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The Daily: Penguins’ Streak in Jeopardy; Red Wings’ Season Best Since 2015-16

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Olli Maatta, Red Wings

If the Detroit Red Wings earn at least one point over their last five games, then this season will be the franchise’s best since it last qualified for the playoffs in 2015-16.

Detroit’s recent surge has boosted their point total to 79 points. That’s five points better than last season. Their points percentage is .513. If the Red Wings keep it above .500, it would be the first time they’ve done that duringthe rebuild.

Does any of this matter? They are still missing the playoffs for the seventh consecutive season. Some fans are disappointed that this late surge could take them out of the Connor Bedard Lottery. But even when they were eighth from the bottom, the Red Wings only had a six percent chance of winning the lottery. But now they are 11th from the bottom, they are at three percent. Another win or two could mean they will have no shot at Bedard. Under the new rules, teams can only move up 10 spots.

But players believe this progress matters. After the Red Wings shut out Montreal 5-0, both veterans David Perron and Olli Maatta said it matters to keep playing the right way until the end. The fact they believe the team is making progress is important. Rebuilds are not entirely about younger players.

“They’ve been consistent all year,” Coach Derek Lalonde said. “We talk about how important all our free-agent signings have been and how it’s pushing us to take another step and those two guys who are absolute professionals. Their work ethic on the ice, their work ethic in practice, they’re great examples for us. As we’re trying to build this, they’ve been two pretty important pieces.”

Red Wings In Case You Missed It

David Perron doesn’t want to forget the lesson learned from this late-season surge: With a few wins earlier, the Red Wings would have been in the playoff hunt.

Marco Kasper didn’t play against Montreal because of a lower body injury. There’s hope he may be ready to play Thursday.

Goalie Ville Husso looked sharp, posting a shutout against Montreal, in his first game back after two weeks on the injured list.

Red Wings’ Next Game

The Red Wings (35-33-9) will be home to face the Buffalo Sabres Thursday at Little Caesars Arena.  The Red Wings have won four of their last four games, with wins over the Pittsburgh Penguins, Carolina Hurricanes, Toronto Maple Leafs and Montreal Canadiens. Detroit’s offensive production has been five goals per game in those victories. Coach Derek Lalonde’s team has outscored opponents 20-8 in those wins.

Hockey Now Network

Boston: Hockey Now: Does Garnet Hathaway have a future with the Bruins beyond this season? He’s not thinking about that. Boston Bruins.

Colorado: The Colorado Avalanche clinched a playoff spot and took over first in the Central Division with an OT win Tuesday night. Colorado Avalanche

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Florida: Former Yale goalie Alex Lyon has been the unlikely hero of the Panthers’ run at making the playoffs for a fourth consecutive season. Florida Panthers.

Montreal: Marc Dumont writes about how the Canadiens didn’t show up for an embarrassing loss to the Red Wings. Montreal Canadiens.

Philadelphia: Interim general manager Daniel Briere’s son, Carson, was dismissed from his Mercyhurst college hockey team. Philadelphia Flyers.

Pittsburgh: Penguins’ 16-season playoff streak in jeopardy after loss to the New Jersey Devils. Pittsburgh Penguins. 

San Jose: The Sharks keep finding ways to pick up points. They now have points in four consecutive games. San Jose Sharks. 

Vegas: Rookie Pavel Dorofeyev is making it difficult for coach Bruce Cassidy to pull him out  of the lineup again. [Vegas Golden Knights