The Detroit Red Wings are in unfamiliar territory this season by being in 8th place and they are fighting to stay in the playoff picture.
Detroit currently sits in eighth place, but right behind them in the standings are the Dallas Stars, the Columbus Blue Jackets, and the Phoenix Coyotes; who are all trying to make the playoffs as well. With only six games remaining in the season for the Red Wings and needing at least 53 to 54 points, every game matters.
Their final games are against Calgary, Vancouver, Phoenix, Los Angeles, Nashville, and Dallas. The Wings have not been able to best Calgary this season having gone 0-2, but third time is the charm right? The Wings have trounced Vancouver twice though and will need to do so again, hopefully Luongo will be in net. The Detroit/Phoenix, Detroit/Los Angeles, and Detroit/Dallas series are all even at 1-1, but the biggest game of these will be the one against Dallas.
Detroit plays the Stars, in Dallas, to close out the season and with the Stars only two points behind the Red Wings in the standings it could have huge playoff implications. The Stars have a game in hand against the Red Wings and currently hold two tiebreakers, one being overall wins and the other regulation overtime wins.
The Wings better not discount the Blue Jackets or Coyotes though.
Columbus is only two points behind the Wings as well, but Detroit does hold the tiebreaker against them, which means Columbus will have to be a point up on the Wings at the end of the season.
The Coyotes are four points behind the Wings and Detroit holds the tiebreaker against them as well. Despite the fact that they sold off a few pieces at the trade deadline they are still be a dangerous team and Detroit cannot afford to underestimate anyone.
Tonight there are three games which will impact the Red Wings chances of making the playoffs; the Stars take on the Blackhawks and could once again overtake Detroit in the standings, Columbus plays Colorado, and Phoenix faces of against San Jose.
All three of these games will either help or hurt the playoff chances of the Red Wings, but the team cannot worry about what they cannot control. The Wings need to focus on their games and winning as many of them as possible.
Steve Yzerman said, “It’s obvious that finishing first doesn’t guarantee anything. I don’t think where you finished in the standings is tremendously important in the playoffs.”
This is more true in today’s game than when he said it. Los Angeles won as an eighth seed just last season and while I do not believe the Red Wings have a Stanley Cup team, anything can happen in the playoffs.