The Detroit Red Wings are still a team looking for answers and fighting for a playoff spot. After dropping six of their last eight games, the Red Wings are barely holding on to the seventh spot in the Western Conference. Their next two games will pit them against the Anaheim Ducks, the hottest team in the Western Conference and winners of seven of their last eight games. The Red Wings’ power play has been one of the team’s bright spots over the past five games, and could be the key to their success against the Ducks. The Ducks have been great in nearly every aspect of the game this season, but have shown vulnerability on the penalty kill.
The Red Wings have scored a power play goal in each of their last five games, after struggling with the man-advantage early on. Valtteri Filppula’s Mar. 13 goal against the Calgary Flames was the team’s first road power play goal of the season, but led to road goals with the man-advantage in the next two games as well. Henrik Zetterberg, Pavel Datsyuk and Niklas Kronwall are the Red Wings’ best weapons on the power play, with Zetterberg leading the way with 13 points. Ducks goaltender Viktor Fasth will present a tough challenge for the Red Wings tonight, and is 1-0 against Detroit this season thanks to a 26-save performance on Feb. 15.
If the Red Wings lose one or both of these games in regulation, they could drop out of the playoff picture by the end of the weekend. If tonight’s game is decided by special teams, the Red Wings would seem to have a slight edge at the moment. Expect coach Mike Babcock to have the Red Wings playing with urgency against his former team, as they try and stop Anaheim’s 12-game points streak.