Detroit — Bound For the Playoffs?


Credit: AP Photo – Paul Sancya

Duncan Bradford (he/him), Staff Writer

More than halfway through the season, and the playoff picture in the National Hockey League (NHL) is solidifying itself as the standings evolve. The Eastern Conference has been an absolute powerhouse this season, with the Atlantic and Metro Divisions’ top six teams leading the league in overall points percentage.

It’s a total scramble for the two Eastern Wild Card spots as six different teams, the Red Wings included, sit between 64-69 points, shy of the New York Rangers 77. This is the closest Detroit has been to a playoff position in the past six seasons after losing the First Round to the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2016. Tampa recently blanked Detroit 3-0 at home in a devastating loss. Detroit finished last season with a total of 74 points — compared to 64, at this point, with 26 fewer games played.

Detroit could leapfrog to the second Wild Card spot with consecutive wins against the Ottawa Senators on Monday, Feb. 27 and Tuesday, Feb. 28. Detroit has games in hand on the New York Islanders and one in hand on the Pittsburgh Penguins, sitting at 69 and 67 points, respectively. The Islanders and Penguins both play on Feb. 28, so it’s ideal for the Red Wings if they both drop their games.

The Red Wings face off against the Senators at the Canadian Tire Centre this afternoon, Feb. 27, at 4:00 PM PST, and again tomorrow at the same time. With Detroit sitting three points out of the playoffs, this two-game series could make or break their season. Ottawa is 6-3-1 in their last ten games, the Red Wings are 7-3. Catch the games on Power Play via ESPN+.

Second-year forward, Lucas Raymond, is the player to watch as he returns from an injury sustained during a practice skate with the team. His return to the lineup offers a welcome boost to the team’s offensive prowess as he lands on the second line. Raymond has 15 goals and 33 points in 50 games this season for the Red Wings.

With forward Michael Rasmussen out, suffering a lower body injury against the Lightning, the Wings are still missing some valuable depth at center. The trade deadline is Friday, March 3, 2023. If General Manager, Steve Yzerman, is hoping to make a move for a battle-proven center, it’s likely to happen sooner than later as the Red Wings look to continue their run.