Red Wings’ Slava Kozlov ends 1997 marathon Game 2 vs. Ducks

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

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

Day 19: May 4, 1997

The backstory: Although only Game 2 of the Western Conference semifinals, the stakes were high for the Red Wings. Of immediate concern: They needed a victory to retain home-ice advantage before flying out to the Left Coast. For the bigger picture: They needed to avoid another long series. In 1995-96, despite their record-setting 62 victories, the Wings found themselves skating on empty at the start of the conference finals against Colorado because it took 13 combined games to dispatch Winnipeg and St. Louis. Game 2 against the trapping, dumping and stalling Mighty Ducks started as a Sunday matinee but it turned into a Sunday marathon. It lasted five hours and 40 minutes. How long was it? Keith Gave wrote in the Free Press: “This game was so long it preempted Fox’s ‘Married With Children’ so long they’ll have to rename it ‘Married With Grandchildren.’”

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