The Detroit Red Wings need to win the next four games to make the playoffs.
If this is surprising, then keep reading.
The Red Wings are hanging on to the eighth playoff seed in the Western Conference by the skin of their collective teeth.
Either team could knock Detroit out of the playoffs.
But, Phoenix and Los Angeles aside, here are five reasons that the Red Wings need to win their next four games to make the playoffs this season.
Detroit then has a home-and-home series with the Columbus Blue Jackets on Saturday and Sunday.
The Avalanche, Oilers and Blue Jackets represent the bottom three spots in the Western Conference going into Detroit's game against the Avalanche.
It goes without saying that Detroit needs to beat "bad" teams to make the playoffs every year, but it seems like Detroit always finds a way to "play down" to their opponent's level.
The Red Wings need to take advantage of these three games and put these lesser opponents in their place.
Three of these next four games are at home.
After the home game on Sunday against the Blue Jackets, the Red Wings will have just 22 games left to play this season.
Unfortunately for the Red Wings, seven of the eight subsequent contests (and 14 of the remaining 22 games on the season) will be played on the road.
As the Red Wings are still in the Western Conference (and all games this season are played against conference rivals), the Red Wings will take a western-Canada road trip and a California road trip with a home game against the Minnesota Wild in between.
Detroit's home record (7-4-2) has been substantially better than their road record (3-4-2), meaning that the Red Wings need to take care of business at home this week.
Read the slide title again if it didn't make sense the first time.
Although the Blue Jackets have the worst record in the NHL at 6-12-4 (16 points overall), the Blue Jackets' record against Detroit this season is 2-0-1.
Five of the Jackets' 16 points have come against the Red Wings.
A Detroit loss will give Columbus the season series against the Red Wings after the Red Wings won four of six games against the Blue Jackets last season.
A loss of the season series against the Blue Jackets, the last place team in the NHL, would be nothing short of humiliating and demoralizing to the Red Wings' team morale.
If the Red Wings cannot pick up four wins this week, there will likely be no silver lining for fans to look at during the remainder of the season.
The schedule only gets tougher after this week.
After the home game against Columbus on Sunday, there will be just five home games in the next 18 games before Detroit finishes the season with three out of four games at home.
The Red Wings need to beat the teams that they should beat in order to make the playoffs.
While no games are guaranteed wins in the new NHL, the Red Wings need to get points where they can.
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