The Detroit Red Wings head into arguably their toughest road trip of the season in the “Western Swing”. Detroit will begin their road trip in the Golden State, California to face the Ducks, Kings, and Sharks. After that they’ll make their way to face Chicago in a meeting against the Blackhawks then finishing up two days later in Dallas.
This road trip could play a huge part in what Detroit will do forward. The Wings are currently seven points behind for a top 3 spot in the Atlantic division and eight behind for a possible wild card. At this point the Red Wings need to rack up points in anyway to make a possible run at those spots or at least be within reach. Given the Red Wings history against western conference teams on the road, the team could rack up some valuable points and find themselves back in the playoff race. That may be easier said than done.
The Red Wings has struggled all season to generate some type of opposing zone pressure and scoring goals. The power play has also been non existent through the season, ranking dead last in the NHL at 11.7%. Not to mention the Red Wings will most likely be without defenseman Mike Green as well as Forwards Justin Abdelkader and Darren Helm. Red Wings will have to make the proper adjustments to succeed, especially at this point.
To paint a grim picture here for Red Wings fans, If Detroit struggles on this road trip and slip even further in the standings then that’s where the organization should re-evaluate things and forget about the playoffs. As painful as that sounds, it’ll be the right choice. A bad road trip here would dig the Wings in an even deeper hole and it’s hard to see them digging themselves out to gain the necessary points to extend their playoff streak. It would be better for them to start thinking about a top 5 pick at that point.
This will be a critical trip for this team and could tell the rest of the story for the Detroit Red Wings going forward. After the Red Wings overcame a 4-1 deficit to force overtime in the Centennial Classic, there’s some hope moving into the road trip. A good trip here would likely put Detroit right back into the playoff race, however a bad trip would most likely spell doom for the Wings.