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On This Date in Sports May 16, 1996: Stevie Y in Overtime

The Detroit Red Wings knock off the St. Louis Blues with a 1-0 win in double overtime in Game 7 at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit to advance to the Conference Finals. The Red Wings win the game on a goal by Steve Yzerman 75 seconds into the fifth period, ending a tense scoreless game. The Red Wings came into the game after having 131 points and winning the President's Trophy, while the Blues hoped the acquisition of Wayne Gretzky at the trade deadline would boost their playoff hopes. The Red Wings' season would end in the Western Conference Finals, as they were stunned by the Colorado Avalanche in six games. 

After losing to the New Jersey Devils in the 1995 Stanley Cup Finals, the Detroit Red Wings continued their reign at the top of the Western Conference, posting one of the best seasons in NHL history at 62-13-7. The 62 wins set a new single-season record previously held by the Montreal Canadiens in 1977. It was the second straight President's Trophy for Scottie Bowman's Wings, seeking to win the Stanley Cup for the first time since 1955. The Red Wings needed six games to beat the Winnipeg Jets in the first round. The Jets were relocating to Phoenix following the season. 

The St.Louis Blues, coached by Mike Keenan, were in the middle of the pack in the Western Conference. Looking for a boost, they made the bold decision to acquire Wayne Gretzky from the Los Angeles Kings at the trade deadline. The Blues would qualify fifth in the Western Conference with a record of 32-34-16 as they struggled following the trade. However, they turned things up when the playoffs began, beating the Toronto Maple Leafs in six games to advance to the second round. 

In the opener, Detroit defeated St. Louis 3-2 on a goal by Sergei Fedorov with just over two minutes remaining in regulation. The Red Wings would take a 2-0 series lead with an 8-3 win. The Blues got back in the series with a 5-4 overtime win in Game 3 in St. Louis, overcoming a natural hat trick by Steve Yzerman as Igor Kravchuk scored at 3:23 of sudden death. The Blues got a 1-0 win in Game 4 to even the series as Wayne Gretzky had his first goal of the postseason, and Jon Casey saved all 29 shots. The Blues would take a 3-2 series lead, winning Game 5 in Detroit 3-2. However, the Red Wings won 4-2 in St. Louis to set up a dramatic seventh game. 

Game 7 was a battle of the goalies at Joe Louis Arena, as the game was scoreless at the end of regulation. One overtime period would not be enough, as the first sudden-death period saw Jon Casey and Chris Osgood continue to keep the pucks out of the net. Just over a minute into the second overtime period, Steve Yzerman took control of the puck away from Wayne Gretzky in the neutral zone and let loose a slap shot just past the blue line to beat Casey to win the game and the series 1-0.

The Red Wings would lose to the Colorado Avalanche in six games in one of the most intense series in NHL history, giving berth to a new rivalry.