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Panic In Hockeytown: Red Wings Fall Out Of Playoff Spot Amid Skid

Updated: Mar 15

Brian Gornick, Sports Editor

Vegas Golden Knights forward Jonathan Marchessaul celebrates after a goal against the Detroit Red Wings on March 9, 2024. Photo//Jeff Bottari

Around this time, Red Wings fans who remember the team’s playoff streaks recall car flags all around the city, showcasing the city's pride in their hockey team. Now, all that is present is apprehension. 

The Red Wings have failed to win a game this month, the last time being against the Washington Capitals back on February 27. They’ve played five games since that point, and have lost all five at a point in the season where every point matters if the team wants to make the postseason. 

The same woes that have plagued the Red Wings in prior games this season and in past seasons have come back to haunt them. Their defense has struggled immensely during this down stretch, giving up four or more goals in each game. 

Starting goaltender Alex Lyon has also failed to find his footing during this period of bad defense, failing to post a save percentage above .900 in the four games he’s played since the Capitals game. 

This downturn in the standings isn’t entirely the fault of the players on the ice, as the Red Wings are missing key contributors. Top-line center and captain Dylan Larkin has been off the ice since March 2, when he sustained a lower-body injury against the Florida Panthers and could not return. Forward/center Michael Rasmussen sustained an injury against the Golden Knights this past Saturday, and could not return. His timetable for return is unknown as of the publishing of this article.

Not much has been done to help fill the scoring void left by those losses. On March 9, the Red Wings called up forward Jonatan Berggren from their AHL affiliate, the Grand Rapids Griffins. During the trade deadline, the Red Wings made no moves to add to their roster, instead choosing to trust their depth already in place and their prospects already in Grand Rapids to the chagrin of some of their fan base. 

One thing is for certain: the Red Wings need to figure out how to get back into the win column quickly if they want to make the playoffs. As of the publishing of this article, the Red Wings have fallen out of a playoff spot, being overtaken by the New York Islanders.

Despite being tied in points, the Islanders have a game in hand on the Red Wings, and the other wild card team, the Tampa Bay Lightning, have 74 points to the Red Wings' 72. The Capitals are also slowly catching up to the Red Wings in the standings, only three points behind in the standings. 

The upcoming schedule for the Red Wings is favorable though, their next three games are against teams not in a playoff spot. With the infusion of Larkin and Rasmussen back from injury within the next week or two, one can hope that we’ll see the Red Wings in the postseason after the end of the regular season in April. 

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