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Mike Vernon’s 5 best moments with the Detroit Red Wings [VIDEO]

Former Detroit Red Wings goaltender Mike Vernon was included in today’s Hockey Hall of Fame inductees, though his fellow Conn Smythe Trophy winner in former Red Wings captain Henrik Zetterberg didn’t quite make the cut. He enters the Hall of Fame just 15 wins shy of 400 in his career with several teams. Still, he will always be remembered fondly by Red Wings fans for his MVP 1997 postseason and his role in the legendary rivalry with the Colorado Avalanche.

Detroit Red Wings Mike Vernon

What are Vernon’s five best moments with the Red Wings? Check out our list below and see if you agree.

1997 Conn Smythe Trophy win

Despite having mostly taken a backseat to Chris Osgood during the 1996-97 regular season, Red Wings coach Scotty Bowman decided it would be best to go with the veteran talent in the net for the playoffs. And it worked out spectacularly, as Vernon would help lead the Red Wings to their first Stanley Cup in 42 years. Thanks to his superb numbers, Vernon was the recipient of the Conn Smythe Trophy as the Most Valuable Player in the playoffs.

Winning the William M. Jennings Trophy

It was a record-breaking regular season for the Red Wings in 1995-96 as they won 62 games, the most not only in franchise history but the most by any NHL team at that point over the course of an 82-game regular season schedule. He formed a valuable 1-2 punch in the net with Osgood, and the pair were awarded the William M. Jennings Trophy at the season’s end as “the goaltender(s) having played a minimum of 25 games for the team with the fewest goals scored against it … based on regular-season play.”

Beatdown of hated rival Patrick Roy

Every Red Wings fan remembers March 26, 1997, as the night that Darren McCarty exacted revenge against villain Claude Lemieux for his awful hit on Kris Draper the previous spring in the playoffs. While McCarty pummelled Lemieux in front of the Detroit bench, Avalanche goaltender Patrick Roy immediately tried to come to his teammate’s aid. He would be jumped by 1st year Red Wings forward Brendan Shanahan and eventually taken on by the much smaller Vernon at center ice.

Winning his 300th career NHL game

Not only did Vernon take part in the spectacular brawl against the Avalanche, but thanks to Detroit’s 6-5 overtime win that night, Vernon earned the 300th victory of his career.

Stopping 49 shots in Detroit’s 3OT playoff win

Before the Red Wings got their shot at revenge against the Avalanche in the Western Conference Finals, they had to go through the young Mighty Ducks of Anaheim, who had just won their first-ever playoff series over the Phoenix Coyotes. While Vernon and the Red Wings would sweep the Ducks, it may not have been possible without their triple overtime victory in Game 2, which featured 49 saves from Vernon in one of his best-ever performances for the Red Wings in the net.

Wrapping It Up: Congratulations to Mike Vernon

Though smaller in stature, Mike Vernon made the most of his NHL career with 385 wins and two career Stanley Cup wins.

We’ll always be grateful for his contributions to Detroit’s historic 1997 Cup win as well as his role in the rivalry with Colorado!

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