Eastern Edge: A Wing and a Prayer




With the Red Wings amazing 25-year playoff streak finally broken last spring, Detroit can focus on the future instead of making the playoffs. Obviously, every team’s goal should be to win the Stanley Cup, not just qualify for the playoffs. Detroit hasn’t had a realistic shot at winning the cup for a good number of years, so at least now the team can draft and develop their young talent without the pressure of the streak.


Detroit is 2-4-4 over their last 10 games. They have had some trouble scoring of late, with only 13 goals over their last six matches. The Wings leading scorer, Dylan Larkin, has only two points in his last six contests even though he’s been lining up with Tomas Tatar and Anthony Mantha, two pretty decent offensive players. Tatar has three points in his last six games, while Mantha has no points over that stretch.  Mantha is the Wings second leading point getter, so his recent slump is mildly concerning. I’m still a believer in his abilities, so I see this as a minor blip and look for him to get back to his scoring ways sooner rather than later.


During the last six games, the venerable Henrik Zetterberg leads Detroit with five points. His most recent linemates have been Gustav Nyquist and Justin Abdelkader. Nyquist has three points in his last six matches, while Abdelkader has one point over his last eight contests. Nyquist is on pace for a 38-point campaign, which is off his last three seasons of 48, 43 and 54 points. Abdelkader has never been a high end point producer, but in rotisserie leagues that count hits and penalty minutes, he’s a useful player. He’s on pace for 85 penalty minutes and 185 hits in addition to 47 points, which would be a career best. Expect around 40 points, along with some nice peripherals when all is said and done.


Mike Green had a very hot start to the season, recording 17 points in his first 19 games to kick off the year.  He’s had one point in the 13 contests since. Green is a long way from the guy who recorded back to back 73 and 76 point seasons. Overall, he is on pace for 46 points, but after the last two years of 36 and 35 points in Detroit, I am comfortable pegging him to finish in the same range again this season. At best, because it’s a contract year, I could see 40 points tops.


Heading into last night’s game, the Flyers were tied for last place in the Metropolitan division. The loss to the Kings ended a six game winning streak. Both the Flyers and Red Wings will need multiple winning streaks and a lot of luck to punch their tickets to the post season dance. If I was a betting man, and I’m not, I would not put much money on either of these two teams to make the playoffs this year.


Leading the way over the last two weeks, Jakub Voracek has 11 points in eight games. Last night’s goal snapped a streak of 10 games without a goal. Of his 10 assists, half of those came via the power play. Headi