Detroit Red Wings: Five Best Players During the Record Home Winning Streak

Jordan MatthewsAnalyst IIIFebruary 15, 2012

Detroit Red Wings: Five Best Players During the Record Home Winning Streak

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    On Tuesday Night in a game against the Dallas Stars, the Detroit Red Wings made NHL history by breaking the record for longest consecutive home winning streak with their 21st win.

    The record surpasses a previous record held by both the 1929-1930 Boston Bruins and the 1975-1976 Philadelphia Flyers.

    Despite some changes in the league from when the previous record holders played, this feat is still outstanding and should be recognized as the best home streak in NHL history due to the unmatched level of parity in today's NHL.

    The entire team contributed to the Red Wings record, but here are five players who were instrumental to the Wings' success.

Honorable Mention: Joey MacDonald

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    Joey MacDonald only played in four of the Red Wings' home games during the streak. Make no mistake, his play wasn't what could be considered spectacular.

    So why does he get an honorable mention on this list? For the obvious reasons listed above, MacDonald can't be considered a top-five player during a streak in which he barely participated in, but he's worthy of an honorable mention nonetheless.

    The reason? The Red Wings never would have made it without him. 

    Red Wings backup Ty Conklin has had performances all year that make Detroit fans wish they were in a horrible nightmare just so they could wake up from it.

    It's no dream, it's a reality.

    When Jimmy Howard went down with a broken finger, the entire Red Wings fanbase groaned at the jeopardy that it put the streak in.

    To the pleasant surprise of Wings fans, MacDonald has temporarily taken over the starting role and was able to help Detroit break the streak. For that, he deserves a mention.

5. Henrik Zetterberg

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    Henrik Zetterberg isn't exactly having a season for the ages. As a matter of fact, he's having one of the worst seasons of his career.

    Regardless of that fact, Zetterberg was still vital to the success of the Detroit Red Wings as they broke the NHL's home winning streak.

    Henrik had eight goals and 11 assists over the course of the win streak, and he posted a plus-13 rating overall. That's more like the Zetterberg that Detroit fans know.

    While Zetterberg isn't having the greatest season of his career, he's just beginning to heat up, and he's perfectly capable of returning to his old form. His contributions to the Wings as they broke the record deserve recognition.

4. Valtteri Filppula

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    To say that Valtteri Filppula is having a good season would be an understatement. Then again, so would saying he's having a career season.

    In just 57 games, Filppula has already surpassed his previous season high. Does that performance translate to help Detroit out a little bit?

    Well, let's put it this way: In the 21 wins Valtteri Filppula was a part of, he had seven goals and 15 assists, all while posting a magnificent plus-18 rating.

    Some would call it a fluke for the Red Wings forward, but most who have followed the Wings and Filppula for a while know it's just Valtteri finally reaching his potential.

    Without a doubt, Filppula has been critical to Detroit's success at home this season.

3. Johan Franzen

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    There's a reason Johan Franzen was nicknamed "The Mule": He carries the load.

    Franzen racked up 11 goals and 10 assists just during the 21-game home winning streak. If that's not enough to convince fans, he had a plus-20 rating over those 21 games.

    Still not convinced? Listen to this: The Mule scored the game-winning goal in five of the Red Wings' home wins during the streak.

    Franzen is a beast, and this year looks to be his best, despite past knee injuries. Currently, the Mule is on pace to smash his previous career-best season of 59 points.

    Currently, Franzen is on pace for 65 points, and his plus-minus rating is paced to far exceed plus-30. No doubt he was an instrumental piece in Detroit's success at home.

2. Pavel Datsyuk

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    Pavel Datsyuk has been instrumental to the success of the Detroit Red Wings over the last several seasons, and he is now being recognized as one of the NHL's top players, if not the best.

    Datsyuk was certainly a factor in the Red Wings' winning streak, and a big one at that.

    After a slow start to the season, Datsyuk heated up, and he contributed six goals and 20 assists to the team during all 21 wins.

    In addition, Datsyuk had a plus-11 rating for the Red Wings during their epic, record-setting streak.

    While his offensive stats are great, those who watch Datsyuk often know he's just as good on the puck defensively, and he's widely considered the best defensive forward in the NHL by a large margin.

    There's no doubt Datsyuk played a huge role in Detroit's history-making winning streak.

1. Jimmy Howard

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    Without a doubt, Jimmy Howard was the MVP of Detroit's record-setting home winning streak, and is the MVP of the team in general.

    In a total of 17 home games that Howard participated in during the streak, he had a total save percentage of .945. That's Vezina-caliber in the book of any goaltender.

    Jimmy Howard's stellar performances aren't only contained in Joe Louis Arena and he's found himself in the thick of a tough Vezina trophy debate this season.

    Unfortunately, Howard suffered a broken finger early in February during a game against the Vancouver Canucks, and while the injury set Detroit back a step in net, it may have been a blessing in disguise. Howard was on pace to nearly start 70 games in the season.

    Now, Howard gets some much-needed rest, which will be important by the time the playoffs come along.

    But without a doubt, Jimmy has been the MVP of the Red Wings' home winning streak.

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    Jordan Matthews writes for the NHL and for the Detroit Red Wings. You can view his recent articles here:

    Why the Red Wings' Home WInning Record Matters

    Does 2013 Winter Classic Seal Another Year for Lidstrom?

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