Red Wings – Blue Jackets: Pregame Notes and Playoff Positioning

The Red Wings make their final home appearance of the regular season tonight as they host the Columbus Blue Jackets in the first game of a home-and-home matchup. The Wings will not return home until Game 3 of the Western Conference Quarterfinals, though their opponent has yet to be determined.

Andreas Lilja will jump back into the Detroit lineup, joining Jonathan Ericsson on the third defensive pairing. Jimmy Howard returns to the crease after Chris Osgood got the start on Sunday in Philadelphia.

Columbus could be without captain and leading scorer Rick Nash. He will be a gametime decision.

The Western Conference playoff teams are decided at this point but their spots are all up in the air.

The San Jose Sharks sit in first place but are only two points up on the Chicago Blackhawks, with the ‘Hawks having a game in hand.

The Vancouver Canucks are locked into the third spot, unable to catch Chicago or San Jose but having clinched the Northwest Division.

The Phoenix Coyotes sit fourth with 102 points. If Phoenix wins any of their three remaining games they’ll clinch that spot, otherwise they could be caught by the Nashville Predators or Los Angeles Kings. Detroit could tie them in points but would have fewer wins.

Nashville sits four points back of Phoenix with two games left. The Predators could finish anywhere from fourth to eighth, as the Kings, Red Wings, and Colorado Avalanche can all surpass them in the right circumstances.

Los Angeles is in the same boat as Nashville, able to finish from fourth to eighth. The Red Wings can drop to eighth but only move up to fifth, same as the Avalanche.

Author: Clark Rasmussen

Clark founded the site that would become DetroitHockey.Net in September of 1996 with no idea what it would lead to. He continues to write for the site and executes the site's design and development.

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