NHL: Red Wings Need to Finish Strong to Seize Playoff Spot

darren cooper
Darren Cooper
Detroit Red Wings Sport News


  • At the start of March, the Red Wings were firmly in a playoff spot, but two long losing streaks have them in the last spot out with eight games left to play.
  • The Red Wings are trying to end a seven-season streak without reaching the playoffs.
  • Injuries and poor defense have been the Wings undoing.

Does anyone want the final wild card spot in the NHL Eastern Conference? 

Each of the three contenders (maybe four if you want to count the New Jersey Devils) for the last spot are fading as the season reaches the final two weeks. Entering play Monday night, the Red Wings have 80 points and have lost four in a row and eight of their last 11. They trail Washington and Philadelphia by two points. The Islanders have 77 points.

This is a great time of year for sports betting in Michigan with the men and women’s Final Four coming up, plus the last couple of weeks of the NHL and NBA regular seasons. FanDuel has the Wings +150 to make the playoffs. Caesars will have point spread and puck line bets on every Wings game to the end, and hopefully, through the playoffs.

The Playoff Picture For the Wings 

The Wings played Tampa Bay Monday night desperately needing points with the Lightning pretty much already locked in to the top wild card spot in the East with 89 points.

Detroit is trying to get by the Flyers, who have lost seven of their last 10 games, and the only team in the pack that has been hot, the Capitals, who have won six of their last nine games. The Islanders trail the Wings with 77 points, but are 2-6 in their last eight games. And it may be too little too late for the Devils, who have 76 points.

Both the Islanders and Devils already fired their coach this season.

After playing the Lightning, the Wings will have seven games left, four at home, ending the season with a home and home against the Canadiens.

Losing Streaks  

One month ago, Red Wings fans could see the promised land. After a great surge, the Wings were in the top wild card spot and looked like they would finally break through and get back in the playoffs for the first time in seven seasons.

But the puck started bouncing the wrong way. Bad losses to the woeful Coyotes and an injury to captain Dylan Larkin came just at the wrong time and led to a seven-game losing streak. Since then, it’s been an uphill climb for Detroit. They entered Monday night’s game on another regulation losing streak, and have been outscored 12-5 in those four games.

No D in Detroit 

The Wings have scored 245 goals this season and now allowed 246. Larkin has 58 points in 60 games, but is -4 for the season. Left wing Lucas Raymond has a team-high 60 points, but is a whopping -20 on the ice.

Patrick Kane was signed to boost the offense and it has worked, with 41 points in 42 games.

Wings No. 1 goalie Ville Husso has been out with an injury since Valentines Day, and there’s no word on his return. Both back-ups Alex Lyon and James Reimer post an identical 3.03 goals against average. So the short version of the Wings season is they can’t outscore everyone every night.

Born and raised in Louisiana, Darren Cooper has a fond appreciation for bayous, Mardi Gras beads and the sports betting industry. Darren has worked for multiple print and online publications since 1998, primarily as a sports columnist in the Northeast. He’s covered a Super Bowl (it was a blowout), the World Series (same) and the NBA Draft (man, those guys are tall). For the last few years he’s dug deep into the sports gambling industry as it exploded across America, learning how the legal sausage is made and how while all the sportsbooks look the same, they all have different identities and styles. He’s learned to always bet within his means -- and take the under. When not in front of his computer creating, Darren spends time with his three boys. He runs, reads and is always looking for the next big thing to write about.