The Red Wings finished the season on a tear winning their last four game to clinch the seventh seed in the Western Conference. A great position for a team that was nearly dead two weeks ago.
It was then that Detroit had dropped to 10th place in the Western Conference and it looked as if they would miss the Stanley Cup playoffs for the first time in 21 years. Although they were seemingly out of contention, the remaining schedule favored them. All they had to do was win. And they did win. With their backs against the boards they pulled off a miracle finish. Well a miracle to some but the die-hard Detroit Red Wings fans never lost confidence that they would extend the teams historic playoff streak
There are a number of ways to explain the Red Wing revival.
- They got healthy – The Wings stars took turns on the injury list throughout the season making it difficult for the Red Wings goal scorers to get any kind of momentum and establish any consistency.
- Battle tested – Quite often teams have to experience adversity in order to progress to the next level. Maybe the pressure of what were essentially elimination games down the stretch helped the wings regain their edge.
- Leadership – The Detroit Red Wings leaders really stepped forward and accepted different roles when needed. Captain Henrik Zetterberg is normally a goal scorer changed his game and became an assist machine down the stretch. It is his first year as Captain and in a strike shortened season it took a little time for him to understand how to lead his team.
- Perfect Storm – All of these factors converged in the last two weeks of the regular season. Perfect timing for a team on the brink. Some teams would have failed but this team responded.
When the Wings clinched the seventh seed they got a much better draw in the first round. They are 2-1 against Anaheim in the season series and both of the wins came on the road at Anaheim’s Honda Arena. While the Wings were fighting to get into the playoffs, the Ducks were waddling across the finish line losing 5 of their last 8 to end the regular season. As far as momentum goes the Detroit Red Wings certainly have it.
Everything has fallen into place for the Wings to advance to the second round. With the resurgence of the Red Wings offense and solid play by netminder Jimmy Howard the Detroit Red Wings should have little trouble skating past the Ducks. Look for the Wings to win the series in five games.
You can catch the game on Fox Sports Detroit starting at 10:30pm following the Tigers game. And keep logging on to Detroit Jock City for all the latest Red Wings playoff news and views.