The Wings know ‘it’s gonna be tight the rest of the way’

AP
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The Detroit Red Wings have seen the standings. They know the Philadelphia Flyers have been creeping up on them. And with 17 games remaining and a mere two-point playoff cushion, they know there’s not much margin for error.

“You don’t want to put together a stretch of too many games where you’re not getting points because it’s gonna set you back,” forward Justin Abdelkader told the Wings’ website.

“Philly is playing really good and I think they beat a really good Tampa Bay team last night, so we’ve just got to be prepared, obviously, to worry about ourselves and worry about our game. But it’s gonna be tight the rest of the way here.”

The Wings are in Columbus tonight, after which they return home to play the Jets, Rangers, and Maple Leafs. After that, it’s a four-game road trip, starting a week from today in — mark your calendars, everyone — Philadelphia.

According to Sports Club Stats, the Wings still have a 73.2 percent chance of making the playoffs for the 25th straight time. They aren’t the only vulnerable team in the East. Pittsburgh isn’t safe either.

But there are reasons to believe the Wings could be caught, led by the recent falloff in Petr Mrazek‘s play. Jimmy Howard will start tonight against the Blue Jackets.

It’s also worth noting that Detroit has only won 22 games in regulation all season. That’s two fewer than Montreal and one fewer than Buffalo, just for comparison’s sake.

What the Wings have been able to do is keep games close. Eight times they’ve triumphed in overtime, twice in a shootout. In all, they’ve finished tied after regulation on 21 occasions.

The only team that’s been to overtime more than the Wings? Oddly enough, it’s the Flyers (22), who are 9-5 in three-on-three and 2-6 in the shootout. Philly’s only won 20 times in regulation, more than just four teams: Edmonton (15), Toronto (15), Calgary (17) and Vancouver (18).

The Wing and Flyers play twice more this season. The first time, as mentioned, will be next Tuesday in Philly. The second is Apr. 6 in Detroit. Both games will be shown on NBCSN.

Related: How does your team stack up after 60 minutes?