Tradition runs deep in the NHL, especially when it comes to the Original Six. The NHL became official in 1942 with six teams, including the Chicago Blackhawks and Detroit Red Wings. These two teams have played against each other since 1926 for over 800 games. It is one of the best rivalries in all of professional sports. The Red Wings have won almost 100 games more in the series since handing the Blackhawks their first loss ever in 1926, but Chicago ended the run as Divisional foes with a 3-2 win that clinched the Division Friday.
The rivalry ended on Friday night – at least as far as a Divisional or even Conference rivalry. It was the last time Chicago and Detroit met as division and conference rivals. Detroit usually had the upper hand in the rivalry, but Chicago ended it on top as Detroit prepares to leave for the Eastern Conference.
Chicago won Friday night, 3-2 in a shootout, sweeping the season series against Detroit for the first time since 1976-77 and clinched the Central Division title.
Jimmy Howard appeared to have wrapped up the win for the Red Wings with brilliant play in the goal, including a pad save on Michael Frolik. However, the Red Wings defense could not clear the puck, and after Johnny Oduya took another shot, and then Jonathan Toews stuffed the rebound in to tie the game 2-2 with 2:57 to go in regulation. Both teams had great opportunities in overtime, but the goalies stood their ground and forced a shootout. Detroit captain Henrik Zetterberg had them ahead, but Marian Hossa came out and won it for Chicago.
The game was a perfect ending for such a historic rivalry.
For the complete AP story on the game, click here.