th anniversary of the Hockeytown branding launch, we count down the top 25 Red Wings moments since then

by Ethan Sears @ethan_sears /

Twenty-five years ago last Saturday - October 9, 1996 - the Detroit Red Wings officially launched their Hockeytown campaign.

In the run-up to that day, the Red Wings had alerted media by sending a package with five items, all of them with the phrase "Hockeytown" superimposed over the Winged Wheel logo. The Red Wings started that season on the road, and beat the Vancouver Canucks, 5-3, on Oct. 9 to move to 2-1 on that season.

But at their home opener four days later, the Red Wings officially kicked off the Hockeytown campaign with a 9-0 win over the Edmonton Oilers.

You probably know much of the history from there: Four Stanley Cup titles, an unprecedented playoff streak and a fan base that has lived up to the Hockeytown moniker in every way.

Starting with the run-up to the campaign, here are 25 top moments of the Hockeytown era, in chronological order:


1. Oct. 27, 1995: Russian Five line debuts against Calgary

Prior to the 1995-96 season, the Red Wings completed the Russian Five unit by trading for Igor Larionov. And early in the year, head coach Scotty Bowman decided that the five Russians - Larionov, Sergei Fedorov, Slava Kozlov, Vladimir Konstantinov and Slava Fetisov - would function best as one unit.

It took all of two shifts for them to score, with Kozlov doing the honors and Fedorov and Konstantinov assisting against the Calgary Flames. The Russian Five were involved in another goal that game, which the Red Wings won, 3-0, on their way to a 62-13-7 record.

Video: Scotty Bowman skates five Russians, first time ever


2. Dec. 2, 1995: Red Wings beat Montreal, 11-1, at the Forum, Patrick Roy demands a trade

Though the Colorado Avalanche weren't involved in this game, it functions as a prelude to the rivalry. Playing at the famed Montreal Forum, the Red Wings put forth one of the most incredible scoring efforts in history, scoring 11 goals, nine of them on Patrick Roy. It was the worst defeat in franchise history for the Canadiens.

As legend goes, Roy demanded to be traded from the Canadiens mid-game, leading him to be dealt to the Avalanche. From there, the rest is history.

Watch: Youtube Video


3. May 16, 1996: Yzerman's series-winner against St. Louis

With no score early in the second overtime of Game 7 in the second round of the 1996 Playoffs against the St. Louis Blues, Steve Yzerman let loose a slap shot nearly from the blue line.

The result was a highlight that will be played in Detroit forever. Goaltender Jon Casey caught out of position. The puck rippling the back of the net. The Red Wings tumbling onto the ice, crushing Yzerman in a heap of joy.

Game over, series over.

Video: Joe Moment: Yzerman scores double OT game winner


4. Dec. 26 1996: Fedorov scores all five goals in 5-4 win over Caps

It's rare that the day after Christmas is particularly memorable. But Sergei Fedorov made it so for the Red Wings.

Fedorov scored all five goals for the Red Wings, becoming the first player in NHL history to score all the goals for his team in a game where at least five are scored, in a 5-4 win over Washington. Two of them came in the third period to tie the game, with the fifth and final goal being at 2:39 of overtime to win the game.

After Fedorov, it would take 11 years before another player scored five times in a game, with Marian Gaborik doing so in 2007 for the Minnesota Wild.

Video: Joe Moment: Fedorov scores five goals in one game


5. Feb. 8, 1997: Scotty Bowman notches 1,000th win as NHL coach

The most stunning thing about Bowman's 1,000th win may not be that no other coach has equaled that milestone, but that he went on to win three Stanley Cups and 248 games after hitting it.

Bowman, who won six Stanley Cups with the Canadiens and Pittsburgh Penguins before coming to Detroit, is widely regarded as one of the greatest coaches in the history of the sport. In a nutshell, that's why.

