On March 5, 1955, Elvis Presley made his television debut. He didn’t know it at the time, but he was about to be overshadowed by one of the most impressive hockey teams of a generation: the 1954-55 Detroit Red Wings.
The Wings, as they often did in Cup-winning years, held the best regular season record in the league. In 14 games against Montreal, they won 7 games… and lost 7 games. In those games, the Wings scored 38 goals… and gave up 38 goals. The league really couldn’t have been much tighter for first place.
The Wings won six games before they lost any, and only needed eight to win the Stanley Cup. If that sounds anticlimatic, it’s because it is: they were simply too good for anyone else.. or so it seemed.
After a 7-1 win over Montreal in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final, the Wings appeared to be dominant and ready to easily claim a second straight cup.
Heading back to the Montreal Forum for Games 3 and 4 of the final, the Red Wings took a back seat. If you’ve heard about 1955 in Montreal, the team was still suffering from the infamous Richard Riot (where Maurice Richard was suspended for the the rest of the season after a confrontation with a linesman, and Montrealers subsequently rioted in protest).
Whether the team was angry, willing to perform in front of their home fans, or just good, the Habs came back with back-to-back wins in games three and four to even up the series.
The next three games would be all over the place.
Detroit won 5-1 at home in Game Five, but lost 6-3 in Montreal in Game Six.
And once again, we saw things head back to Detroit for a Game Seven.
Tied 1-1 in the first period, who else but… Gordie Howe?
Calm, cool and collected, Gordie Howe slots in the Cup-winning goal as the Red Wings win the series 4-3 and the game 3-1. The big, bad Habs were defeated.
I don’t want to spoil anything, but that was Gordie’s last ever Stanley Cup final win.
All stats via Hockey Reference.