The Detroit Red Wings (23-18-11) picked up five points in four games this week and shoved their way back into the 8th seed in the Eastern Conference. With only 30 games left on the schedule every point is crucial. Five teams (Columbus, Philadelphia, New Jersey, Ottawa, and Washington) are all within three points of the last wildcard spot currently occupied by the Wings.
Here’s a look back at the key moments from last week that helped the Wings get to this point.
+ The Goose is Loose (Part 2)
Gustav Nyquist didn’t waste any time making a great first impression on November 21st when he scored 17 seconds into his first game of the season . And for good measure he even tacked on the game winning goal later in the 3rd period.
However, since his debut Nyquist has fallen off the radar. Before this week (and taking out his first game) his numbers were rather concerning: 22 games, 3 goals, 6 assists, and a -1 plus/minus. That’s a drastic slump for a skilled player like Nyquist.
Nyquist’s stats this week: 4 games, 4 goals, 2 assists, and a +3 rating. In other words, Gus is back! He will look to keep his 4 game goal streak and 5 game point streak alive tonight in Philadelphia.
The hard fought shootout victory over the Chicago Blackhawks on Wednesday deserves its own plus mark.
- Flopping Against Florida
Six minutes left in the 3rd period up two goals. In most scenarios, that’s a win for the Red Wings. That wasn’t the case on Sunday as the Florida Panthers rallied to score two goals (including a short-handed goal) to send the game into overtime. Then, in a shootout, they shut the Wings down to steal a 5-4 victory.
If the Red Wings don’t make the playoffs, then here is one point they gave away.
+/- Rating = +1
Last week I wrote that the Wings need at least half of the 8 points available from this past week to “keep pace in the Eastern Conference.” Would you look at that, they get 5 points and hold on to the last playoff spot in the East by a single point.
The same can be said again about this week. The Wings will need to grab 3 (or more) points from the upcoming 3 games in order to just “keep pace.”
January 28: @ Philadelphia Flyers
7:00PM EST on Fox Sports Detroit
Standings: (25-22-6) 5th Metropolitan Division, 10th Eastern Conference
Last Meeting against the Red Wings: Dec. 4, 2013 at Detroit/Red Wings 3 – Flyers 6
Prediction: Whatever happens here sets the tone for the double-header against the Washington Capitals. I honestly don’t want to make a prediction in fear of jinxing the result, but here goes nothing. Flyers 2 – Red Wings 3.
For a more in-depth preview for tonight’s game: Detroit Red Wings: Tuesday night’s matchup.
January 31: Vs. Washington Capitals
7:30PM EST on Fox Sports Detroit
February 2: @ Washington Capitals
12:30PM EST on NBC
Standings: (23-21-8) 7th Metropolitan Division, 13th Eastern Conference
Last Meeting against the Red Wings: Nov. 15, 2013 at Detroit/Red Wings 3 – Capitals 4 in a SO
Prediction: A home and away showdown with Alex Ovechkin. Washington enters the week three points behind the Wings. So, while winning both games would help immensely, I would be content with 2 points regardless of how the Wings get them. Game 1: Red Wings 1 – Capitals 4. Game 2: Capitals 2 – Red Wings 3.
After the Olympic Games in Sochi the NHL playoff picture will be front and center, but for now, the Wings need to hunker down and keep fighting. As scary as it sounds, they are just one lengthy losing streak away from snapping the longest consecutive playoff appearance streak in professional sports at 22 seasons.
That puts a lot of added pressure on the guys because they don’t want to be the ones to break the streak. But, it’s not like this is new territory for the Wings. Hockeytown heard it all last season when they had to win four straight games to get into the playoffs.
The way things are looking now, the Red Wings are going to need another strong finish to keep the streak alive for a 23rd season.
Read more Red Wings rumors, news and opinion on our Detroit Red Wings page.