Pat Caputo: Red Wings 5 Best Playoffs Moments Past 25 Years

The sound of the puck clanking against the pipe in the back of the net was resounding.

Pat Caputo
May 29, 2020 - 1:31 pm
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1.Steve Yzerman’s double-overtime goal, Game 7, 1996 Western Conference semifinals - It wasn’t in a final. It wasn’t even during a Stanley Cup-winning campaign. But who can forget it? The Captain picked up the puck off Wayne Gretzky’s stick in the neutral zone and ripped a shot over the right shoulder of Blues’ goalie Jon Casey from just inside the blue line. The sound of the puck clanking against the pipe in the back of the net was resounding. So was the way the Joe Louis Arena crowd erupted. It was the signature moment by a legendary player.

2. Igor Larionov’s triple overtime goal, Game 3, 2002 Stanley Cup Finals - The series vs. Carolina was tied a game apiece. The Red Wings were down 1-0 when Brett Hull deflected in a shot by Nicklas Lidstrom with 1:14 remaining in regulation to send it to overtime. After nearly three overtime periods of stick-gripping, back-and-forth and utterly thrilling excitement, Larionov calmly gathered the puck just inside the blue line along the left board, darted across the ice, dropping a Carolina defensemen to his knees with an incredible fake in the process. “The Professor” proceeded to wait out Hurricanes’ goalie Arturs Irbe as he flopped on the ice like a seal, and calmly popped the water bottle, which still sat atop the net in those days, while roofing a back hander. That goal was a piece of art as much as an athletic achievement.

3. Darren McCarty, Game 4, 1997 Stanley Cup Finals - The Red Wings put an exclamation point on their first Stanley Cup championship in more than four decades with this spectacular goal. McCarty embarrassed Flyers’ defenseman Janne Niinimaa with an inside-outside move. He then did the same to goalie Ron Hextall, only outside-in, slipping the puck into the net oh-so-deftly off the forehand. It was so fitting, too, because if DMac hadn’t beaten the you-know-what out of the Avs’ Claude Lemieux in late March that year, the Red Wings’ likely don’t become what they did by capturing four Stanley Cup titles in 11 years.

4. Patrick Roy and the Statue of Liberty, Game 6, 2002 Western Conference finals - The Red Wings were down three games to two vs. the hated Avs. They needed to win on the road. Roy, who was constantly battling the Red Wings one way or another, thought he had possession of the puck after making a brilliant save on Yzerman. So he did his signature “Statue of Liberty” gesture of holding the puck high in the air to taunt the opponent. However, the puck was not in his glove. Instead it was still in the crease. Brendan Shanahan poked it in, giving the Red Wings a 1-0 lead in the game. The Red Wings went onto win the series and eventually the Stanley Cup. Certainly poetic justice for Roy. 

5. Chris Osgood with the save, Game 6, 2008 Stanley Cup Finals - The Red Wings, with a chance to clinch, had a  3-1 lead cut to 3-2 in the final two minutes by the Penguins. In the last minute, the Penguins stormed the goal, including at the very end. Somehow, some way, Ozzie kept the puck out of the net, preserving the Red Wings’ most recent Stanley Cup Championship. Ken Kal’s final call of “Osgood with the save!!!” has become a Detroit radio classic.