Detroit’s Home Ice Advantage

It has been said by many a sports fan that what happens in the regular season is meaningless come playoff time.

But perhaps there is more of an advantage to finishing higher in the standings then thought.

The Detroit Red Wings, who gained home ice advantage throughout the playoffs after Boston, San Jose, and Washington were all defeated, have used their home ice advantage in their favor on route to the Stanley Cup finals.

Here a few numbers that further dictate the Red Wings' success:

The Wings are 11-1 in the postseason. Their only loss at home came in triple overtime to the Anaheim Ducks. Detroit has scored 43 goals at home compared to 32 goals on the road, a difference of more than 10 goals. Another interesting stat to note is that Detroit's two shutouts this postseason have came at home.

The stats certainly paint a pretty picture for Detroit, but more importantly, their solid play at home has helped them stave off elimination. Detroit won Game 7 of their series against the Anaheim Ducks at home to move on to the Conference Finals.

Detroit is not a bad road team by nature. They won 27 road games during the regular season and have certainly been called "road warriors" at times. But Detroit hasn't exactly breezed through the Stanley Cup Playoffs, largely in part to their poor play on the road.

All of this makes their success at home all the more important. The Red Wings seemed to have a great confidence at home. They seem to play with more aggression and dictate the play in the oppositions end. Detroit seems to feed of the emotion of their crowd.

And of course, there's Chris Osgood. The veteran goaltender, who has only lost one game at home during the playoffs, has suffered six defeats on the road. Osgood has allowed 28 goals on the road, five times allowing three goals or more. In the Stanley Cup Finals, Osgood has never allowed more than one goal in the Joe Louis Arena, but in Pittsburgh, he has allowed two goals or more in every game. Twice, he gave up four goals.

It seems like Osgood has had more confidence at home, where he has been a star. That factor could be important for the looming Game 7.

After being down and out in the series several times, the Pittsburgh Penguins won a close game at home to force this decisive Game 7 in Detroit. The home team has won every game of this series, and while this doesn't mean defeat is imminent for the Penguins, the advantage definitely has to go to the Detroit Red Wings. Detroit has been faster, meaner, and more efficient at home during the playoffs, which made their second place finish in the regular season look even more pivotal.

Perhaps this will be a lesson to other teams. Though not every team with home ice advantage has always benefited, the Detroit Red Wings may not be at this point without it.

So, if you still think that the regular season standings aren't the most important thing in the world, and that the playoffs are a whole new season, consider this: home ice advantage may be the reason the Detroit Red Wings win the Stanley Cup.

Jonathan Hamelin contributes articles on the NBA, NFL, and NHL. An avid fan of the Canadian Football League, he writes two columns on the CFL, Rider Report Card and CFL Buzz.

Leave a Comment

Featured Site