A historic run by the Detroit Red Wings might be coming to an end. As the Red Wings battle with the Columbus Blue Jackets, St. Louis Blues and Dallas Stars for one of the few remaining playoff spots in the West, the team is fully aware that by failing to reach the playoffs they'll end a streak of consecutive playoff appearances which began back in 1990.
Detroit's run of consecutive appearances has stretched across four NHL work stoppages, including one strike and three lockouts. Since failing to qualify in the 1989-90 season, the Red Wings have hoisted the Cup a remarkable four times. Their run is the longest current streak in the NHL and by a considerable margin. San Jose is second on the list with eight consecutive appearances.
As of Thursday morning, the Red Wings were on the outside looking in with 47 points in 43 games, trailing the Columbus Blue Jackets by two points for the eighth and final spot.
The good news for Detroit is that they still fully control their own playoff destiny – for now. They have one game in hand over the Blue Jackets and play three of their final five games on home ice. If it came down to a tie with the Blue Jackets for the final spot, Detroit would move on due to the fact they've won more games in regulation.
The bad news for the Red Wings is that they are picking a horrible time of the year to play mediocre hockey. Over their last 10 games, the Red Wings have an ugly 3-5-2 record. Their offense is sputtering and the team's power play has slipped to 16th in the NHL. The defense has been questionable all season long and continues to get exposed on almost a nightly basis.
Is it curtains for the Red Wings' streak? It's far too early to rule them out, especially when you have talented skaters such as Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg. However, given the team's recent form and Columbus' recent surge, things aren't looking good in Hockeytown.