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Steve Yzerman – History Will Be Made

St. Louis Blues

The Detroit Red Wings were finally in the course of a resurgence after not winning the Stanley Cup in over 40 years. Facing off against Wayne Gretzky and the St. Louis Blues in the 1996 Stanley Cup playoffs, something special happened to change those fortunes.

Steve Yzerman had been plagued with accusations that he was incapable of leading the Red Wings to the Stanley Cup. With the series tied at three games each, everything would come down to a Game 7 to decide whether Steve Yzerman was a leader or if his time in Detroit was going to draw to an end.

What developed was a goaltending duel as Jon Casey and Chris Osgood duked it out to a 0-0 standstill after four periods of play. Entering double overtime, both teams were low on energy but hungry for a goal. It began with the teams battling back and forth for a little over a minute with no clear advantage to either.

Finally, a dump into the Detroit Red Wings zone created a rush for the Red Wings. In a rare error, Wayne Gretzky fumbled an intercepted pass that was coming out of the Red Wings defensive zone. Steve Yzerman was there to find the puck as Gretzky looked around in futility.

The speeding Yzerman weaved through traffic to sneak into the St. Louis Blues end. Gretzky mirrored his Red Wings rival, along with two St. Louis defenseman. Barely getting into the offensive end and with three enemies standing between him and the net, Steve Yzerman unloaded a slap shot.

The puck effortlessly slipped past St. Louis Blues goaltender Jon Casey, completely negating his amazing play over the previous 80 minutes of play. Every Detroit Red Wings playing on the ice at that moment followed Yzerman as he crashed into the end boards in celebration, leading to a celebratory group hug.

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The Red Wings advanced to the Western Conference Finals for the second time in two years, although the Colorado Avalanche would eventually knock them from the playoffs. It did not matter, however, as Steve Yzerman had shown that he could lead his team. In each of the next two years, Yzerman proudly lifted the Stanley Cup over his head to silence anyone who suggested he could not lead a team to victory.


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