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Playoff bubble watch — Red Wings edition

Mar 27, 2014, 12:13 PM EDT

Detroit Red Wings v Columbus Blue Jackets Getty Images

The Red Wings are 2-1-1 since we checked in on them last week, in which time their playoff chances have risen from 44.8 percent to 60.1 percent, according to Sports Club Stats.

Much of that improvement in Detroit’s odds can be attributed to Toronto’s free-fall, with a slight offset courtesy the Washington Capitals, who’ve given the Wings another team to worry about in the race.

On Tuesday, Detroit lost a pivotal game in Columbus, controversially falling 4-2 to the Jackets, the other team in the hunt for the pair of wild-card spots.

Tonight, the Wings are at home to Montreal. Saturday, they’re in Toronto to play the Leafs in what should be the biggest game of the season for both teams, to that point at least.

The rest of Detroit’s schedule is a bit of a mixed bag, with tough contests against Boston, Pittsburgh and St. Louis, but also a pair of games against the NHL-worst Sabres.

Everyone knows what’s on the line for the Wings — they’ve made the playoffs 22 straight times, by far the longest current streak in the NHL. But it’s more than history at stake. If Detroit can get into the playoffs, it could very conceivably do some damage as it gets healthier and healthier. Pavel Datsyuk should be back soon, and it sounds like Henrik Zetterberg could be back for the second round, if the Wings get there.

Add those two stars to a corps of forwards that already includes veterans Daniel Alfredsson, Johan Franzen and David Legwand, plus youngsters Gustav Nyquist and Tomas Tatar, and, well, that’s a pretty formidable corps of forwards, wouldn’t you say?

At this point, the Wings would probably take the playoffs any way they can get them; however, one would think they’d stand a better chance against their old Stanley Cup Final foes, the ailing Pittsburgh Penguins, than the Boston Bruins. In which case, beating out Columbus, Toronto, and Washington to snare the first wild-card spot may behoove them.

  1. bensawesomeness - Mar 27, 2014 at 12:30 PM

    One of the reasons I was so excited about moving to the Eastern Conference was the opportunity to play Pittsburgh more often in the playoffs – There’s definitely a bit of a rivalry going there, i’d be excited to see it renewed

    • c9castine - Mar 27, 2014 at 4:04 PM

      i like the way the two teams play against eachother. its really good hockey and typically very disciplined stategically.

  2. 0ffsides - Mar 27, 2014 at 12:37 PM

    I’m betting no one will want to play them if they do get in, especially when injured veterans become healthy again.

    • enollatsknarf - Mar 27, 2014 at 2:23 PM

      So you read the article too….

      • 0ffsides - Mar 27, 2014 at 9:02 PM

        Troll much you freakin tool?

  3. 4everwingsfan - Mar 27, 2014 at 2:50 PM

    Not sure I will be able to uncross my fingers after a while.

  4. c9castine - Mar 27, 2014 at 4:00 PM

    i picked them and columbus to make it a long time ago, and im going to stick with that.

    they have a somewhat decent footing right now as long as they keep winning more than losing, and getting ANYBODY back would help out.

  5. 13datsyuk13 - Mar 27, 2014 at 5:04 PM

    Tonight is on Jimmy Howard. If he can get a run going like he did last year we are in.

  6. penvik - Mar 27, 2014 at 6:09 PM

    The Penguins would gladly welcome the Zetterbergless Wings for round 1. Either them or Columbus is fine with me. I’d be more worried with Philly or Toronto to be honest. Rangers, jackets, wings, Canadians, lightning any day!! Boston, Philly no thanks

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