Connect with us

Detroit Red Wings

Handicapping The Race: Teams Not Taking Advantage of Red Wings Slide

Detroit clinging to playoff position



Red Wings action
Even though they're 1-8 in the past nine games, the Red Wings remain a playoff team.

The skid continues for the Detroit Red Wings. Amazingly, so does their grasp on a playoff position.

Despite going 1-8 over their past nine games, the Red Wings are still the holders of the second wild card spot in the NHL’s Eastern Conference. Thanks to the indifferent play of those chasing Detroit, the Red Wings remain above the line.

However, were they to glance into the rear-view mirror, the Wings would discover a crowded picture.

Sitting with 74 points, Detroit is a scant point ahead of both the Washington Capitals and New York Islanders. The Red Wings have played 68 games, compared to 66 for the Capitals and 67 for the Islanders.

Further back, the Pittsburgh Penguins (69 points), Buffalo Sabres (69) and New Jersey Devils (68) are on the outskirts of the race, but hope for each of those clubs is fading fast. Buffalo’s 4-1 loss at Detroit on Saturday dealt the playoff chances of the Sabres a severe blow. Beating the Red Wings on Sunday, the Penguins are at least keeping themselves in the conversation.

Let’s look to the week ahead as the Red Wings chase for a playoff spot.

Detroit Red Wings (34-28-6, 74 points)

Games This Week: Tuesday vs Columbus, Thursday vs New York Islanders, Saturday at Nashville.

Familiar ugly traits, such as slow starts, are plaguing the Red Wings. Coach Derek Lalonde is well aware of this ongoing issue, which again impacted them in Sunday’s loss at Pittsburgh.

“We could have managed our game much better,” Lalonde told Bally Sports Detroit. “That first period got away from us because we hand-delivered those four minutes on the power play.

“We just didn’t have legs. It showed. I think we had some moments where we had some jump and some effort, but not consistent enough on the road against a team like that.”

It’s been nine games since Alex DeBrincat was scoring a goal for Detroit, and seven games without a win for goalie Alex Lyon.

Washington Capitals (32-25-9, 73 points)

Games This Week: Monday at Calgary; Wednesday vs Toronto, Friday vs Carolina, Sunday vs Winnipeg

The Capitals are 2-2 on their five-game Western road trip, which is concluding tonight in Calgary. A win there would move Washington ahead of the Red Wings. The Capitals have won two in a row. Since a 5-2 home-ice loss to the Arizona Coyotes, Washington has gone 4-2.

The Caps begin a four-game homestand on Wednesday that concludes with a March 26 date against the Red Wings.

New York Islanders (29-23-15, 73 points)

Games This Week: Tuesday vs Carolina, Thursday at Detroit, Saturday vs Winnipeg, Sunday vs New Jersey

Recently the NHL’s hottest team, the Islanders are enduring a slide of their own. They are 0-3-1 in their past four games.

“I saw a team that played better than us,” Islanders coach Patrick Roy told NYI Hockey Now following Sunday’s 5-2 loss to the crosstown Rangers.

With three home games and a road date at Detroit, it could be a defining week for the Isles and their pursuit of the playoffs.