The Rangers and Red Wings haven’t directly competed against one another for a playoff spot since 1969-70. Both clubs made it on the final weekend of that season that ended with the bizarre last day on which the Blueshirts hammered Detroit 9-5 at the Garden while pulling goaltender Ed Giacomin with a 9-3 lead in the afternoon, before the Canadiens lost in Chicago 10-2 while pulling goaltender Rogie Vachon once down 5-2 that night. The only other time since World War II came in 1961-62, when the Rangers grabbed the final berth by four points over the Red Wings, keyed by a 3-2 victory over Detroit at the Garden on Mar. 14, 1962 in which Andy Bathgate broke a 2-2 tie by scoring on a penalty shot at 9:03 of the third period against Hank Bassen. So although the clubs share the romantic Original Six heritage, there is little in their shared past — other than the 1950 Finals in which the Red Wings prevailed in Game 7 double overtime after the Blueshirts had taken a 3-2 lead in the series, in which five games were played in Detroit, including the final four, while two were played in Toronto and none in New York because the circus had commandeered the Garden — to bind the club as historical rivals. Of course, until this year, the Rangers and Red Wings hadn’t been in the same conference since 1992-93. The next year, the Red Wings moved west, where they stayed until this season’s realignment. Coincidental, isn’t it, how Detroit manages to position itself to play in the weaker conference? But if it has been more than four decades since the two clubs were in direct competition for a postseason berth, that’s exactly the circumstance now, with the Rangers one point ahead of Detroit in the battle for an Eastern Conference wild-card position as the Red Wings visit the Garden on Thursday.
Rangers-Red Wings rivalry gets renewed
New York Post | Jan 16