Last night Todd Bertuzzi’s Tuzz-O-Rama goal in the shootout put the Wings not only in the top spot in the Central and West, they are at the top of the standings in the entire league.
They have a pretty good chance of holding that lead with a win Saturday night while extending their 5-game winning streak and 15-game home winning streak, when they welcome the league worst Columbus Blue Jackets to the Joe.
This season will be a dog fight until the end, and you can bet that the central division will hold control over the matchups we see this April in the playoffs
Click the jump to find out why
This is how the Central looks as of this morning. 3 out of the top 4 teams in the league and 4 out of the top 9 teams come from the central. Is this a good thing?
The competition that will likely continue through the last game of the season should prepare these teams for anything they face in the playoffs. It also could leave them with little left in the tank when they need it the most. In years past Detroit has coasted to the end of the season with a large lead in the division, giving them the ability to rest players down the stretch.
Detroit, St. Louis and Chicago are the top 3 teams in the West. However the way the playoff seeding goes the top 3 spots are reserved for the division winners. The most likely scenario come playoffs will see the 2nd and 3rd place teams in the central duking it out in the first round.
The Blues are winning with solid goaltending and the Blackhawks are winning with scoring. The Wings however have both along with solid defensive play, at some point this will shine through while the Hawks and Blues have their weaknesses exposed.
The Wings have the depth. With a piece or two added by the deadline to compliment an already stacked lineup, and a stronger 2nd half offensively by Zetterberg, they should be unstoppable.
Winning the central is the key to making a long run. If there is one thing I dread most, it would be facing the Blues or Blackhawks in the first round. I believe that the Wings would beat either team, but the wear and tear could make winning #12 a little harder.
It feels nice to be on top, but it may be a short stay if Chicago beats Florida tonight.
all I can say is GO PANTHERS!