Red Wings Playoff History
(Photo Credit: Michael Righi/ Wikimedia Commons)

The Detroit Red Wings are one of the most storied franchises in the National Hockey League (NHL), with a rich history of success, including numerous Stanley Cup wins and playoff appearances. Let’s dive into the legacy of this iconic hockey team.

Detroit Red Wings Playoff Dominance

The Red Wings have made the playoffs an astonishing 65 times, including an NHL record 25 straight playoff appearances from 1990 to 2016.

They have an all-time playoff record of 325 wins and 296 losses [.525 win percentage]. In the playoffs, the Red Wings have won 11 Stanley Cups: 1936, 1937, 1943, 1950, 1952, 1954, 1955, 1997, 1998, 2002, and 2008.

They’ve also made the Finals six other times. Some key playoff stats and records include:

  • Most OT playoff goals: 9 – Henrik Zetterberg
  • Most playoff points: 186 – Steve Yzerman
  • Most playoff games: 266 – Nicklas Lidstrom

Detroit Red Wings Stanley Cup Wins

The Red Wings won back-to-back Stanley Cups in 1997 and 1998, led by the legendary Steve Yzerman and nicknamed the “Russian Five” with Sergei Fedorov, Igor Larionov, Slava Kozlov, Slava Fetisov, and Vladimir Konstantinov.

Other notable Stanley Cup-winning teams include:

  • 2002: Dominik Hasek, Brendan Shanahan, Nicklas Lidstrom
  • 2008: Henrik Zetterberg, Pavel Datsyuk, Nicklas Lidstrom

Here is the full list of Red Wings Stanley Cup wins:

Year Losing Team Wings’ Top Scorer (Playoffs)
1936 Toronto Maple Leafs Marty Barry
1937 New York Rangers Marty Barry
1943 Boston Bruins Syd Howe
1950 New York Rangers Ted Lindsay
1952 Montreal Canadiens Gordie Howe
1954 Montreal Canadiens Gordie Howe
1955 Montreal Canadiens Gordie Howe
1997 Philadelphia Flyers Sergei Fedorov
1998 Washington Capitals Steve Yzerman
2002 Carolina Hurricanes Brett Hull
2008 Pittsburgh Penguins Henrik Zetterberg

Detroit Red Wings Conn Smythe Winners

No player has recorded more career playoff points than long-time Red Wings captain Steve Yzerman, who sits atop the leaderboard with 186 points in 196 games [.948 points per game].

Two-way legend Nicklas Lidstrom owns the franchise record with 266 career postseason appearances.

The Conn Smythe Trophy is awarded to the MVP of the playoffs. Red Wings winners include:

  • 2002: Nicklas Lidstrom
  • 1998: Steve Yzerman
  • 1997: Mike Vernon

Red Wings Playoff Collapses and Near Misses

But with the dizzying highs have also come gutting lows over the years in Detroit hockey lore. The 1942 Stanley Cup Finals saw the Red Wings blow a 3-0 series lead to the Toronto Maple Leafs – still the biggest collapse in championship history.

Detroit also suffered a shocking first-round upset as heavy favorites to the underdog San Jose Sharks in 1994.

More recently, a 3-2 loss to Pittsburgh in the 2009 Finals as defending champions stands as a crushing disappointment. And in 2011, Detroit became just the fourth team in NHL history to blow a 3-0 series lead, falling to San Jose in the Western Conference Semifinals.

Red Wings Playoff Rivalries

The Red Wings have also been involved in some of hockey’s most bitter rivalries.

In the 1990s and 2000s, bloody clashes with the Colorado Avalanche led by Claude Lemieux and Patrick Roy stirred up a heated feud filled with brawls and bad blood. Tensions exploded in the infamous “Fight Night at the Joe” game in 1997.

Divisional foes like St. Louis and upstart Columbus have also traded barbs with Detroit in recent years. And the Red Wings’ rivalry with fellow Original Six club Toronto Maple Leafs still carries weight, especially with renewed divisional alignment.

The heroes, goats, triumphs, and heartbreaks all intertwine to make Detroit hockey a dramatic rollercoaster. For 97 years and counting, the Red Wings continue to evoke passion across the hockey world.