Anatomy of a record: Detroit’s history-making home winning streak

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Tonight on NBC Sports Network (7:30pm ET), the Detroit Red Wings will host the St. Louis Blues at Joe Louis Arena.

It’s a fairly crucial game for the Wings in terms of Central Division jockeying — they’re just one point up on the Blues for first place — but also in terms of history. Detroit has won 16 straight home games and is now just four away from tying the NHL’s all-time mark of 20.

Let’s take a look at the past and future of the streak.

Looking Back

– The streak began with a 5-0 win over Anaheim on Nov. 5.

— The last time Detroit lost at home, Jay-Z and Beyonce weren’t parents and Kim Jong-il was the supreme leader of North Korea.

— The previous franchise best (14-game winning streak) was set 47 years ago by the famous Detroit team led by Gordie Howe, Norm Ullman, Alex Delvecchio and Roger Crozier.

— It was broken last Monday.

– During the streak, the Wings have scored five goals or more eight times, including a 7-1 romp over Winnipeg, an 8-2 destruction of Los Angeles and a 5-0 whipping of Buffalo.

— The 16-game winning streak is the fourth-longest in NHL history.

— Only the 1929-30 Boston Bruins and 1975-76 Philadelphia Flyers (20 each), and the 1970-71 Bruins (19) had longer ones.

Top Performers

— Jimmy Howard has been the goalie of record for all 16 wins.

— Detroit has seven players in the NHL’s top 20 for home plus/minus: Nicklas Lidstrom (1st, +24), Ian White (3rd, +23), Valtteri Filppula (7th, +19), Johan Franzen (13th, +17), Brad Stuart (16th, +15), Drew Miller (18th, +13) and Jiri Hudler (20th, +13).

— Detroit doesn’t have a minus player at home this year.

— Pavel Datsyuk is second in the NHL for assists at home (21).

Looking ahead

Detroit hosts St. Louis tonight, then heads out on a five-game road trip to Montreal, Calgary, Vancouver, Edmonton and Phoenix. That’s followed by a six-game homestand at the Joe.

— Should the Wings get by the Blues tonight, they’ll have to wait until Feb. 8 (vs. Edmonton) to try for another home win.

— Assuming Detroit keeps winning at home, the projected date for the record-tying 20th victory is Sunday, Feb. 12 versus Philadelphia.

— The potential record-breaking opportunity would come two nights later, Feb. 14, against Dallas.

Should Erik Johnson be suspended for ugly play on Namestnikov?

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Vladislav Namestnikov has been the Mikael Renberg equivalent on the Tampa Bay Lightning’s Legion of Doom with Steven Stamkos and Nikita Kucherov for much of this season, complimenting those two scorers with strong work of his own.

The Lightning were lighting up the Colorado Avalanche on Saturday night, perhaps frustrating Erik Johnson and others. Whatever the explanation might be, it was a pretty ugly sight when Johnson slashed and then boarded Namestnikov, earning those two penalties plus a game misconduct.

Plenty of people believe that supplemental discipline would be merited for Johnson’s actions. For what it’s worth, “Names” did return to action in the third period. We’ve seen instances where players return only to be hurt anyway, so we’ll see if the nifty winger sees any delayed issues.

Johnson, 29, was suspended for two games by the NHL back in 2014, but has a generally clean history otherwise.

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.

Senators blank Canadiens in NHL 100 Classic

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One win, even in the frosty outdoors for the NHL 100 Classic, only means so much.

Still, the Ottawa Senators probably experienced some ice-cold relief on Saturday, beating the Montreal Canadiens 3-0 during a tightly defended outdoor bout.

It was 0-0 for much of the game until Jean-Gabriel Pageau tipped an Erik Karlsson shot for the first goal with about five minutes remaining in the second period. Bobby Ryan then capitalized on a rough Jonathan Drouin turnover to make it 2-0, while an empty-netter iced the icy evening for Ottawa.

For a night, it was a fun time, and Karlsson reminded us what all the fuss is about, as he logged a ridiculous 32:55 of ice time. And he seemed to be having a good time doing it.

This night laid the “Canadian” on thick, with Bryan Adams performing during the event, and Gary Bettman posing for photos with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau?

via Getty

Weird, but OK then.

Generally speaking, things haven’t been that OK for the Senators lately. Such headaches did surface during this frosty-mug-on-ice event, as owner Eugene Melnyk inspired a #Melnykout hashtag on Twitter, not to mention icy barbs like these.

Fair criticisms about the Sens’ bigger picture aside, Ottawa looked nice tonight, with Karlsson shining and Craig Anderson pitching a rare shutout outdoors (shutoutdoors)?

Carey Price generated some nice saves of his own, but couldn’t will Montreal to win in his 10th consecutive start. The Habs rarely got things going against the Senators, seen most easily in Ottawa’s 38-28 advantage in shots on goal.

Nights like these make a bigger impact on fans’ memories and bottom lines, but this marks consecutive wins for the Senators either way. Considering the fact that the Senators hadn’t put back-to-back wins together since they faced the Avalanche in two contests in Sweden, it might not be a big deal, yet it’s far better than the nothing they’ve been coming up with far too often lately.

Also

In other news from the event, Mario Lemieux’s “five goals, five different ways” was named as the NHL’s greatest moment, voted by fans:

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.

Sadly, Capitals aren’t selling this collection of Christmas songs

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Let’s be honest, virtually any time a team gets its players to embrace a holiday theme, it’s in the name of goofiness. And bless NHL teams for this.

When it comes to Movember, you get the fantastic combination of mustaches and charitable contributions.

The holidays are rapidly approaching (hey, I see that Amazon tab open), so we’ll start to see various New Year’s/Christmas/Festivus/etc.-themed fun. Even with that in mind, the Washington Capitals will be tough to top with their collection of Christmas tunes.

Sadly, there’s no Volume 1:

Question: which performance stood out to you the most? While Braden Holtby was fantastic (with a Tomas Plekanec-level turtleneck game), the simple entertainment of watching Alex Ovechkin sing is tough to top.

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.

 

Video: Michael Grabner totally meant to do this for Rangers

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Depending upon how things go for each team, the New York Rangers and Boston Bruins may very well grapple for a wild-card spot in the East.

Thankfully, it won’t come down to Michael Grabner‘s deeply weird, memorable, and fun goal against Tuukka Rask, a “bank” goal that Grabner totally meant to do. Right?

(Watch that goal in the video above this post’s headline.)

That was Grabner’s 16th goal of 2017-18, which isn’t half-bad for a guy carrying a $1.65 million cap hit this season. Prediction: the speedy winger will cost quite a bit more than that in 2018-19.

As you can see in this video, Alain Vigneault points to Grabner gathering steam in his second season with the Rangers as part of the reason this team is turning things around:

J.T. Miller added a beauty of a goal to make it 2-0, but the Bruins dug deep to tie it 2-2, so we’ll see how the rest of that game goes.

Update: The Rangers ended up edging the Bruins 3-2 in overtime thanks to Mats Zuccarello‘s patient, OTPPGWG.

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.