It wasn’t long ago that the Detroit Red Wings had lost six straight games and looked like a confused, beaten team. The Wings have looked better since then, but have still showed signs of shakiness that was not present during the team’s 23-game home winning streak.
I’m here to tell you to throw all that out the window.
Now, it’s playoff time, a time where the Detroit Red Wings have been just as good as any team in NHL history. With 11 Stanley Cups, the Wings have won it all more than any other team save two. Only Montreal and Toronto have won the Cup more, but neither has won since 1993. Detroit has won it four times since then.
The Red Wings are the team that nobody wants to see come playoffs, the team that is always there and always competitive. This year is no different, as Detroit spent a significant amount of time atop the NHL. The Wings boast an NHL-best 31-7-3 home record this season, making Joe Louis Arena a place that any team not wearing the Winged Wheel will fear.
And did I mention Pavel Datsyuk? Datsyuk has been a cut above the rest this year, and has the skills to carry Detroit deep into the postseason. As long as Detroit has Datsyuk, they have a chance to win it all.
The Red Wings have shown me some good things the past few games. Since losing to Nashville 4-1 on March 30th, Detroit hasn’t allowed more than two goals in a game. The defense has been shored up, which is something that killed the Wings during their slide.
On top of the talented Datsyuk and the improved play of a finally healthy defense, the Red Wings have showed a team with heart and experience. After falling behind 2-0 in St. Louis, Detroit was able to rally against the best defensive team in the NHL, scoring twice in the final six minutes to force overtime. The Wings went on to win in a shootout when Todd Bertuzzi scored a marvelous game winner.
Then, again today against Chicago, the Wings found themselves down 2-0 into the third period, but Datsyuk came through with more late-game heroics, scoring the tying goal with just 45 seconds left. It wasn’t as dramatic as his incredible game-winner vs Nashville earlier this year, but Datsyuk was once again in the right place at the right time.
The Wings were unable to win the shootout, but showed me that they won’t stop fighting in the face of adversity.
The Red Wings earned the five seed, and will play the very familiar Nashville Predators in the first round this year. I fully expect Detroit to bring their best game for this series, and I’d bet on them to win. Their talent is exceptional and their experience unmatched, two reasons why this Detroit team is right with the other great teams that have won the Cup in recent years.
What to watch for
It’s playoff time, and with Lord Stanley’s Cup once again up for grabs, few teams play better than Detroit. I look for them to get the series started off right in Nashville- expect the Wings to win one in Nashville’s barn
Playoff schedule TBA
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