1997 Detroit Red Wings prepare for pivotal Game 6 at Joe Louis Arena

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 11: April 26, 1997

The backstory: In Game 5, with a 5-2 victory at Joe Louis Arena, the Red Wings equaled their offensive output from the first four games of their opening series with St. Louis. Then they acted as if a giant weight had been lifted from their shoulders. After the final buzzer, the Wings had less than 38 hours to practice at Joe Louis Arena, make it to St. Louis, lace ’em up again for Game 6 and prove they had turned a corner in pursuit of the Stanley Cup.

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Detroit Red Wings' Steve Yzerman fools St. Louis Blues' Ricard Persson during Game 5 of the first round playoff series at Joe Louis Arena, April 25, 1997.

“So far it seems no game carries over to the next,” Brendan Shanahan said. “We can’t just go out there, throw our sticks on the ice and expect to win.” Fox was slated to televise the Sunday matinee. No Wing wanted a Game 7, especially after the agony (but ultimate ecstasy) from the previous season, when Detroit won a Game 7 against the Blues on a Steve Yzerman goal in double overtime.

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