Red Wings’ Slava Kozlov completes Game 2 of 1997 marathon against Ducks

In the spring of 1997 — a quarter of a century ago — the Detroit Red Wings embarked on their quest to end a 42-year Stanley Cup drought.

The Free Press commemorated this historic quest with a new book: “Stanleytown: The Inside Story of How the Stanley Cup Returned to Motor Town After a Frustrating 41 Seasons.”

Day 19: May 4, 1997

The backstory: Although it was only Game 2 of the Western Conference Semifinals, the stakes were high for the Red Wings. Immediate concern: they needed a win to maintain the home advantage before heading down the left rib. For the big picture: they had to avoid another long series. In 1995-96, despite their record 62 wins, the Wings found themselves skating empty early in the conference final against Colorado as it took 13 games combined to eliminate Winnipeg and St. Louis. Game 2 against the trapping, throwing and blocking Mighty Ducks started out as a Sunday matinee, but it turned into a Sunday marathon. It took five hours and 40 minutes. How long was that? Keith Gave wrote in the Free Press: “This game has gone on so long it’s outpaced Fox’s ‘Married With Children’ so long they’ll have to rename it ‘Married With Grandchildren’.

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