His 1,000th win - a 6-5 overtime thriller - was cemented with a game-tying goal from Darren McCarty and the overtime winner from Brendan Shanahan. That it came in Pittsburgh, where he coached just a few years earlier, was all the more fitting.

Watch: Youtube Video


6. March 26, 1997: Red Wings and Avalanche brawl at Joe Louis Arena

Following a playoff series the previous year wherein Kris Draper's jaw had been shattered by Claude Lemieux, tensions were high between Detroit and Colorado. Things finally hit a boiling point that night at Joe Louis Arena.

There were nine different fights in the game, the biggest starting with Larionov and Peter Forsberg. McCarty then got into it with Lemieux, landing punch after punch to avenge Draper. Roy proceeded to skate out of his goal, where he was met by Shanahan, who decked the goaltender.

There were more fights throughout the game, which ended tied at five after regulation. In overtime, McCarty played the hero, scoring the game-winner and sending the Joe Louis Arena crowd home happy.

Video: Joe Moment: Red Wings and Avalanche brawl at The Joe


7. May 17, 1997: Yzerman scores off Roy's back

After losing the first game of the Western Conference Finals against the Avalanche, the Red Wings needed a spark. They got one from their captain.

With the game tied 2-2 late in the third period, Yzerman skated the puck into the offensive zone to Roy's right. He saw an angle on net - by putting the puck off the goaltender's back. So he did just that, giving the Red Wings the lead. They went on to win the game, 4-2.

Watch: Youtube Video


8. May 26, 1997: Red Wings get past Avalanche on their way to Stanley Cup Final

The rivalry with the Avalanche was one of the most intense in hockey history. When the Red Wings finally got past Colorado - a year after Lemieux had taken out Draper, just a couple months after the brawl at Joe Louis Arena - it was a breakthrough that helped vault them to a championship.

After the Avalanche staved off elimination with a blowout win in Game 5, the clincher would feature little in the way of dramatics. The Red Wings went up by two in the third after a Fedorov goal. After Colorado scored to cut the deficit to one, an empty-net goal put an end to any comeback hopes.

Video: Joe Moment: Wings advance to the Stanley Cup Final


9. June 7, 1997: McCarty game-winner

McCarty was never known for being a scorer. The Grind Line member scored 19 goals during the 1996-97 regular season, but much of his contribution came through the toughness and physicality that his line brought to the Red Wings.

In Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final against the Philadelphia Flyers, though, McCarty didn't let his opportunity go to waste. With a one-on-one breakaway in the second period, McCarty skated the puck through a defender and shot it past Ron Hextall.

That goal put the Red Wings up, 2-0, and went on to become the game-winner in a 2-1 victory.

Video: Joe Moment: McCarty scores Stanley Cup Game 4 winner


10. June 7, 1997: Red Wings win title to break drought

Going into the 1996-97 season, it had been over 40 years since the Red Wings last won the Stanley Cup in 1955. Though they were no longer jokingly referred to as the Dead Wings, a Cup Final loss at the hands of the New Jersey Devils in 1996 had demoralized the team and the fan base, which wondered if it would ever win that elusive title.

A year later, those questions evaporated as Yzerman skated circles around Joe Louis Arena with the Stanley Cup in tow. The Red Wings had proven wrong all the doubters - about their toughness, about their ability to win, about whether their European players cared enough to win in the postseason - and kickstarted a dynasty.

Video: Joe Moment: Wings beat Flyers for 1997 Stanley Cup


11. April 1, 1998: Osgood, Roy fight

The Red Wings-Avalanche rivalry didn't end in 1997. The next year, Roy would get into it again with the Red Wings, this time with goaltender Chris Osgood.

With a different fight going on between the two teams, Roy and Osgood jumped into the fray, throwing punches near center ice. Though Roy got in a few good licks, Osgood won out, tackling the Colorado goaltender to the ice before the two were broken up.

