Why each on the bubble team will make the NHL playoffs and why they won’t

The NHL playoffs will be here before we know it, and as always, there are a slew of on the bubble teams looking to sneak into a wild card spot.

Arizona Coyotes v Detroit Red Wings
Arizona Coyotes v Detroit Red Wings / Gregory Shamus/GettyImages
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Detroit Red Wings

If there was one team that looked like a true playoff contender, and perhaps one that would finish in the top three of a division dominated by four others lately, it’s the Detroit Red Wings. Unfortunately for Detroit, a seven-game losing streak has taken this team out of even a wild card slot for the moment. 

Detroit can still make a few adjustments and start winning again, but it must happen sooner than later if they plan on controlling their destiny. The good news is that they should get their captain, Dylan Larkin, back at some point, and his presence could be the catalyst for turning things around before they get out of hand. 

With Larkin on the ice, the Red Wings are a top-five team in the scoring department. And although their goaltending and defensive play have been among the worst in the NHL throughout the entire season, they are hard to beat when forcing opponents to routinely score at least four goals on them. 

If Detroit starts scoring again when Larkin returns, expect the Red Wings to climb right back into one of the two wild card slots and cruise into the playoffs. But it’s also fair to ask whether there will be rust when he’s back in the lineup, and if the answer is yes, they need to quickly shake off any lack of chemistry. 

If the Red Wings keep losing while Larkin remains sidelined, and if they can’t regain that chemistry early upon his return, the playoffs aren’t happening this year. It won’t be long until we see Larkin again and have our answer.