As the Detroit Red Wings try to qualify for their 22nd consecutive postseason, we’re taking a daily look at the key games that could impact that pursuit.
Those pesky Columbus Blue Jackets just will not go away. The Red Wings could have clinched a playoff spot Thursday night, thanks to a comeback 5-2 win over the Predators, had the Blue Jackets fallen in Dallas. Instead, Columbus pulled out a 3-1 win to send the Western Conference’s playoff race to the season’s final day.
There are three scenarios now that would put Detroit in the playoffs:
1. The Wings earn at least a point in Dallas on Saturday night.
2. The Blue Jackets lose at home to the Predators.
3. Minnesota loses Friday (Edmonton) and Saturday (at Colorado).
Western Conference results from last night
Detroit Red Wings 5, Nashville Predators 2
St. Louis Blues 4, Calgary Flames 1
Columbus Blue Jackets 3, Dallas Stars 1
Anaheim Ducks 3, Vancouver Canucks 1
Current Western Conference standings (through 4/15/13)
1. Chicago Blackhawks — 75 points (x)
2. Anaheim Ducks — 66 points (x)
3. Vancouver Canucks — 59 points (x)
4. St. Louis Blues — 58 points (x)
6. Los Angeles Kings — 57 points (x)
6. San Jose Sharks — 57 points (x)
7. Detroit Red Wings — 54 points
8. Minnesota Wild — 53 points
9. Columbus Blue Jackets — 53 points
10. Dallas Stars — 48 points
11. Phoenix Coyotes — 48 points
12. Calgary Flames — 42 points
13. Edmonton Oilers — 41 points
14. Nashville Predators — 41 points
15. Colorado Avalanche — 37 points
(x = qualified for playoffs)
Tonight’s Western Conference games
Edmonton Oilers at Minnesota Wild
Calgary Flames at Chicago Blackhawks
Colorado Avalanche at Phoenix Coyotes
Red Wings fans should be rooting for …
Edmonton. The odds of the Oilers, with Nikolai Khabibulin in net, storming into Minnesota and knocking off the desperate Wild are not great, but it would do wonders for the Wings. First, it would keep alive the possibility that Detroit could back into the playoffs, should the Wings suffer a setback Saturday night. But it would also put the Wings in control of their own destiny in terms of finishing seventh in the West — and avoiding the Blackhawks.
A Minnesota loss in either of its final two games plus a Detroit win would hand the Wings the No. 7 seed.