Video: Joe Moment: Osgood battles Roy in Fight Night Part 2


12. May 12, 1998: Shanahan's double-OT winner in St. Louis

When Al MacInnis tied the game for the St. Louis Blues with 54.4 seconds to go in regulation upon his return from injury, it looked like the Blues were getting set for a memorable win of their own.

But Shanahan ended those hopes with an overtime winner past Blues goalie Grant Fuhr, quieting a sellout crowd after Larionov's backhand assist to give home-ice advantage back to the Red Wings in a series they would go on to win.

Watch: Youtube Video


13. June 11, 1998: Wings come back, Draper wins it in OT

Going into the third period, the Capitals held a two-goal lead and looked set to tie the series at one. Even when Yzerman cut the deficit to 3-2, the Capitals scored again to make it 4-2. It took two more goals - from Martin Lapointe and Doug Brown - to extend the game beyond regulation.

In overtime, Draper was the hero, scoring at 15:24 with assists from Lapointe and Shanahan.

Video: Joe Moment: Draper nets Stanley Cup Game 2 winner


14. June 16, 1998: Konstantinov celebrates with the Cup

Throughout the 1997-98 season, the Red Wings' goal had been to win the Stanley Cup in honor of Konstantinov and Sergei Mnastakanov, two members of the organization who suffered life-threatening injuries in a limousine accident while celebrating the Red Wings' title the year prior.

The crash ended Konstantinov's hockey career and Mnastakanov's work as the Red Wings' masseuse, as the injuries to both were permanent and life-altering. But when the Red Wings lifted the Stanley Cup after beating the Capitals, Konstantinov was in the building, making his way onto the ice in a wheelchair to celebrate with the Cup in a tear-jerking moment.

Video: 1998 Cup Final, Gm4: Honoring Vladimir Konstantinov


15. April 21, 2002: : Lidstrom scores from center ice, Wings go on to win next four games

In Game 3 of the first round of the 2002 Playoffs, the Red Wings were on their heels. Detroit had dropped the first two games of the series against the eighth-seeded Canucks at Joe Louis Arena, and things were tense.

As time wound down in the second period, Nicklas Lidstrom delivered a slap shot from center ice. Somehow, it found its way past Canucks goaltender Dan Cloutier, putting the Red Wings up, 2-1, in the game. From there, the Canucks didn't give Detroit any trouble - the Red Wings didn't lose again in the series on their way to a Stanley Cup title.

Watch: Youtube Video


16. May 22, 2002: Olausson's game-winner

After dropping Game 2 of the conference finals to the Avalanche in overtime, the Red Wings required some late heroics of their own to gain back home-ice advantage.

Down 1-0 in the third period, Luc Robitaille tied the game at 5:20. Then in overtime, Fredrik Olausson sent a slap shot from the high slot past Roy, ending another chapter in the rivalry with a Red Wings win.

Watch: Youtube Video


17. May 31, 2002: Wings blow out Colorado on their way to the Cup

After so many tense moments over the years between the Red Wings and Avalanche, this one was almost anticlimactic. The Red Wings had been down, 3-2, in the series going to Colorado for Game 6, but squeezed out a 2-0 win.

Back in Detroit for Game 7, they would inflict a blowout from the outset, scoring four first-period goals on their way to a 7-0 rout - a show of dominance on the way to a Stanley Cup title.

Video: Joe Moment: Wings shut out Avalanche in playoffs


18. June 8, 2002: Larionov wins it in triple overtime

After splitting the first two games of the Stanley Cup Final with the Carolina Hurricanes, it felt like Game 3 would be where the series swung. As it went on into a third overtime, tension ratcheted up.

With just over five minutes to go, Larionov finally netted the winner, skating past the face of the net and putting a backhand shot past Arturs Irbe. Indeed, the series swung there - the Red Wings won the next two games to clinch the Cup.

Video: Retro Recap: Wings win 3OT Cup Classic


19. June 13, 2002: Red Wings win their third Cup of Hockeytown era

Of the Red Wings' four Stanley Cup runs during the Hockeytown era, the 2002 win over the Hurricanes may qualify as the most forgotten series, as it was in many ways the most straightforward. That did not make it in any way less satisfying.

