Red Wings' special teams will be huge in the final five games

New York Rangers v Detroit Red Wings
New York Rangers v Detroit Red Wings / Nic Antaya/GettyImages

The Detroit Red Wings have a tremendous amount of pressure in the final five games as the wild card race in the Eastern Conference is extremely close with six teams being separated by six points.

One thing to watch in the handful of games left will be the special teams of Detroit. If the power play and penalty kill unit fail, it is a good indication of how the final games will play out.

The Red Wings have 84 points, second in the wild card race of the Eastern Conference behind the Tampa Bay Lightning, who have 93 points.

However, Detroit's second-place standing is only six points ahead of seventh place, which is occupied by the New Jersey Devils.

The Red Wings need their special teams to play well in the final few games

The Eastern Conference playoff brackets may not be finalized until the final few games with how tight the race currently is. This should be a crazy ending and it will be interesting to see how things finish.

Special teams will likely play a big role if the Red Wings do, or do not, grab that playoff berth. The power play and penalty kill have been on fire at separate points of the season but the penalty kill has seemingly dipped a bit more than the power play.

The power play was lethal to begin the season and has dipped also but they remain in the top 10, operating at a 23.1% clip which is ninth in the league.

They have the firepower to get the numbers back up and once again be efficient, boosting their place in the standings and improving their chances at a wild card.

The penalty kill was clicking on all cylinders for most of the season but has seen a small dip based on the losing streak and elite competition they have faced recently.

At 79.6%, the penalty kill is still effective but needs a smoother approach in their own zone. Quicker at getting the puck out, attention to detail, not overplaying the puck, and helping out the goaltender will work wonders if everyone is on board and could improve those numbers in time for the playoffs.

The games in the playoffs are much different than the regular season. Goals go in from anywhere on the ice a bit more, the goals scored are from in front of the net most of the time. fewer special teams chances and the play gets more physical.

The penalty kill will need to re-focus on the task at hand and adjust to the situation against whoever the opponent may be. If they get a chance, the power play units will need to take a shoot-first mentality because those chances do not come as often in the second season.

While the team, and special teams units, have struggled, everything at the start of the playoffs starts at zero. Every team starts at zero wins and has the chance to start over.

This means that if Detroit does earn a wild card spot, they can begin the second season on a fresh sheet of ice. No win/ loss records, no power play or penalty kill percentages, and no thought of occupying a wild card post because they would be in.