The playoffs have started for the Detroit Red Wings.

Not the official playoffs.

This is something totally different.

This is a one-week, hold your breath, grow a quick beard, crush somebody into the boards – oh, what the heck, smash them again – hurry up and get those flags on your car windows, single-elimination tournament.

Win four games and the Red Wings get into the real playoffs.

Lose once and they are in a heap of trouble.

It’s simple math.

“We need seven points this week and we are in,” Red Wings general manager Ken Holland said late Monday night. “Every night is huge. I guess we can get in with six points, if some other things happen, but with seven points, we control our own fate.”

The Wings picked up two points on Monday night with a strong, 4-0 win over Phoenix in a game that felt and looked and sounded like a playoff game.

Wham! There was Justin Abdelkader smashing a Coyote into the boards.

What! There was Pavel Datsyuk, getting all physical.

Pavel Datsyuk?

Wow. This really is fun.