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Hometown boy hits it big with Wings

Thursday, 06.5.2008 / 3:07 AM ET / News
By Michael Caples  - Detroit Red Wings Staff Writer
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Hometown boy hits it big with Wings
PITTSBURGH -- All it took was a little magic from the hometown kid.

Brian Rafalski, who grew up minutes from Joe Louis Arena in suburban Dearborn, thought he had the Stanley Cup-clinching goal in Game 5. To make up for it, he scored right out of the gate in Game 6. 

Rafalski’s fourth goal of the playoffs gave the Red Wings the all-important first goal in Game 6. Taking a pass from Henrik Zetterberg, he skated it in towards the Penguins goal, and fired a wrist shot into the back of the net.

“Yeah that was great for us, to get a score and take the edge off of things, and give us the lead,” Rafalski said. “Put them behind the eight ball a little bit, put some pressure on them, and then (Chris Osgood) responded and played great.”

Valtteri Filppula scored in the second, and Zetterberg scored in the third as the Red Wings marched to a 3-2 victory en route to their fourth Stanley Cup title in 11 years.

“It’s a dream come true … grew up watching, and wishing, and hoping, and to finally have it realized,” Rafalski said,  “it’s phenomenal, it’s a great feeling. My family in town, and everybody, I’m part of the Red Wings now.”
 
Rafalski, who grew-up cheering for the Red Wings, learned the game on youth teams at Melvindale’s local ice arena. He attended Southfield (Mich.) Christian High School, and some years later, he found his way back home, just in time to win a Stanley Cup with his hometown team.

The 34-year-old took a round-about way to get to this moment. Having not been drafted, the University of Wisconsin graduate traveled to Europe, where he played a season in Sweden and four in Finland. New Jersey signed Rafalski in 1999, and he totaled five goals and 27 assists in his first season. In his seven seasons with the Devils, the right-handed defenseman accumulated 44 goals and 267 assists with an astounding plus-100 rating. Along the way, his name was engraved on the Stanley Cup – twice, in 2000 and 2002. 

“This is what I wanted,” said Rafalski, who signed as a free agent with the Wings last July. “This is the whole reason, and for our family, put the other jerseys in the back of the closet, we all wear red and white with pride. It got a little tight at the end, but we played hard, and Ozzie played great, and it was a great win.”

Rafalski had 13 goals and 42 assists in the regular-season, finished second in playoff scoring amongst defensemen with 14 points, one behind teammate Niklas Kronwall.


SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - WSH 82 56 18 8 252 193 120
2 x - PIT 82 48 26 8 245 203 104
3 y - FLA 82 47 26 9 239 203 103
4 x - NYR 82 46 27 9 236 217 101
5 x - NYI 82 45 27 10 232 216 100
6 x - TBL 82 46 31 5 227 201 97
7 x - PHI 82 41 27 14 214 218 96
8 x - DET 82 41 30 11 211 224 93
9 BOS 82 42 31 9 240 230 93
10 CAR 82 35 31 16 198 226 86
11 OTT 82 38 35 9 236 247 85
12 NJD 82 38 36 8 184 208 84
13 MTL 82 38 38 6 221 236 82
14 BUF 82 35 36 11 201 222 81
15 CBJ 82 34 40 8 219 252 76
16 TOR 82 29 42 11 198 246 69

STATS

2015-2016 PLAYOFFS
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
T. Tatar 5 0 3 1 3
M. Green 5 1 1 -1 2
A. Athanasiou 5 1 0 1 1
G. Nyquist 5 1 0 2 1
H. Zetterberg 5 1 0 3 1
J. Abdelkader 5 1 0 -3 1
B. Richards 5 1 0 -4 1
D. Helm 5 1 0 -1 1
D. Larkin 5 1 0 -2 1
N. Kronwall 5 0 1 3 1
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
P. Mrazek 1 2 0 .945 1.36
J. Howard 0 2 0 .891 3.59