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Detroit Red Wings

Here’s How The Red Wings Make The Playoffs

Detroit has numerous paths to postseason



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Looking at the possible scenarios that end up with the Red Wings in the playoffs.

Captain Dylan Larkin succinctly summed up what the Detroit Red Wings require from their remaining two games on the schedule.

“We need four (points),” Larkin said.

Yes they do. And yet, it still might not be enough to get them to the promised land of the Stanley Cup playoffs.

Currently, Detroit, Washington and Philadelphia are all deadlocked with 87 points. Pittsburgh is a point back as all four clubs duel for the second wild card spot in the NHL’s Eastern Conference. The Penguins, Capitals and Red Wings all have two games to play. For the Flyers, there’s only one game left to go.

Here’s a look at the various methods through which Detroit can end up in the playoffs for the first time since the 2015-16 season.

Red Wings Playoff Scenarios

Were the Red Wings to win both of their remaining games, they’ll finish with 91 points. If that happens, then:

  • Washington must lose one of its two remaining games in any fashion and finish with no more than 90 points.
  • In this scenario, it wouldn’t matter what Pittsburgh, Philadelphia and the New York Islanders (89 points, currently third in the Metropolitan Division) do.

If Red Wings and Washington both win their final two games, Detroit would need the Islanders to gain no more than one point in their final two games. In this scenario, the Capitals would finish third in the Metropolitan Division with 91 points. That would be earning Washington the tiebreaker over the Islanders based on more regulation wins.

The Red Wings would earn the wild card spot with 91 points, winning the tiebreaker with the Islanders either due to more regulation wins or more regulation/overtime wins. It wouldn’t matter what Pittsburgh and Philadelphia do.

Three Points Wouldn’t Necessarily Finish Detroit

If the Red Wings gain three of a possible four points, they would still have two pathways to the playoffs:

They would need Washington to gain no more than two points in its final two games and for Pittsburgh to lose one of its two games in any fashion. In this scenario, Detroit would have 90 points, and Washington, Pittsburgh and Philadelphia a maximum of 89.


They would need the Islanders to lose both of their remaining games in regulation and Pittsburgh to lose in regulation to Nashville. Washington, with 90 points, would finish third in the Metropolitan Division by owning the tiebreaker with the Islanders (more regulation wins). The Red Wings, with 90 points, also would own the tiebreaker with the Islanders based on either more regulation wins or more regulation/overtime wins.

Two Points Won’t Do It

There is no scenario through which the Red Wings can reach the playoffs by gaining only two points to finish with 89. That’s because Washington plays Philadelphia on Tuesday.

This gurantees that one of those clubs is assured of having 89 points. Both own the tiebreaker with Detroit.

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