The Detroit Red Wings have qualified for the postseason by a comfortable margin almost every year during their 22-year playoff streak. On a couple of occasions they needed a strong late-season push to make it. They went 16-3-2 after the Olympic break in 2010. Last season, they went 12-6-3 in the final 21 games, winning their last four. “Probably got to pull something similar this year,” Detroit captain Henrik Zetterberg said after a 4-2 loss at Tampa Bay Saturday, the final game before the Olympic break. “Our playoffs basically start when we come back after the break. That’s the kind of hockey you want to play.” The Red Wings’ first game back is Feb. 26 at Montreal. The Red Wings (26-20-12) hold the second wild-card position in the Eastern Conference – the final playoff spot. But it’s an extremely tight battle. They lead Columbus, Ottawa and Washington by only one point. Just six points separate eight teams competing for the final three spots. Riddled with injuries, the Red Wings have had to scrounge for points. They’ve squandered points by blowing leads or allowing late goals, like on Saturday. But they were optimistic heading into the break with a 6-3-2 mark in their past 11 games. “I think we’ve done a lot of good things,” coach Mike Babcock said. “I think we’re a way better team than we were. We’re way quicker. We skate, our young kids are good players. We need a few more of our veterans to be better than they’ve been and we’ll be fine.” They have gotten a tremendous boost from young forwards Gustav Nyquist and Tomas Tatar, each of whom has 24 points. Nyquist has nine goals in his past 10 games and 14 for the season. Tatar has 13 goals.
Red Wings' Henrik Zetterberg: 'Our playoffs start after the Olympic break'
Michigan Live | Feb 10