DETROIT -- If this crowded race for the Eastern Conference’s second wild-card spot has proven anything, it’s that just one day can make a huge difference in the standings.

With a 3-1 victory over the Buffalo Sabres on Sunday, the Detroit Red Wings became the fifth different club to occupy the East’s final wild-card spot in the past five days, following the Washington Capitals (April 3), New York Islanders (April 4), Philadelphia Flyers (April 5) and Pittsburgh Penguins (April 6).

“We pay close attention to the standings and where we’re at all throughout the year,” Joe Veleno said after Monday’s optional practice. “It’s been a mindset and goal of ours to obviously play competitive hockey, but get into the playoffs.”

Entering Monday, Detroit (84 points) had a one-point lead on Washington, Pittsburgh and Philadelphia – all tied at 83 points apiece and outside the playoff picture.

Red Wings head coach Derek Lalonde said scoreboard watching is something all postseason-contending clubs do at this time of the season.

“It’s the reality of it, but again, you got to take care of your own business,” Lalonde said. “Look at Pittsburgh, the heater it’s on. Washington had its run. We’ve taken care of our business of late and find ourselves waking up this morning over the (playoff) line. So of course, we’ll root for specific teams down the stretch for a little help but it’s still going to be about us.”

Veleno said he plans to watch Monday night’s game between Pittsburgh and the Toronto Maple Leafs, as a regulation win by the Penguins would push them ahead of the Red Wings in the standings with five regular-season games remaining.

“We like those teams behind us to not get points, but I can’t control that for them,” Veleno said. “I’m just going to watch the game. Obviously I don’t want (the Penguins) to win.”

Simon Edvinsson | Joe Veleno | Derek Lalonde

Two games with Eastern Conference Playoffs implications for both teams lie ahead for Detroit, which will host Washington on Tuesday before visiting Pittsburgh on Thursday. According to Simon Edvinsson, minimizing mistakes will help the Red Wings achieve success during high-pressure moments.

“Every play and minute out there matters,” Edvinsson said. “Everything around it has been a level up. I think the way we’re going right now with our team game improving, so if we keep going like this, we have a good chance to reach the playoffs.”

Lalonde said he likes the way the Red Wings have approached this opportunity to compete for a playoff spot, and he expects that to continue down the stretch.

“This group has been dialed and locked in,” Lalonde said. “I live in the moment myself, but I’ve been very impressed and proud of how this group keeps battling and competing through everything. I think they’ll show up tomorrow night.”