Mar 26, 2012, 10:33 PM EDT
In a way, it only makes sense that the Detroit Red Wings clinched a playoff berth for the mind-blowing 21st time in a row by demolishing the Columbus Blue Jackets 7-2. That disparity makes many statements, but the most telling one is that the Red Wings make it easy, but the Blue Jackets prove that it’s not.
An incredible legacy
Because of the lockout, that means the Red Wings have made the playoffs every season since they finished fifth in the Norris in 1989-90. To give you some perspective on that accomplishment, Detroit hasn’t missed the playoffs in Taylor Hall‘s lifetime.
Meanwhile, the Blue Jackets have made one playoff appearance since their franchise was founded and remain without a single postseason victory.
It brings about all kinds of questions. Is Detroit’s two-decade reign of dominance the most impressive in the history of salary cap sports (there’s a serious argument)? Considering the fact that the Red Wings didn’t have the significant advantages of teams from the Montreal Canadiens’ days, is this the greatest run for any NHL team considering context?
The immediate future
Those are all interesting – if totally subjective – debates to have, but the more immediate question is: how much of an impact can the Red Wings make this year?
The St. Louis Blues look pretty close to wrapping up the Central Division at this point, but that doesn’t mean the Red Wings have little to fight for. Considering Detroit’s jarring disparity in home vs. road work,* a likely first round series against the Nashville Predators would be significantly easier if the Red Wings captured the fourth seed.
Sure, it’s been an up-and-down season in which the Red Wings (seemingly) have shown their age a bit based on the injuries that are piling up, but even now, it would be a bad idea to count out Detroit.
Teams haven’t been able to do that for more than two decades, after all.
* – The Red Wings are 30-5-2 at home and 16-20-3 on the road.
Here are highlights of the game, which are heavy on beautiful Red Wings goals:This video is no longer available. Click here to watch more NBC Sports videos!
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