Ten days have passed, but not much has changed for the Detroit Red Wings.
Their playoff fate is still somewhat in question and their overall team play could use some polish. Sitting in the Eastern Conference’s second wild card spot with only a one-point lead over the Philadelphia Flyers (and having just dropped a big game to them in regulation this week), time is of the essence of the Red Wings to gather themselves and start racking up points.
With only 12 games remaining, every game becomes a must-win for Detroit from here to the finish line. Not only would they prefer to make the playoffs in general, but their streak of 24 consecutive seasons of postseason hockey is on the line, as well.
The next few games are an important stretch for the Red Wings as they look to pad their lead on a wild card berth. After playing the Blue Jackets (who are 10-2-2 in their last 14 meetings against Detroit) on Thursday in Columbus, the Red Wings travel to Florida to play road games against the Panthers and Lightning.
Refresh your memory and think back to…nine days ago.
These two teams let met on Mar. 8 at Nationwide Arena, the second game of the three-game season series and the first of two in Columbus. Detroit took the first game in a shootout at Joe Louis Arena on Feb. 23, but this time around, it was all Blue Jackets for the majority of the game.
Columbus built a 4-1 third period lead before the Red Wings made their push. They scored a pair of quick goals to pull within 4-3 with 3:30 remaining, but Cam Atkinson scored an empty-net goal in the dying seconds to seal the deal for the Blue Jackets.
Anthony Mantha just scores goals wherever he plays, and the Red Wings are hoping he can do that during this playoff push at the NHL level.
The 21-year-old Quebec native was a first-round pick (No. 20 overall) by Detroit in 2013, and has two 50-plus goal seasons to his name at the junior hockey level. In his first year of pro hockey last season, Mantha scored 15 goals and totaled 33 points in 62 games.
He’s got power forward size (6-foot-5), terrific speed and a knack for being in the right place to score goals, and it sounds as though he’s going to be given the opportunity to stick around for the long haul in this recall, which is the first of his NHL career.