The Detroit Red Wings are currently holding onto 8th place in the Western Conference with 43 points and a 19-15-5 record. Only four points separate Detroit from 4th place, but at the same time it, also, separates them from 12th place.
The current Standings show that only Columbus has one fewer game remaining than the Red Wings, but they are only 2 points behind the Wings and climbing fast. The Blues have 1 point more than the Wings, but have 2 games in hand and only the Stars have a game in hand as well.
|Standing||Team||Wins||Losses||OT Losses||Games Remaining|
|7||St. Louis Blues||21||14||2||11|
|8||Detroit Red Wings||19||15||5||9|
|9||Columbus Blue Jackets||17||16||7||8|
Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg will be heavly leaned on over the next nine games in order for the Wings to make the playoffs and have been solid contributers at the seasons end. Over the past two seasons Datsyuk put up 7 points in his last nine games and in both seasons he had short period where he had no points. Zetterberg has been better than Datsyuk post 10 points last season and 9 the year before, but last season he had only 1 point in his last 5 games.
The Wings will once against rely heavily on Jimmy Howard who has been solid this season for the team and he gets even better in his last few games of the season. Last season in April he was 2-1-1, but only surrendered a maximum of 2 goals in a game and had a save percentage of over .905 in each game; in fact in one game his SV% was .964. During the 2010-11 season, Howard went 3-2 during the month of April. Howard gave up 15 goals in those games, but only once did his SV% dip below .900. Howard will have to be big in net over the nest nine games.
According to SportsClubStats the Red Wings will need 57 points to all but guarantee a playoff spot, but if they do not their chances of making their 22nd playoff appearance in a row starts to diminish. There are a few way the Wings will be able to accomplish the goal of making the playoffs as you can see in the picture to the left, but if the Wings think they can win games based on skill alone they will be golfing soon.
I doubt that the Red Wings will be able to win 7 games or be able to get a point off form each game, but a four to 5 wins should be doable. Over the next nine games the Red Wings play 3 teams currently in the playoffs (Chicago, Vancouver, Los Angeles) and 3 teams in the playoff hunt (Phoenix, Nashville, Dallas), only the Calgary game will not have any playoff implication for both teams.
You might say, “Hey, that is only 8 games and you said Detroit had 9 games remaining.” Well The Red Wings play, the Erat less, Nashville Predators twice.
The Detroit Red Wings know what they have to do to make the playoffs, but knowing is only half the battle, maybe even less than that on the ice, and will have to start playing Red Wing hockey if they want to keep the streak alive.