The Detroit Red Wings put themselves in a prime position to clinch a playoff spot by beating the Nashville Predators 5-2 on Thursday.
It’s not a sure thing yet, however. The Red Wings’ spot would be guaranteed tonight if the Dallas Stars beat the Columbus Blue Jackets (even in a shootout).
Detroit might want to keep the Stars from finding out what this win did to their chances, then. The Stars cannot leap over Detroit (54 points) or the Minnesota Wild (53 points), so they’ve been mathematically eliminated.
Teams that suddenly have “nothing but pride” to play for have been doing pretty well in the last couple days. Most prominently, the Phoenix Coyotes beat the San Jose Sharks 2-1 on Wednesday even though their postseason hopes officially faded.
Either way, the Red Wings (cliche alert) control their destiny. Even if the Blue Jackets win out, Detroit only needs one point against the Dallas Stars on Saturday to guarantee a spot.
In other words, the Red Wings’ can’t breathe a sigh of relief just yet, but this was clearly a significant win.