The 1995-96 Detroit Red Wings won a record 62 games en route to the best regular season in NHL history: 62-13-7 for a total 131 points. But soon, that record might belong to someone else.
The Tampa Bay Lightning currently sit at 59-15-5 with three games remaining in their schedule. They already easily clinched the President’s Trophy as the NHL’s top regular season team, and are the obvious favorite to bring home their first Stanley Cup championship since 2004. But Red Wings fans won’t mind reminding Lightning fans that regular season dominance doesn’t always translate into playoff success.
Detroit had to wait another year for the Stanley Cup following the Red Wings dominance in 1995-96 after they were knocked out in the Western Conference Finals against the Colorado Avalanche, sparking the fierce rivalry. Several other times, the Red Wings were the odds-on favorite to lift the Stanley Cup, only to suffer an embarrassing playoff setback. They were swept by the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim in the opening round of the 2003 Stanley Cup Playoffs despite being the #2 overall seed in the West. They easily ran away with the regular season during the 2005-06 campaign, only to suffer a first-round defeat to the Edmonton Oilers.
“If it happens, it happens, great. It’s another story to write and something to talk about,” said Lightning captain Steven Stamkos about achieving the regular season record. “But it really hasn’t truly been the focus at all in this room. If it happens, it happens, then that’s great and it means we’re playing well and we’re continuing to try to play well.”
VIDEO: Anthony Mantha’s first career hat trick
Detroit Red Wings forward Taro Hirose wasn’t the only player who set a milestone on Sunday night!
Anthony Mantha scored three times for his first career hat trick, giving him 22 goals on the season!
He tallied an additional two assists to give him a five point night and earned the game’s first star.
Taro Hirose scores first NHL goal
It’s a milestone marker!
Detroit Red Wings forward Taro Hirose put up five assists in his first six NHL games since singing an entry-level contract with the Red Wings earlier this year, and now he’s got his first NHL goal against Boston Bruins goaltender Jaroslav Halak!
— Nick (@nickseguin19) April 1, 2019