Wings prepare for run at third straight Stanley Cup
Posted: Tuesday May 04, 1999 01:19 PM
DETROIT (AP) -- The Detroit Red Wings are one of the more storied NHL franchises, producing hockey greats such as Gordie Howe and Alex Delvecchio and winning more Stanley Cups than any American team.
They were the dominant team of the 1950s and have been the dominant team of the 1990s. But for all their success, the Red Wings have never won three Stanley Cups in succession.
Only five times have. And no team has done it since Al Arbour guided the New York Islanders to four straight Cup titles between 1980-83.
The Wings have the chance to become the sixth.
Detroit begins its attempt Wednesday when it hosts the Anaheim Mighty Ducks in the first round of the playoffs.
The Ducks haven't had much success overall against the Red Wings, posting a 4-15-5 record overall and a 1-3 record this season. The Wings swept the Ducks in the playoffs two seasons ago, but three of those games went to overtime, including one that went two overtimes and another that went three.
The Red Wings say they expect another tough series.
"If you look at every [team] out there in the west, it's going to be a battle," defenseman Larry Murphy said Monday. "You can't take anything for granted.
"They've got to be feeling good about their position," he said.
The Ducks finished sixth in the Western Conference with a 35-34-13 record a season after finishing out of the playoffs and 17 games below .500.
"We've got to slow them down," center Kris Draper said. "Our job is to go out and play as physical on those guys as we can."
The Red Wings have won nine Cups overall and two Cups in a row three times, first in 1936-1937 and again in 1954-1955.
Three times they have gone to the finals three straight years, but couldn't fashion a three-peat.
This year could be different.
Goalie Chris Osgood says the Wings this year may be better than they have been the past two seasons.
"We're deeper than we ever have been in past years in every position," Osgood said. "[But] if you don't play well, you're going to get knocked out."
Since making a series of blockbuster trades just before the deadline, the Wings are 9-2-1, have outscored opponents 37-20 and have one shutout and have given up just one goal in five games.
"It's going to benefit us in the long run," wing Darren McCarty said. "They add that gutsiness back there."
The Wings aren't too arrogant about their chances, though. Samuelsson, who played on a pair of Cup winners with the Pittsburgh Penguins, said there's little difference between the best and worst in the league.
"You really have to be going 100 percent," Samuelsson said. "Just be ready to battle from game one."
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