The Detroit Red Wings have straddled both sides of the Playoff boarder for months as they try to extend their playoff streak to twenty-two straight seasons and as of now they sit in tenth place in the Eastern Conference.
Over the last few seasons, the Detroit Red Wings have been in the precarious position of possibly not being able to make the playoffs, but unlike the last two seasons, this one could end up much differently.
The Detroit Red Wings are hobbled with injuries at every position and it could cause them to miss the playoffs for the first time in twenty-two seasons.
The Red Wings are without captain Henrik Zetterberg for the rest of the season, and possibly the playoffs, and Pavel Datsyuk could end up in the same boat as Zetterberg, unless by some twist of fate he ends up returning before the end of the regular season.
Both players were integral parts of the Red Wings playoff push last season and in the last fourteen games of the season Zetterberg tallied sixteen points, while Datsyuk was only able to put up a modest fourteen points.
Now the Red Wings must lean on Gustav Nyquist – who has scored more goal than any other NHL player since January twentieth -, Tomas Tatar, Johan Franzen – who was integral to the Wings playoff push last season as well, but has been absent since his four point night against the Devils -, Daniel Alfredsson, and Jimmy Howard.
These players will have to lift the team and carry it into the playoffs because of all the injuries, but the Red Wings cannot use that as an excuse. The Wings have to go out onto the ice every night and play the hardest they can to secure a playoff spot.
Playoff are not a bonus, but an expectation for this team and injuries or not it will be a disappointment if they fail to make it.
The Red Wings are one point behind the ninth place Washington Capital and eighth place Columbus Blue Jackets, but those are not the only teams Detroit needs to worry about.
The New York Rangers are three points ahead of the Red Wings, while the Philadelphia Flyers are four points ahead and if either falls into the Wild Card, then they will be tough competitors for Detroit.
In the Atlantic division, the Toronto Maple Leafs are five points ahead of the Red Wings and currently hold the seventh playoff spot.
The Tampa Bay Lightning hold the third spot in the Atlantic and are six points ahead of Detroit, while the Montreal Canadiens are in control of the second spot in the Atlantic and are eight points ahead.
The best news for Red Wing fans is that the Wings have two games in hand against both the Maple Leafs and the Canadiens, which means the Wings have a chance of adding four extra points to their record that the other teams do not.
Tags: Detroit Red Wings