We’re back again with Part Three of our countdown of the Top 25 Red Wings moments at Joe Louis Arena. In case you missed them, be sure and look at Part 1 and Part 2. Let’s go ahead and count all the way down to number one.
15. 1980 NHL ALL-STAR GAME
The 1980 NHL All-Star Game was one of the first notable events to be held at the brand new Joe Louis Arena. It also marked Red Wings legend Gordie Howe’s 23rd and final All-Star game. When he was announced before the contest, the crowd erupted in cheers and gave him a four-minute standing ovation.
14. 1998 WESTERN CONFERENCE FINALS, GAME 4
[Video segment roughly a minute]
The Red Wings held a 2-1 series lead over the Dallas Stars in the 1998 Western Conference Finals when, during a break in Game 4, fallen teammate Vladimir Konstantinov and masseur Sergei Mnatsakanov were shown taking in the game on the scoreboard, resulting in a minutes-long standing ovation from the sellout crowd.
Detroit went on to win the game, 3-2.
13. 2011 WESTERN CONFERENCE SEMIS, GAME 6
The Red Wings found themselves in trouble against the San Jose Sharks. Down three games to none, a late goal by Darren Helm in Game 4 forced a fifth game in San Jose, which Detroit rallied to win.
Joe Louis Arena was silenced when Dany Heatley broke the scoreless tie early in the third period but erupted when two quick goals from Henrik Zetterberg and Valtteri Filppula gave the Red Wings the lead. An empty net goal from Helm sealed the victory, and the roar at the Joe was as loud as it has ever been.
12. 2009 WESTERN CONFERENCE FINALS, GAME 5
The Red Wings and Chicago Blackhawks met in the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time since 1995, and once again, it was for the chance to play for the Stanley Cup. The more experienced Red Wings took three of the four first games from the Blackhawks, setting up a potential series-deciding Game 5 at Joe Louis Arena.
An early third-period goal by Detroit broke the scoreless tie, but Chicago winger Patrick Kane roofed a backhander past Chris Osgood to tie the score late in the 3rd. Overtime followed, and soon, Darren Helm ended the game and the series to send Detroit to their second consecutive Stanley Cup Finals appearance.
11. 1987 NORRIS DIVISION FINALS, GAME 7
The Red Wings had just completed a sweep of Chicago and moved on to the Norris Division Finals against the Toronto Maple Leafs. Toronto jumped out to a 3-1 series lead, but the Red Wings were able to storm back to force the deciding Game 7 at Joe Louis Arena.
Goals from Adam Oates, Steve Yzerman, and Darren Veitch led Detroit to a 3-0 victory, setting up a Conference Finals showdown against the Edmonton Oilers. Glen Hanlon became the second Red Wings goaltender to pitch two shutouts in a playoff series since Terry Sawchuk accomplished the feat in 1952.
10. FEDOROV SCORES FIVE GOALS vs. CAPITALS
Sergei Fedorov had already established himself as one of the premier forwards in the NHL by the time December 26, 1996 rolled around. Detroit hosted the Washington Capitals, and it was essentially the Fedorov Show at the Joe.
He scored all five Detroit goals, including the overtime winner, to become just the second Red Wings player in history to accomplish the feat behind Syd Howe in 1944.
9. ALL FOUR STANLEY CUP BANNER RAISING CEREMONIES
What a special night it must have been on the four separate occasions in 1997, 1998, 2002, and 2008 for those in attendance at the Joe to see the team raise their championship banners to the rafters – and of course, to see a special guest named Stanley.
8. STEVE YZERMAN JERSEY RETIREMENT CEREMONY
January 2, 2007, was a banner night at Joe Louis Arena – literally. Long-time Red Wings captain Steve Yzerman was immortalized into Red Wings history by having his No. 19 jersey raised to the rafters of the Joe, joining Gordie Howe, Alex Delvecchio, Sid Abel, Terry Sawchuk, and Ted Lindsay.
Several former Red Wings players attended the ceremony, which featured Darren Pang as emcee and speeches from Mike Ilitch, Scotty Bowman, and Yzerman himself.
7. 1998 STANLEY CUP FINALS, GAME 2
Following a lackluster 2-1 victory in Game 1 of the 1998 Stanley Cup Finals, the Red Wings entered Game 2 against the Capitals more determined, and it showed with a Steve Yzerman goal midway through the first period. What followed, however, was a roller coaster ride.
The Capitals scored three times in the second period to take a stunning 3-1 lead into the second intermission, setting up a pivotal third period. A short-handed Yzerman goal cut the deficit, but just seconds later Washington re-took the two-goal lead.
Detroit refused to lay down and die, storming back with goals from Martin Lapointe and Doug Brown to tie the score, setting up the opportunity for the only player who had yet to score in the playoffs for Detroit to play hero – Kris Draper.
