From the time of the first puck drop Jan. 19 to the final buzzer of Game 6 of the Stanley Cup finals five months later, there were a number of entertaining games that featured amazing plays, great comebacks and magical moments.
NHL.com narrowed that list to 10, which included three games involving the Red Wings. Here are the three best Wings games of the 2013 season (in chronological order):
Feb. 10 -- Red Wings 3, Los Angeles Kings 2
This game was proof that no lead is safe and no score is set until the final buzzer sounds.
The Kings had a 2-0 lead heading into the final minute of the first period, but Anze Kopitar used one soft play by Daniel Cleary along the wall in the Detroit end to win a battle, then out-muscled Cleary on his way to the net to bang in a return pass from Rob Scuderi with 40.3 seconds remaining to get the Kings back within a goal.
The score remained 2-1 in the game's final minute, and Kings goalie Jonathan Quick headed to the bench for an extra attacker. That let Kyle Clifford jump on the ice, and he grabbed a loose puck just inside the Detroit blue line at the left point and fired a high shot on net. Defenseman Alec Martinez came off the left wall and tipped the puck down and into the slot. Jeff Carter had a crack at it, and the rebound of his shot went to Martinez, who had skated behind Carter and was in prime position to backhand the puck into the net to tie the game with 52.8 seconds left.
The Red Wings may have been down, but they weren't out. Johan Franzen flipped a puck on net that Quick was forced to glove and hold for a stoppage with 14.1 seconds left. The Kings won the faceoff, but Cleary got to the puck along the back wall and tipped it to Jonathan Ericsson at the right point. Ericsson fired a shot that trickled between Quick's pads and across the goal line with 4.5 seconds left.
Detroit's Jimmy Howard made a season-high 45 saves but after the game gave all the credit to Ericsson.
"That's just a great play by (Ericsson) throwing it on net," Howard said. "You never know what can happen when you put the puck on net."
May 2 -- Red Wings 5, Anaheim Ducks 4 (OT)
After losing Game 1 of the Western Conference quarterfinals series against the Anaheim Ducks, the Red Wings entered Game 2 desperate to bring the series back to Detroit with a split. They came out firing, with Justin Abdelkader wiring a shot past Jonas Hiller 48 seconds into the game. Damien Brunner added a goal a few minutes later, then Johan Franzen scored 1:04 into the second to make it 3-0 Red Wings. When Franzen scored a power-play goal 20 seconds into the third to make it 4-1, it looked like Detroit would get its wish of a tied series.
But things changed in a hurry, starting with Ryan Getzlaf's goal at 7:20 of the third. Seconds after a Ducks power play ended, Kyle Palmieri found room over Jimmy Howard's glove to make it a one-goal game. Bobby Ryan completed the comeback with 2:22 to go in regulation when he finished a give-and-go with Cam Fowler to tie the game.
The Red Wings were rocked, but the fight was far from over.
A slashing penalty on Sheldon Souray in the final minute of regulation allowed Detroit to start overtime with the man-advantage, and they took scored 1:21 in. Valtteri Filppula made a beautiful play with the puck deep in the Anaheim end, pulling it around a sliding Corey Perry then making a cross-slot pass to Gustav Nyquist, who buried the puck behind Hiller to even the series.
"It's a good life lesson for our crew and good for kids," Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said. "We have lots of kids on our team. They're not like veterans. They're just different."
May 29 -- Chicago Blackhawks 2, Detroit Red Wings 1 (OT)
Despite winning a Stanley Cup more recently than their longtime rivals, the Chicago Blackhawks felt a bit of unfinished business, dating to the 2009 Western Conference finals, when they lost to the Red Wings. A year later, the Blackhawks won the Cup, but doing it without beating Detroit made it a bit bittersweet.
It looked like there would be more sour to come for the Blackhawks when the Red Wings took a 3-1 series lead, but Chicago battled back, winning Games 5 and 6 to force Game 7 at United Center.
The Blackhawks broke the ice when Patrick Sharp finished a sensational passing play with a goal 1:08 into the second period. The lead lasted until the first minute of the third, when Daniel Cleary tipped a puck away from Johnny Oduya to create a 2-on-1 down low that Henrik Zetterberg finished 26 seconds into the period to tie the game.
The game went to overtime, with the break finally coming at 3:35. Dave Bolland's big hit along the wall at center ice on Gustav Nyquist knocked the puck loose, and Brent Seabrook swooped in to grab it. He skated into the Detroit end, and as Niklas Kronwall gave ground, Seabrook used him as a screen to beat Jimmy Howard over his glove to close the series.
It marked the first time in the Blackhawks' 87-season history they won a series after trailing 3-1.
"It was a strong season and we had to find a way," Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said. "I think winning here in Game 5 got us excited again and got the momentum back. The last two games were tightly fought and amazing games."
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