When former Detroit Red Wings All-World defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom joined the NHL’s Hall of Fame Monday evening, a reel of his career highlights was shown to the crowd and viewers across the world. Lidstrom’s highlights included goals, Stanley Cup hoists, and brilliant defensive plays. Let’s take a look at the Top 5 Moments of Lidstrom’s illustrious career:
5. Long-Range Turning Point Goals
Throughout his career, Lidstrom had a knack for coming through in the clutch. In some cases, he did so in an unusual manner. Rewind back to the first round of the 2002 playoffs. Lidstrom’s center ice tally deflated the Canucks and can be viewed as the turning point in the series. Six years later, Lidstrom did the same in Game 6 of the first round against the Predators, clinching the series in the process.
4. 1997 Stanley Cup Finals Blast
In Game 4 of the 1997 Stanley Cup Finals, the Red Wings and Flyers had been playing a tight first period. With the frame coming to a close, Kirk Maltby dropped the puck to Lidstrom, who blasted a shot from the point to beat Ron Hextall and open the scoring. This back-breaking goal with less than a minute to go in the first was exactly the boost the Red Wings needed to close out the series and clinch their first Stanley Cup since 1955.
3. Lidstrom Denies the Sharks
It’s no secret that playing the puck is not Dominik Hasek’s strong suit. In the 2007 second round matchup with the Sharks, Hasek committed a nearly fatal, giving the puck away to Mike Grier with an open net. The play Lidstrom made to deny him epitomizes his career—he could not have timed the stop nor positioned him and his stick any better in that situation. He was perfect, and perfection was the only way to stop the would-be goal.
2. Conn Smythe Recognition
Back in the 2002 playoffs, Lidstrom was the best player on the ice for a team full of future Hall-of-Famers. He led all defensemen with 16 points in the playoffs and played nearly flawless hockey. Lidstrom was chosen by the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association as the playoffs most valuable performer, earning him a well-deserved Conn Smythe Trophy. He became the first European player to win the award.
Note: In the video, it was great to hear Budd Lynch’s voice introducing Gary Bettman and the trophy presentation.
1. Lidstrom’s Turn With the Cup
Upon winning the 2008 Stanley Cup, the fourth of his career, Lidstrom was presented with the Stanley Cup in front of the Pittsburgh crowd. He became the first European-born player to accept the Lord Stanley’s Cup from the commissioner as the captain of the winning team. Until he was inducted into the Hall of Fame, this was the highest honor Lidstrom could have asked for.
Congratulations the great career, Nick.
Tony Wolak is based in the Washington D.C. area and covers the Detroit Red Wings for THW. As a former junior and college hockey player, Tony has a unique perspective on Red Wings topics.