It was time for redemption in the Motor City. After a first place, 90 point season, the Red Wings suffered a disappointing six game loss at the hand of the Boston Bruins in 1952-53, the Wings knew that they would have to be better if they wanted to go all the way. With some new additions, the team felt like they were ready for a return to glory.
Stats via Hockey Reference
It was yet another season where the Detroit Red Wings sat at the top of the standings. They scored just four goals fewer than the Montreal Canadiens, and allowed just one more than the Toronto Maple Leafs, so it certainly wasn’t by fluke. Then again, when you have Gordie Howe, Ted Lindsay, Red Kelly, and Terry Sawchuk on your team, it should never be a fluke.
They had a relatively average record for the first two months of the season, with a 9-4-5 record. They picked up the slack afterwards, as they had a five game winning streak, as well as another one later in the season, and two four game winning streaks, while at most losing three games in a row, which only happened once. They also did well because there was no team that they struggled against. They were at least .500 against every team, with the only .500 team being the second place Canadiens with a 6-6-2 record against them.
The team boasted the league leader in both assists and points with Gordie Howe, while also having the league leader in wins, Terry Sawchuk. They had three other players in the top 10, with Ted Lindsay sitting in third, Red Kelly in sixth (first among defenseman), and Dutch Reibel in seventh.
The Red Wings would could kick off the playoffs with the Toronto Maple Leafs, but they certainly made it look easy. After beating them 5-0 in game one, Toronto would win game two 3-1, and that would be the closest they got, as Detroit won the next three games 3-1, 2-1, and 4-3 to win it in five, with the series deciding victory coming in 2OT.
The finals would feature a familiar foe, the Montreal Canadiens, who they had faced in the finals during their last Cup victory. However, they Habs were a much more difficult opponent this time, although not at first. Detroit would take a 3-1 one lead in the series, including two wins in Montreal, but the Canadiens weren’t finished, as they defeated the Wings 1-0 in overtime in Detroit, and won decisively 4-1 in Montreal. They backed Detroit up against a wall, but Detroit pulled through and won 2-1 in game 7 for the Cup.