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Red Wings up Against it When it Comes to Playoff Tiebreaker

Detroit comes out on short end of postseason tiebreakers



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The old saying is that a tie is like kissing your sister but if it comes to NHL postseason tiebreaking scenarios, the Detroit Red Wings might as well kiss their playoff hopes goodbye.

Looking though the tiebreaking situations the league would employ to break any deadlocks between two or more teams, the Red Wings come out on the short end of the equation.

Currently, the Pittsburgh Penguins are sitting in the cat bird’s seat for the final Eastern Conference wild card with 86 points. Detroit, the Washington Capitals and Philadelphia Flyers all have 85 points.

All four teams are in action on Saturday. Detroit is playing at the Toronto Maple Leafs. Every team save the Flyers show three games remaining on their schedules. Philadelphia is left with just two games to play.

“There’s a path,” Detroit captain Dylan Larkin said. “It’s going to be difficult but I know this group has it in us.”

Yes, there is a path to the playoffs for the Red Wings. But it’s going to be a bumpy road, one that won’t be easily navigated.

And if it comes down to a tiebreaking formula, it simply doesn’t add up well at all for Detroit. No wonder that the latest playoff odds are showing the Red Wings with a 15.8% chance of being participants.

Red Wings Lose Key Tiebreaker

The first tiebreaker is regulation wins. Detroit owns 27 of those. Pittsburgh has 31, with Washington and Philadelphia each at 29 regulation victories.

Were the Wings to somehow manage to gain a tie in regulation wins, things to do get a bit better for them. The second tiebreaker is regulation plus overtime wins (the ROW column in the NHL standings). Here, Detroit has 36, and Pittsburgh is at 35. Washington and Philadelphia are each at 33.

The third tiebreaker is all types of wins. Detroit has 38 of those. That’s one better than all three of the other teams.

However, it’s wise to remember that it’s unlikely any deadlock will get past the first tiebreaker. Here’s some things that we do know for sure.

It’s almost a certainty that Detroit will need to finish the season at minimum with 88 points in order to make the playoffs. That’s because Washington is facing Philadelphia in the regular-season ender for both clubs. In other words, one of those teams is guaranteed to get another win and finish with no less than 87 points.

In this scenario, the Red Wings would need to garner at least three points from the club’s three remaining games. But should Pittsburgh win even one more game, then the Wings would need to get to 89 points, because there’s absolutely no way to win a tiebreaker with the Penguins. That would require four of the maximum six points still up for grabs.

“With three games left we still have a shot at this,” Detroit forward Lucas Raymond said.

Yes they do, but anyone doing the math would have to admit it’s a long shot at best.

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Mike Babcock

Denial ain’t just a river in Egypt. 🙄