Sports

1997 Detroit Red Wings miss great opportunity vs. Blues in Game 4


Detroit Red Wings goalie Mike Vernon watches the puck go in the net for a goal during Game 4 of the first round playoff series against the St. Louis Blues at the Kiel Center, April 22, 1997. Wings' Vyacheslav Kozlov and Vladimir Konstantinov were unable to prevent the goal.

In the spring of 1997 — a quarter-century ago — the Detroit Red Wings embarked on their quest to end a 42-year Stanley Cup drought.

The Free Press has commemorated that historic quest with a new book: “Stanleytown: The Inside Story of How the Stanley Cup Returned to the Motor City After 41 Frustrating Seasons.”

DAY 1:  Red Wings begin quest to end 42-year Cup drought

DAY 2:  Scotty Bowman finally makes the Sergei Fedorov switch Wings need

DAY 3:  How Wings finally solved Fuhr to take Game 2

DAY 4:  Wings, Shanahan try to break St. Louis hearts

DAY 5:  Yzerman, Wings take high road — and Game 3 vs. Blues

DAY 6:  Wings ready for fateful Game 4 vs. Blues

Day 7: April 22, 1997

St. Louis Blues' Ricard Persson (28) fights Detroit Red Wings' Vyacheslav Kozlov (13) late in the third period during Game 4 of the first round playoff series against the St. Louis Blues at the Kiel Center, April 22, 1997.

The backstory: The Red Wings were determined to put a 3-1 stranglehold on their first-round series heading into Game 4 at St. Louis, and position themselves for an extended rest between rounds. Despite the Wings’ catbird seat, the series couldn’t have been closer. After three games, each team had five goals, each team had gone 2-for-23 on the power play (8.7%) and 21-for-23 on the penalty kill (91.3%). Detroit’s statistical edge: It logged “only” 54 minutes in the penalty box, to the Blues’ exorbitant 79. But three hours on a Tuesday night at the Kiel Center flipped the script.



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