The Detroit Red Wings are counting down the days until vacation is here. They can make plans now, as the Red Wings are statistically out of the playoffs and it’s only February. That said, the Red Wings have been out of the playoffs from Day 1. This was expected to be another down year for the Red Wings. Seeing progress was probably an unrealistic goal, though I don’t think people foresaw it being this ugly.
The Red Wings head into Thursday with a record of 15-46-4 and 36 points. That’s the worst record by a mile in the NHL. There isn’t another team in the league that has less than 40 points. In fact, there is no team in the league with less than 50 points. The closest team to the Red Wings in the standings is the LA Kings at 50 points.
Detroit were predictable sellers at the trade deadline. They probably wanted to shed more contracts than they did, but trading Andreas Athanasiou was one of their main objectives and they got that done. Athanasiou was shipped out to Edmonton for Sam Gagner and two second-round draft picks. The way I see it, that’s a good deal for the Red Wings. They got about as much as they could for Athanasiou given his production this year.
The Red Wings have been trying to send out Jimmy Howard elsewhere the past couple of years, but another year has passed and Howard is still in Motown. His trade value was just about nothing this season, though. There was some value for Jonathan Bernier, and rumours that he was going to get moved, but ultimately stayed with the Red Wings.
The Wild will visit the Red Wings at Little Caesars Arena on Thursday night. They are holding out hope that they’re going to be a playoff team in April. Minnesota enters Detroit with a record of 30-25-7 and 67 points. That puts them within striking distance, but are going to need some help along the way.
The Wild are 3 points behind the Predators for the final wildcard, with the Coyotes and Jet ahead of them as well. It should be a fun race in March. Getting points against lowly opponents like the Red Wings is imperative. Trying to make them back up versus elite teams is not going to be easy down the stretch, so get 2 points when you can. Head below for our free Wild vs. Red Wings pick.
Minnesota Wild vs. Detroit Red Wings Betting Odds:
Wild vs. Red Wings Prediction:
The Red Wings have been stuck in a season long funk. They’ve lost seven of their eight games, which is a pretty common occurrence for the Red Wings. Getting into these slumps isn’t anything new in Detroit. Their latest defeat was a 4-1 loss against the Devils, which was their third loss in a row. The Islanders, Flames, and Devil beat the Red Wings by a combined score of 12-4. Each team was able to score 4 goals. Getting punched in the mouth in their defensive zone hasn’t been anything new to the Red Wings. Bernier has been the better option between the pipes, but neither he or Howard has getting much support from the defence.
Bernier has a 2.93 GAA and 0.907 save percentage, while Howard has struggled even more with a 4.08 GAA and 0.886 save percentage. On the season, the defence has gotten torched for 3.74 goals per game, and in their previous ten games, they’ve allowed 3.4 goals per game. Note that the Red Wings have surrendered at least 4 goals in six of their last seven games. So while 3.4 goals against sounds like an improvement, that hasn’t exactly been the case since mid-February. It’s been more of the same for the Red Wings’ defence. At least if the offence was performing the Red Wings would have some entertaining games, but that has not been the case.
The Red Wings are dead last in goals scored as well, with just 1.98 goals a game in 2019-20. There isn’t another team in the league that comes close to only 2 goals per game. And with Athanasiou gone, depth should continue to be an issue offensively for the Red Wings in the remaining stages of the season. In their last ten games, the Red Wings have managed to score just 1.6 goals per game. There are some AHL teams that would likely get better results than that. Add up all of the goals they’ve scored and goals allowed, and the Red Wings are -113, which is a big yikes.
Minnesota has played decent hockey recently, having notched three wins in their last four outings. They are coming off a 5-4 win against the Blue Jackets on Tuesday. It’s important that the Wild don’t take the Wings lightly at Little Caesars Arena tonight. With the stakes getting higher this season, don’t expect the Wild to fold in Detroit here. You have to assume that they get up for this one with playoff implications heating up. The Red Wings might have some pride and push back a bit tonight, but it’s likely not going to be enough. I like a 3-2 or 4-2 win for the Wild on Thursday night.