It’s their 20th straight NHL Playoff appearance, and Wikipedia tells us that the Red Wings are 2nd in Stanley Cup appearances with 24 and 3rd in wins with 13. Their last Cup win came in 2008 and while the Wings don’t skate into the playoffs as an overwhelming favorite, they are seeded third in the West and expected to have a strong showing. A lot of the team’s hopes rest on the health of leading scorer Henrik Zetterberg. Zetterberg won the Conn Smythe playoff MVP trophy in 2008 but was last seen wearing a knee brace after being hurt last week vs. Carolina and is out for (at least) tonight.
The Detroit News sportswiters issued their predictions and the Freep’s Helene St. James has a very nice breakdown on the Red Wings’ playoff chances. Michael Rosenberg writes that it feels like every team in the Western Conference (other than top seed Vancouver) feels day-to-day, saying:
The Wings have as good a shot as anybody. But they also have some concerns, starting with Zetterberg’s knee. It sounds like the Wings might need to win this series without Zetterberg — or at least, without a healthy Zetterberg. That’s a concern, and the Wings already have more concerns about this Red Wings team than they normally do at this time of year.
The Wings allowed 241 goals, more than any other playoff team. Their goal differential of plus-20 was 11th in the league. Mostly, though, there is the sense that there is no bedrock there, no clear area of superiority.
During the playoffs you’ll want to tune into the On the Wings blog along with Winging it in Motown and the official Detroit Red Wings blog. America Jr has a nice interview with Red Wings Chris Chelios at the Red Wings media event, but we’ll take you out with the Red Wings 2010/2011 hits: