With ten games remaining in the regular season, the Detroit Red Wings’ current ten-game losing streak doesn’t appear to have a stop-gate. The Red Wings are 0-9-1 in the past ten games with their last win coming as a 3-2 overtime victory on Feb. 25 over the New York Rangers. It’s been downhill since, as the team has scored just 19 goals during the ten-game stretch and has not been competitive.
The next five games won’t be any easier with four against teams in a playoff position. The Wings, with a 26-35-11 record, plays three of its next five at Little Caesars Arena, where they have a 13-14-8 record compared to a 13-21-3 road mark.
Philadelphia Flyers, Mar. 20
Over the past two seasons, the Red Wings have gone 2-1-2 against the Flyers, who have won two in a row and sit third in the Metropolitan Division at 37-25-11.
Detroit has had a problem containing Philadelphia’s top talent in that time. Over their last five meetings, Claude Giroux has scored a goal and five assists while Jakub Voracek, Sean Couturier and Wayne Simmonds have each added four points.
Detroit will likely be up against Petr Mrazek, who will be hungry for revenge since being dealt in February after the team used him sparingly. The 25-year-old has shown flashes of brilliance and is 5-5-1 since joining the Flyers with a .888 save percentage (SV%), 3.14 goals against average (GAA) and a shutout (SO).
Even with Mrazek’s pedestrian numbers, the Red Wings’ inability to finish won’t make things easier against a fast, puck-moving Flyers defense that is gritty in the corners.
The losing streak will hit 11.
Washington Capitals, Mar. 22
The 41-24-7 Capitals aren’t in the running for the Presidents’ Trophy that they claimed in each of the last two seasons, but they are headed for the postseason for the fourth straight year. The Red Wings are 2-2-1 against Alex Ovechkin and the Capitals over the past two years.
The Capitals’ potent power play will cause problems for the Red Wings. Washington sits fifth in power play percentage, while Detroit’s lackadaisical penalty kill sits 22nd. Detroit held Ovechkin pointless in three meetings last season, but he’s scored two goals and an assist—all on the power play—in two games this year, adding ten shots on goal.
The game could serve as a pick-me-up for Capitals netminder Braden Holtby, who’s been off in recent weeks. He has a 9-2-2 career record against the Red Wings with a .920 SV%, 2.19 GAA and one SO.
Expect the losing streak to reach 12.
Toronto Maple Leafs, Mar. 24
Former Red Wings coach Mike Babcock has had Detroit’s number over the past two seasons, with a 5-1-1 record. Toronto’s youth has caused problems for an older and slower Red Wings roster. Auston Matthews has netted five goals and an assist in that span while Mitch Marner has chipped in two goals and two assists as well.
The Leafs sit at 43-22-7 in the dichotomous Atlantic Division. The good news for Detroit is that Matthews may not be back from his injury. The bad news is the Leafs remain just as dangerous without their franchise center.
What’s worse is the Leafs have a better power play than the Caps, have won four in a row and are 25-8-2 at home. Add the Vezina-caliber season from Frederik Andersen (33-18-5, .919 SV%, 2.79 GAA and 5 SO) and Detroit’s scoring woes aren’t likely to end against the Leafs.
Make that 13 in a row.
Montreal Canadiens, Mar. 26
Lucky for the Red Wings, every streak has an end and even with a 2-3-2 mark against the Canadiens over the past two seasons, it could be here. Montreal is not a playoff-bound team and won’t have Red Wings killer Shea Weber for their last meeting of the season.
The Canadiens are 26-35-12 due to similar scoring issues as the Red Wings and a poor season from Carey Price. The Canadiens do play their best hockey at home, however, where they’ve gone 17-12-8 at the Bell Centre.
In terms of individual leading scorers, the Canadiens are weaker. Brendan Gallagher and Alex Galchenyuk each have 44 points and the Habs are one of just two teams who the Red Wings’ leading point-getter (Dylan Larkin with 50) is outscoring; the New York Rangers are the other.
It’s anyone’s game but the streak ends at here.
Pittsburgh Penguins, Mar. 27
Surprisingly enough, the Red Wings have a winning record against the back-to-back champs, going 3-2 in their last five meetings. Even with Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Phil Kessel combining for nine goals and 19 points against the Red Wings in that span, Detroit has found ways to come out on top.
The Penguins sit at 41-26-5 on the season and while they’re the most potent opponent over the Red Wings’ next five games, a win against the Canadiens could spark a short winning streak that usually comes after such a drastic losing stretch.
There’s also the chance the Penguins could rest players ahead of their playoff run. Eyeing Detroit as easy meat could see them ice some players from their American Hockey League (AHL) affiliate, Wilkes-Barre.
Make that a winning streak of two.
I offer opinions and insight on the Detroit Red Wings organization and its prospects.