Detroit Red Wings: 5 Reasons Team Can Keep Its Hold on Top Spot

Steven MarinoContributor IIIFebruary 6, 2012

Detroit Red Wings: 5 Reasons Team Can Keep Its Hold on Top Spot

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    The National Hockey League started with the "Original Six" teams and has blossomed into a 30-team sport.  Out of the 30 teams, one team is looked upon as the face of the NHL—the Detroit Red Wings.

    Having 11 Stanley Cups in their franchise, the Red Wings have the most championships for an American-based team, trailing only the Montreal Canadiens and the Toronto Maple Leafs.

    This season, the Red Wings have the most wins in the NHL with 35 and lead the league in points with 72.

    With the second half of the regular season underway, here are five reasons why the Red Wings will maintain their hold on the league's top spot. 

Home Record

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    A main reason the Red Wings are on top of the league this season is because of their play on home ice.

    In the Joe Louis Arena, the Red Wings have the best home record in the NHL.

    With 20 wins and only two losses on their home ice, Detroit has become one of the hardest environments to win a hockey game.

    In their final 28 games of the season, the Red Wings will host 18 of them.

    With home-ice advantage being a factor in the playoffs, the Red Wings should have a great opportunity to add a 12th Stanley Cup trophy to their franchise.

Goals Per Game

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    As we all know, you win hockey games by putting the puck in the back of the net.

    This season, Detroit has averaged 3.1 goals per game, ranking fourth overall in the league.  

    Scoring five goals or more in nine games this season, the Red Wings can certainly explode on offense.

    Their season high in goals for a single game was eight back in December against the Los Angeles Kings, who are currently a playoff team.  

    They also scored seven goals in a game against the Winnipeg Jets

Pavel Datsyuk

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    Known for his smooth hands and multiple breakaway goals that have left countless goalies in embarrassment, Pavel Datsyuk is leading the team in points thus far this season.

    In 52 games played, Datsyuk has lit the lamp 14 times and contributed with 39 assists.  

    His team-leading 53 points is 11 higher than fellow center Valtteri Filppula, who ranks second on the team.

    Averaging a little over 19 minutes a game, having Datsyuk on the ice is a key reason for Detroit's success this season.

Jimmy Howard

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    Owning the most wins in the NHL at 32, Jimmy Howard has been a key factor in Detroit's success this season.

    Allowing 2.03 goals per game, Howard holds a .924 save percentage on the season.  

    The Red Wings defense supplies help to Howard as well, as the team ranks sixth in the league in goals against at 2.4 per game.

    Howard has four shutouts on the season, as well as holding nine opponents to one goal.  

    Six of Detroit's losses occurred when Howard was not in net.

Remaining Schedule

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    As the Detroit Red Wings close out the regular season, they have 11 games in which they will face off against current non-playoff teams.

    Eight out of the 11 games against non-playoff caliber teams consist of the Columbus Blue Jackets, Anaheim Ducks, Edmonton Oilers and Carolina Hurricanes, who are ranked as the last four teams in the NHL.

    With 18 home games remaining and 11 games against current non-playoff teams, the Detroit Red Wings look to have a clear path at finishing the season with the top spot in the NHL.