Detroit Red Wings Clinch Playoff Spot But Against Who


The Detroit Red Wings extended their playoff streak to 24 years on Thursday night by earning one point in an overtime loss to the Montreal Canadiens. The wigs clinched a chance to win Lord Stanley’s Cup by virtue of their point and a Boston Bruins loss. Not exactly how head coach Mike Babcock would draw it up but nevertheless the Wings are in and no one can change that.

Although the teams qualifying for the postseason are becoming more clear the bracket is still very much up in the air.  Boston’s loss did not eliminate them from playoff contention but it has put them in a very precarious position.  They must win in their last game and get some help in order to nab the 8th and final playoff spot. Pittsburgh is the other team in contention for the 8th spot and neither team can affect Detroit’s spot in the standings unless they advance.

The team to watch is the Ottawa Senators who just refuse to lose down the stretch.  If the Senators win their final game they could leap-frog the Wings  in the Eastern Conference standings.

Here are the two most likely playoff scenarios for the Red Wings.

  • A Red Wings win on Saturday will clinch them the sixth spot in the Eastern Conference playoffs and likely date with the third seeded Tampa Bay Lighting.  The Wings would also clinch the sixth seed regardless of the score if the Senators lose their final game.
  • A Wings win on Saturday coupled with a Lightning win and a Montreal loss would pit the Canadiens and Wings in a first round original six match-up.
  • A Wings loss and a Senators win on Saturday would put Detroit in the seventh spot and a likely match-up against the second seeded Canadiens (if they win).
  • There is also an unlikely scenario that has the Red Wings jumping into the fifth seed but that involves the Islanders losing their final two games.

All of this uncertainty makes Saturday night must see TV for any hockey fan.  The Wings draw the Carolina Hurricanes in the final game of the season.  The biggest question remaining is whether Mike Babcock will rest his players for the coming playoff run or will he try to better his team’s playoff position by going for the win.  The answer of course depends on whether Babcock would rather face Tampa Bay or Montreal.