Red Wings match record with 20th straight home win
It didn't look like just another night for the Detroit Red Wings at Joe Louis Arena when a fan hurled an octopus on the ice, an act usually reserved for a playoff game.
And, It didn't sound like an ordinary matchup in the regular season when fans stood and chanted, ''Let's go Red Wings!'' during the final minutes and cheered wildly when the clock hit zero.
In between, Detroit beat the Philadelphia Flyers 4-3 Sunday night and equaled an NHL mark with its 20th straight win at home.
''It felt like it was a little bit of a special game,'' said Johan Franzen, who scored his league-leading 10th game-winning goal early in the third period.
The NHL-leading Red Wings have downplayed the streak, saying they're more focused on trying to keep their edge in the highly competitive Central Division and Western Conference.
''We don't want to talk about it,'' defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom said. ''We just want to keep it going.''
The league mark was set by the Boston Bruins during the 1929-30 season and matched by Philadelphia in 1976.
''We definitely wanted to keep them from tying the record,'' Flyers winger Scott Hartnell said. ''We're all disappointed about that.''
Detroit can break the record with a win Tuesday night over the Dallas Stars at Joe Louis Arena.
''It's not too often you get a chance to do that,'' Red Wings goalie Joey MacDonald said.
Philadelphia rookie Brayden Schenn had a career-high two goals, helping the Flyers take the first of two leads they couldn't keep against a team that hasn't lost at home since Nov. 3 against Calgary.
MacDonald overcame shaky clearing attempts that led to two goals and finished with 26 saves.
''What I liked was how he played after a mistake,'' Detroit coach Mike Babcock said.
Sergei Bobrovsky stopped 21 shots for the Flyers.
Bobrovsky's head was on a swivel in the opening minute of the third period when Henrik Zetterberg and Lidstrom made diagonal passes to set up Franzen in front of the net for his 22nd goal.
''There's not much you can do about it when they're zinging it around like that,'' Hartnell said. ''They picked us apart a few times out there and that was the difference.''
Lidstrom played in his 1,550th game, the most by an NHL player who spent his entire career with one team. He broke the mark set by former Red Wings great Alex Delvecchio.
''He came down on Friday and congratulated me and we took a picture together,'' Lidstrom said. ''That means a lot to me.''
Early on, Philadelphia took advantage of facing MacDonald instead of Jimmy Howard, who missed his fifth straight game with a broken right index finger. The Red Wings are hoping Howard will return Friday night at home against Nashville.
MacDonald misplayed a puck behind the net to help Schenn score late in the first period and couldn't clear a rebound early in the second, setting up Schenn's second goal that put the Flyers ahead 2-1.
Pavel Datsyuk tied it 2-all a few minutes later on a power-play goal from the left circle.
MacDonald didn't have much of a chance to stop Maxime Talbot's go-ahead goal late in the second period. Talbot got behind Detroit's defense and flipped the puck past MacDonald.
Zetterberg's one-timer a couple of minutes later tied the game at 3 entering the third, giving fans another boost for the final period.
''It was a great atmosphere out there, it was like playing in the playoffs,'' Franzen said. ''We have to thank them for giving us the extra energy that we needed.''
NOTES: The NBA's longest home winning streak in a season was set by Chicago with 37 straight victories during the 1995-96 season; the 1978 Pittsburgh Pirates and 1988 Boston Red Sox each won 24 straight at home for baseball's longest single-season home winning streaks since 1919 and the Miami Dolphins won 27 straight at home from 1971-74 in what has stood as the longest home winning streak in NFL history. ... Schenn, the fifth pick in the 2009 draft, was acquired by Philadelphia last summer from Los Angeles as part of the Mike Richards trade. ... Kronwall's goal was his 12th, topping his career high set last season. ... The Flyers have had four straight games without a power-play goal after scoring at least one in the previous six.