In Honor Of Darren McCarty's Birthday: His Five Greatest Moments

D-Mac will always be a legend in Detroit.

Will Burchfield
April 01, 2020 - 9:57 am

Darren McCarty will always be a legend in Detroit.

The man who delivered revenge on Claude Lemieux -- and later helped deliver the Stanley Cup that sparked a dynasty -- turns 48 today, so let's celebrate his five greatest moments as a Red Wing. 

McCarty Relives First Off-Ice Meeting With Lemieux: "I Was Still, F-You"

You won't be surprised that most of the highlights involve the Avalanche. Without the Avs, McCarty isn't the hero we remember. 

5. Game 2 Clincher, 1997

After losing the first game of the 1997 Conference Finals against Colorado, Detroit earned a split on the road with a pivotal win in Game 2. The clincher was delivered by McCarty with about a minute to go, shortly after a goal-line save by Nicklas Lidstrom. 

4. Game 1 Hat Trick, 2002

By now, McCarty was a legend in the Wing-Avs rivalry. He added to his legacy with a third-period hat trick in Game 1 of the 2002 Conference Finals against Colorado, a series Detroit would win in seven games on the way to its third Cup in six years. 

"Do you believe it!?" screamed Gary Thorne on the ESPN broadcast. "Hat trick! Hat trick, Darren McCarty!!"

3. Stanley Cup Winner, 1997

Some would argue this deserves to be No. 1. But take it from McCarty himself. Asked about his greatest moment as a Red Wing in a recent interview on the Jamie and Stoney Show, he said "it's chronological." So March 26, 1997 supersedes anything that happened after it, including McCarty's Cup-winning goal against the Flyers later that season.

But what a goal it was. 

2. The Brawl

Again, argue if you must. McCarty's revenge on Lemieux is probably his top moment for a number of Wings fans, and McCarty won't dispute its impact. But in his mind, the fact the Wings won the game that night was more important.

Of course, the image of McCarty raining punches on a turtled Lemieux will never get old. 

1. The Winner After The Brawl

It was McCarty who wrapped things up on March 26, banging home a perfect pass from Brendan Shanahan for the 6-5 OT win. It was the validation the Wings needed against the Avs, a win that helped them slay the dragon a couple months later. McCarty calls it "Red Wings D-Day."

"I don’t care where you’re from, what rivalry it is, the only way out is through. So we had to win the game," he said. "Yeah, we had to get the revenge for what happened to Drapes, but at the end of the day we had to win the game. That’s the whole thing to it. And then three months later things happen quickly. I beat one guy one-on-one and it just so happened it was for the Cup clincher.

"But if you look back at history, no matter what, where does it start." 

It starts here.