New defenseman Danny DeKeyser doesn't really know a world that doesn't include the Detroit Red Wings in the National Hockey League playoffs.

DeKeyser was born a month before the last time the Red Wings missed the playoffs.

Now, 22 years later, he is trying to make sure it doesn't happen again.

Signed in late March as a prize college free agent after finishing his third season at Western Michigan, the Detroit native joined the team he grew up watching -- just in time for a playoff race it isn't accustomed to being a part of.

Detroit has made the playoffs for 21 straight seasons, easily the longest active streak in the NHL and tied for the fifth-longest in League history. But they enter the next-to-last weekend of the season in 10th place in the Western Conference with just five games left, putting the Red Wings' run in jeopardy of ending. But he prepared to play his seventh NHL game Saturday night against the Vancouver Canucks, DeKeyser insisted that history hasn't come up in the Detroit dressing room.

"I haven't heard anybody mention that," DeKeyser said of the streak. "There's always pressure when there are five games to go and you are not in a playoff spot yet. … But I haven't heard anybody in here say those words actually."

It doesn't mean that elephant isn't in the room.

"What 21 years in the playoffs means is it's a sign of greatness over a period of time," coach Mike Babcock said. "If you are Henrik Zetterberg and you are in your first year as a captain, you don't want it [to end] on your watch. If you are Mike Babcock in your eighth year of coaching, you don't want it on your watch. If you are any one of these players that has any stake in the Red Wings, especially the ones that have put in a ton of time, they don't want it on their watch either.

"The bottom line, though, is all that to me is just fluff and in the way. We got a game [Saturday], let's play it."

In the meantime, the Red Wings will do some serious scoreboard watching.