DETROIT – The Red Wings are a win away from doing something no other NHL team has accomplished in 30 years.
With 49 wins already, the earliest the Wings can reach the 50-win plateau for the fourth straight season is Friday at home against the New York Islanders.
The Montreal Canadiens are the last team to string together four 50-plus win seasons, achieving the feat between 1975-76 and 1978-79. In that time, the Canadiens won the Stanley Cup four times.
The Boston Bruins were the first NHL team to compile four straight 50-win seasons, doing so from 1970-71 to 1973-74. During that span, the Bruins managed to win the Cup once, defeating the New York Rangers in the 1972 Cup finals.
Since Mike Babcock took over as the Wings’ head coach prior to the 2005-06 season, Detroit has compiled an amazing 211-72-37 record – that’s an impressive .717 winning percentage. They won the Presidents’ Trophy twice and certainly remain in contention for the league’s overall points race against this season, which would give them their seventh President's crown since 1994-95.
Prior to Tuesday's action, the Wings' magic number for clinching their eighth straight Central Division crown was down to five. Any combination of Wings' points and points lost by Chicago, will give the Wings their 12th division title in the last 15 seasons. If the Wings win both road games this season, the Blackhawks will not have enough games to catch up in the standings.
Last season, the Wings posted their fifth 50-win campaign in franchise history, finishing with a 54-21-7 record, which was good for 115 points. In 2005-06, the Wings finished 58-16-8 (124 points) and in 2006-07 they posted a 50-19-13 (113 points) mark.
Last spring marked only the fourth time in NHL history that a team won 50 or more games in three consecutive seasons. It was the first time that an NHL coach has guided his team to three-straight 50-win campaigns in his first three seasons with a team.
Since their team streak began, the Wings also set a league mark for most consecutive road wins when they rattled off 12 straight away from Joe Louis Arena during the 2005-06 season.