Today in Hockey History: 1996-97 Detroit Red Wings End Stanley Cup Drought

Detroit Red Wings Biggest Game; 1996-97 Detroit Red Wings
1997 Season: Red Wing captain Steve Yzerman leads teammates around the ice with the Stanley Cup. (Photo by Bruce Bennett Studios via Getty Images Studios/Getty Images)

During the NHL’s hiatus, we at the Last Word on Hockey are going to look back at each date’s historical significance to the game. We’ll remember the moments that shaped the sport of hockey that happened on this day. Here’s our look at this date in hockey history for June 7th, featuring the 1996-97 Detroit Red Wings.

Today in Hockey History

1996-97 Detroit Red Wings End 42-Year Cup Drought

1997: Nicklas Lidstrom and Darren McCarty each score as the Wings complete a four-game sweep of the Philadelphia Flyers. Conn Smythe winner Mike Vernon makes 26 saves in the 2-1 Game 4 win over the Flyers. Only a late Eric Lindros goal would spoil Vernon’s shutout bid. Vernon finishes with a 16-4 record, a 1.76 goals-against average and a .927 save percentage.

The win seals Detroit’s first Stanley Cup victory in 42 years. It’s the first title since the days of Gordie Howe, Ted Lindsay and other Hall of Fame greats of that era. Detroit would repeat as champions next season with another four-game sweep over the Washington Capitals.

Other Notable Events

1976: Denis Potvin becomes the first Norris Trophy winner other than Bobby Orr for the first time since 1967-68. The New York Islanders also add the Calder Trophy in top rookie that’s won by Bryan Trottier.

1989: Wayne Gretzky is named the Hart Trophy winner for the ninth time, which is the most anyone has won any NHL award. This time ‘The Great One’ wins it with the Los Angeles Kings after taking eight with the Edmonton Oilers.

1993: John LeClair scores another OT-winner in the Montreal Canadiens 3-2 Game 4 win over the Kings. LeClair is the first to get back-to-back overtime-winners since Don Raleigh of the New York Rangers in 1950.

1994: The Rangers are one win away from their first Stanley Cup since 1940 with a 4-2 Game 4 win over the Vancouver Canucks. Brian Leetch gets a goal and three assists in the victory.

2001: Patrick Roy gets his record 19th playoff shutout in a 4-0 Game 6 win by the Colorado Avalanche. Roy makes 24 saves and Adam Foote gets a goal and two assists in the win over the New Jersey Devils.

2004: The Tampa Bay Lightning win their first Stanley Cup with a 2-1 Game 7 win over the Calgary Flames.

2006: Cam Ward of the Carolina Hurricanes is the first rookie to get a shutout in a final since Roy. The Canes beat the Oilers, 5-0, in Game 2.

2013: The Pittsburgh Penguins are swept in a series for the first time since 1979. Tuukka Rask makes 26 saves in the Boston Bruins 1-0 win.

2018: Washington wins its first Stanley Cup in team history with a 4-3 Game 5 victory over the Vegas Golden Knights. Alex Ovechkin is named playoff MVP.

Happy Birthday to You

1945: Gilles Marotte

1951: Terry O’Reilly

1955: Willi Plett

1966: Stephane Richer

1970: Mike Modano; Andrei Kovalenko

1988: Milan Lucic

1990: Michael Stone

1998: Victor Mete

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