You can’t say when, yet, but it’s beginning to sound a lot more accurate than, if. When the Red Wings make the playoffs — not if. Certainly it’s trending that way after another successful weekend, capped by Sunday’s 3-2 victory over Tampa Bay. Coupled with Saturday's victory in Toronto, the Wings earned four crucial points to go to 84 on the season, which is two points ahead of Columbus atop the wild card chase with Washington and Toronto lagging behind. . Those were two important victories for the Red Wings after going three games without a victory. “All the games are big right now,” said goalie Jonas Gustavsson, who earned the victory stopping 26 shots. “If you look at the standings right now it’s tied and it’ll be tied all the way until the end. All the points you can get, you have to grab hold of and hold on to them.” There’s only seven games remaining and the schedule favors the Red Wings (35-26-14), with two games against lowly Buffalo and one against Carolina. The Red Wings are getting healthy, Justin Abdelkader returning Sunday and Pavel Datsyuk possibly returning in these final two weeks. And they’re playing with a certain confidence that could grow stronger in the days ahead. “We’re just plugging away, grinding away,” coach Mike Babcock said. “We’re trying to find a way to get into the playoffs.” They took a step toward stretching their playoff streak to 23 years Sunday with a victory against the Lightning, who had defeated the Red Wings the four previous games. Joakim Andersson, Gustav Nyquist and David Legwand (power play) scored Red Wings goals. Gustavsson stopped 26 shots to earn his first victory since March 7, his last game against the New Jersey Devils.
Wings improve playoff standing with clutch win over Lightning
Detroit News | Mar 31