There has only been a handful of times over the years that I've truly had cause for concern about the Detroit Red Wings going into the playoffs. This year happens to be one of them, maybe not the whole year, but their play as of late has been lack luster at best. These late injuries to (Pavel) Datsyuk, (Nicklas) Lidstrom,(Jimmy) Howard and (Todd) Bertuzzi haven't helped matters, although everyone should be healthy come playoff time. In the last 10 games the Wings are (5-4-1), that stat might look ok, on the other hand it's below average from this fans perspective. 3 of the 5 wins came during the remarkable home winning streak, the other 2 were against the Columbus Bluejackets and Minnesota Wild. With losses to Vancouver (heart breaking), Dallas, Chicago (2x) and Philadelphia. In the last !0 games the Red Wings PK has been outstanding, allowing 3 goals on 35 penalties. That being said, it's the PP that has been the Achilles Heel, with a dismal 4-47, that's shocking in it's self. Now here's the kicker, the PP unit has allowed 4 SHG, one of them being the deciding factor in the Wings recent loss to the Flyers on Tuesday night. By no means are the Wings going to miss the playoffs this year, conversely Mike Babcock must remedy this Wings PP moving forward, he has 15 games to do so.
With all NHL teams ramping up their intensity for the playoffs, teams that are fighting for a playoff spot are pretty much playing playoff hockey now. Top teams in the Western Conference will not have an easy road through this years playoffs. With the likes of the Red Wings, Canucks, Blues and Predators getting their systems ready, the Kings, Sharks, Avalanche, Flames, Ducks and even the Wild are all surging looking for a spot in the post season. This makes those teams very dangerous. With no more then 17 games remaining in the regular season, some teams will be getting ready, some will be ready for playoffs. I just hope the Detroit Red Wings will be in the later group.
The one thing I'm not worried about is, "The Red Wings know how to win and what it takes to win".
The last week of the season should be very interesting, who's in who's out. That's when the Red Wings will go in with a game plan. One thing is for certain, there isn't a true Cup contender coming out of the Western Conference just yet.
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