6. 2002 WESTERN CONFERENCE FINALS, GAME 7
Red Wings. Avalanche. Game 7. Does it really get any better than that?
The two titans met once again in the playoffs in a series for the ages. The Avalanche had taken a 3-2 series lead on a heartbreaking overtime goal by Peter Forsberg in Game 5, setting up an elimination game in Denver. However, a devastating mistake by Patrick Roy gave Detroit an advantage, and they shut down the Avalanche 2-0 on the back of a Dominik Hasek shutout, meaning they’d play a winner-take-all Game 7 in Detroit.
What was expected to be a tight game turned into a blowout almost immediately. Detroit took a stunning 4-0 lead into the 1st intermission en route to a 7-0 whitewashing, and a trip to the Stanley Cup Finals in what is considered to be one of the most stunning Game 7’s in NHL history.
5. 1997 WESTERN CONFERENCE FINALS, GAME 6
The Red Wings entered Game 6 of the Western Conference Finals against the hated Avalanche with a chance to eliminate their rival and advance to the Stanley Cup Finals.
A scoreless first period set the stage for Martin Lapointe to blast a shot past Patrick Roy early in the 2nd period to give Detroit the lead. A third period goal by Sergei Fedorov sent the Joe into a frenzy before Colorado would cut the deficit to 2-1.
Avalanche coach Marc Crawford pulled Roy for the extra attacker, but to no avail. Brendan Shanahan potted the empty-net goal to seal the victory and exacting a final bout of revenge against Colorado for the previous season’s heartbreak.
4. 2002 STANLEY CUP FINALS, GAME 5
The 2001-02 Detroit Red Wings were a team for the ages. Stacked with several future Hall of Famers and led by the winningest coach in NHL history, they rebounded from a stunning Game 1 loss against the Carolina Hurricanes to take a 3-1 series lead, including a thrilling triple-overtime winner in Game 3.
Game 5 followed at Joe Louis Arena with a chance for Detroit to once again hoist Lord Stanley on home ice. Goals from Tomas Holmstrom and Brendan Shanahan gave Detroit a 2-0 advantage before their lead was cut in half, setting up a pivotal third period. Carolina pulled goaltender Arturs Irbe for an extra attacker, but Brendan Shanahan would seal the victory with an empty-net goal.
The Stanley Cup was back in Hockeytown for the third time in six years. It was the first ever championship for off-season acquisitions Dominik Hasek and Luc Robitaille, and the last for Scotty Bowman, who announced his retirement from coaching immediately afterwards.
3. YZERMAN’S DOUBLE OT GAME-WINNER
The 1995-96 Red Wings cruised their way through the regular season, winning a record 62 games and entering the playoffs as the easy favorites to raise the Stanley Cup. Following an opening around series win against the Winnipeg Jets, the Red Wings were pitted against Wayne Gretzky, Brett Hull and the St. Louis Blues.
The teams went back and forth with victories until St. Louis found themselves leading 3-2 with a chance to eliminate Detroit at Kiel Center. The Red Wings ultimately won Game 6, setting up the series-deciding Game 7 at Joe Louis Arena.
Neither team found the back of the net through regulation or in the first overtime. In what became the defining goal of his career, captain Steve Yzerman stole the puck from Gretzky, skated through center ice and launched a slap shot from just inside the blue line that rocketed past goaltender Jon Casey. The goal sent the Joe Louis Arena crowd into a frenzy, and sent the Red Wings to the Western Conference Finals for their infamous match-up with Colorado.
2. 03/26/97 – FIGHT NIGHT AT THE JOE
Arguably the most memorable regular season game in Joe Louis Arena history, the Red Wings exacted revenge against the Avalanche during an all-out brawl that featured Darren McCarty pounding villain Claude Lemieux into submission, Patrick Roy and Mike Vernon fighting at center ice, several other bouts.
The game ended with an overtime goal by, who else, Darren McCarty. The game was the driving force in what brought the team together en route to their history Stanley Cup win later that year.
1. 1997 STANLEY CUP FINALS, GAME 4
42 years of futility in Detroit was finally over on June 7, 1997. The Red Wings defeated the Philadelphia Flyers in a sweep to earn their first Stanley Cup victory since 1955.
Every Red Wings fan old enough will forever remember where they were when they watched Darren McCarty’s spectacular second-period goal or watching the seconds tick off the clock late in the third period, culminating in Steve Yzerman leaping into Mike Vernon’s arms when it was all over. Vernon earned himself the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP, but it was when Yzerman finally lifted the Stanley Cup that the burden that had crippling Detroit was finally lifted.
There will never be a more iconic moment in Joe Louis Arena history than seeing captain Steve Yzerman with the Stanley Cup.