Detroit Sports

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Crunch Time

For the first time in a long time, the Detroit Red Wings are actually fighting for a playoff spot. In fact, the last time the Wings missed the playoffs was in 1990.

Red Wings' fans are not familiar with the Red Wings potentially missing the playoffs. Moreover, the Wings have arguably been the best NHL team in the last decade while winning four Stanley Cups since 1997. However, this season has been a struggle for the Wings. They are fighting for the eighth and final seed in their conference and have been floating near the bottom of the playoff standings all season.

The Red Wings had some injuries earlier this season that have hurt their playoff chances. Probably the biggest injury was losing Johan Franzen early in the season. Other injuries also plagued the team.

Interestingly, the Wings have been riding rookie goaltender Jimmy Howard throughout the season. He has played remarkably well for being thrown into the starting role. Howard has started mainly because former starter Chris Osgood has really had a brutal season statistically speaking.

Despite only holding unto the final playoff spot by three points over the Flames, the Wings are starting to play excellent at the right time in the season. The team has won seven of ten games, and just won a huge game over the Flames to keep them at a distance. Also, the Wings are completely healthy going down the final stretch of the season.

Is there any question that the Wings will not make the playoffs? I do not think so; the Wings simply know how to win and get the job done. They should not have a problem securing one of the final seeds. Although getting to the playoffs via the seventh or eighth would be unconvential for the Wings, they still have a great chance to make another deep run into the playoffs.

In fact, Wings' head coach Mike Babcock said it best a few days ago: "Wouldn't you love to draw us in the first round?"


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