In what would become Bowman's final game coaching the Red Wings, there was little in doubt. Playing with the Cup on the line at Joe Louis Arena, the Red Wings jumped out to an early lead, with Shanahan scoring an empty net goal to make it, 3-1, and clinch the series in five games.

It was the Red Wings' third Cup in six years, putting a bow on one of the greatest teams ever.

Video: Joe Moment: Wings win third Stanley Cup in six years


20. April 18-May 12, 2008: Osgood wins nine straight playoff games to propel Red Wings to Cup

It took a bold stroke from Mike Babcock to get things back on track when the Red Wings dropped two straight first-round games in Nashville to the lower-seeded Predators to begin the 2008 Playoffs. Going into Game 5, he replaced goaltender Dominik Hasek with Osgood.

That swung the momentum - in both the series and the postseason at large. Osgood went on to win nine straight games, propelling the Red Wings past the Predators, Avalanche and to a 3-0 lead in the conference finals against the Dallas Stars before he finally lost a game. With Osgood in net, the Red Wings went on to win their fourth Stanley Cup of the Hockeytown era.

Watch: Youtube Video


21. June 4, 2008: Wings beat Penguins to win Cup

After the Penguins extended the 2008 Stanley Cup Final with a triple-overtime winner in Game 5, the Red Wings had another chance to close it out in Game 6. They wouldn't let it go to waste.

Detroit took a 2-0 lead in the second period, with Henrik Zetterberg scoring a third goal to make it 3-1 in the third. Though the Penguins ultimately got within one, frantic defense from the Red Wings in the final seconds would stop them from tying the game, and they would celebrate with Lord Stanley's Cup that night in Pittsburgh.

Video: Wings beat Pens for their 11th Stanley Cup


22. May 14, 2009: Dan Cleary's third-period goal beats Anaheim in Game 7

It was all to play for in the second round of the 2009 Playoffs between the Red Wings and Anaheim Ducks. Game 7 of the series was tied at three with just over three minutes to go in regulation when Zetterberg took the puck into the right corner. He found Cleary in front of the net, who pushed the puck past Jonas Hiller.

As the puck went into the net, Cleary raised his arms and fell onto his back, basking in the roar of the crowd. The Red Wings went on to win the game, 4-3, and the series with it.

Watch: Youtube Video


23. May 27, 2009: Helm's OT goal sends Wings to Cup

This time, it was Darren Helm's turn to play hero.

With a trip back to the Stanley Cup Final on the line in overtime, Helm found the puck on his stick after a rebound in front of the net, with goaltender Cristobal Huet turned the other way. Helm put it home, then the celebration began.

Video: Joe Moment: Helm nets overtime game-winning goal


24. May 12, 2013: Wings upset Ducks in 7

By 2013, the Red Wings were no longer the heavyweight that won the 2008 title and made it back to the Cup Final in 2009. They came into their first-round series as underdogs against the Ducks, pushing them to seven games after Zetterberg scored an overtime winner in Game 6 of the series.

Playing in Anaheim, the Red Wings' experience would ultimately win out. Detroit went up in the first two minutes on a Zetterberg goal and never conceded the lead. The Ducks got within one in the waning minutes on a Francois Beauchemin power-play goal, but couldn't tie it up, and the Red Wings won the series.

Watch: Youtube Video


25. April 9, 2017: Wings win last game at The Joe, 4-1

For almost 40 years and four championship runs, the Red Wings called Joe Louis Arena home.

When they finally said goodbye with a 4-1 win over the Devils to cap the 2016-17 season, it was the end of an era. The Red Wings would make the move downtown to the new, state-of-the-art Little Caesars Arena to begin the 2017-18 season, but Joe Louis Arena will always hold a special place in the heart of Detroit.

Video: NJD@DET: Red Wings play final game at Joe Louis Arena

View More