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Red Wings comeback against Penguins was history making

Only fourth time Detroit has rallied to win after being down four goals

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Red Wings Jake Walman
Detroit's gritty comeback against Pittsburgh was the first rally for a road victory from a 4-goal deficit in franchise history.

Rallying from a 4-0 first period deficit, the 5-4 overtime victory by the Detroit Red Wings over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Wednesday was both gritty, and thanks to game-winning goal scorer Jake Walman, griddy. It was just the second time a team has come back from being down four goals to win during the 2022-23 NHL season. The Vancouver Canucks won 7-6 in overtime over the Montreal Canadiens after being down four.

However, in Detroit’s case, the comeback triumph wasn’t merely spectacular, it was history making.

It’s only the fourth time since Detroit was joining the NHL in 1926 that the club has staged such a large rally. It’s the first time the Red Wings did so since 1984 and the only time they’ve ever done it away from home.

Let’s look back at Detroit’s other four-goal rallies.

December 4, 1984: Toronto Maple Leafs 6 at Red Wings 7

It was 4-2 Toronto after one period. Two second-period goals made it 6-2, the latter netted by future Red Wings forward Miroslav Frycer.

Detroit would score five third-period goals. Three were potted by John Ogrodnick, with one each from Frantisek Cernik and current Red Wings GM Steve Yzerman. Ogrodnick made it 6-6 at 14:17 of the frame and won it at 19:11. Toronto’s goaltending victim was also a future Detroit netminder, Ken Wregget.

February 22, 1972: Toronto Maple Leafs 4 at Detroit 5

Less than three minutes after Darryl Sittler scored in the second period to give Toronto a 4-0 lead, Red Wings goalie Al Smith was racing from his net to fight with Maple Leafs forward Jim Harrison. That decision would be serving as the spark to ignite the moribund Detroit squad.

Rookie Henry Boucha, on an assist from Mickey Redmond, got Detroit on the board with his first NHL goal. Another rookie, Marcel Dionne, would be setting up Nick Libett to make it 4-2 before the end of the period.

In the third stanza, Bill Collins, Red Berenson and then Libett, with his second of the game, were completing the rally.

November 3, 1960: Boston Bruins 5 at Red Wings 8

The Bruins were up 5-1 when Gerry Melynk got one back for the Red Wings at 19:39 of the second period. During the second intermission, Detroit GM Jack Adams was a visitor to the club’s dressing room. He peeled the paint off the walls, delivering a blistering assessment of his team’s performance.

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Evidently, it made an impression. Detroit beat Boston goalie Don Simmons six times on 12 third-period shots. Norm Ullman with two, Parker MacDonald, Al Johnson, Melynk with his second of the night and Gary Aldcorn did the third-period scoring. Warren Godfrey scored for the Wings in the first period.

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