1950sTed Lindsay, Gordie Howe and Sid Abel terrorized the NHL as members of the "Production Line", Red Kelly became the NHL's top offensive defensemen and Jack Stewart provided more physical play on the blue line before being traded after Detroit won the 1950 Stanley Cup. The Red Wings can thank Pete Babando for that triumph as he tallied the clinching goal eight minutes and thirty-one seconds into the second over-time period in game 7 to defeat the New York Rangers 4-3.
Detroit proved to be a talented and deep squad in the 1950 playoffs when Howe suffered a serious head injury in Game 1 of the first-round playoff series against the Toronto Maple Leafs. Howe almost died and would miss the remainder of the playoffs, but he was out of the hospital in time to join his teammates for the on-ice celebration after Babando's goal in Game 7. The first round of the 1950 playoffs had also featured overtime heroics as Leo Reise scored the OT winner in both Games 4 and 7.
Veteran goaltender Harry Lumley backstopped Detroit to the 1950 Stanley Cup victory. But Terry Sawchuk was so impressive in a seven-game call-up from the minors while Lumley was injured, that Lumley was traded to the Chicago Blackhawks before the 1950-51 season to make room for Sawchuk.
Other future Red Wing greats arrived during this period. Defenseman Marcel Pronovost was with the team during the 1949-50 season, but didn't play. He made his Detroit ice debut the following season along with Alex Delvecchio.
Sawchuk staged one of the greatest performances in Stanley Cup playoff history when Detroit captured the 1950 Stanley Cup. He only allowed five goals in eight games as the Red Wings swept both the Toronto Maple Leafs and Montréal Canadiens in four games. Even more incredibly, Sawchuk didn't give up a single goal in any of the four games played at Olympia Stadium.
That was also the first appearance of an octopus on Detroit ice at a hockey game. The eight tentacles represented the eight games that a team needed to win to capture the Stanley Cup.
Another significant event came during the first round of the 1952 playoffs. After Lindsay and Howe had received death threats if they played in Game 4 in Toronto, both played and the Wings' won to end the series. After the game, Lindsay playfully chided the Toronto fans when he skated to center ice and held his stick like a machine gun and pretended to shoot the crowd.
The 1953-54 season was Ivan's last as a coach and the Red Wings gave him a grand send off with their third cup in five seasons. The Wings then repeated as Cup champs the next season in Jimmy Skinner's first season behind the Detroit bench. The Red Wings defeated the Montreal Canadiens in the finals both seasons, winning in five games in 1954, thanks to Tony Leswick's OT goal in Game 5, and in seven games in 1955.
After dropping the 1956 finals to the Canadiens in five games, it seemed that the Red Wings' dynasty would go on for the near future but questionable trades by Adams gutted the team of many good and great players.
Stars like Sawchuk, Lindsay, Kelly and young players like Glenn Hall and Johnny Bucyk were traded from 1955 to 1960 and the team got little in return. Sawchuk did return to Detroit, but one of the players sent to the Bruins to reacquire him was Bucyk, who went on to become one of the best left wings in NHL history.