The Red Wings are heading into their last series of the season against fellow Central Division basement-dweller, the Columbus Blue Jackets. Here are a few headliners as we head into the final two games of the season.
Detroit and Columbus are both on a race for better draft position. After winning a game in their series against the Predators, the Blue Jackets have now fallen behind the Wings in the draft slots, with just one more point in the standings.
As much as it stinks for fans, the best case for long term success would be two losses for the Red Wings. Finishing with less points than the Blue Jackets would only increase Detroit’s odds for the first overall pick by one percent and second overall pick by two, but the Wings need all the statistical help they can get.
Red Wings Limited Roster
On paper, this should not be a tough series to lose. The Red Wings roster is in rough shape right now. Injuries have snowballed in the latter half of the season and the team is now missing a large chunk of their top six forwards. Dylan Larkin, Tyler Bertuzzi, Robby Fabbri and Bobby Ryan were all members of the top two lines before season ending injuries.
Now, the Wings will have to continue to scrap together competent lineups with the remaining pieces. These limited lineups have had a major affect on the offensive output of the team – and Detroit has been outshot 192-113 in their last five games.
The only thing standing in the way of getting swept is goaltending. Detroit’s goaltending has been outstanding of late, with Thomas Greiss finally measuring up to preseason expectations, even earning the NHL’s first star of the month. Fans have seen outstanding goaltending singlehandedly lead Detroit to victory, case in point being the 1-0 shootout victory over Tampa Bay.
The most exciting on ice players to watch will be Jakub Vrana and Filip Zadina. Zadina’s progression has been fun to watch this year, and it’ll be interesting to see if he can cap it off with some goals in the season’s final two games.
Vrana has six goals in nine game with the Red Wings, and provides perhaps the best shot the Red Wings have of producing offense.