NHL five questions: how badly do the Red Wings need a win?

Jonathan Daniel

A daily feature which asks the five hardest-hitting questions imaginable about this day in the NHL. Will our queries be answered? (That doesn't count as one of the five questions.)

1. Is tonight's game in Nashville must-win for Detroit? So here's how things stand for the Detroit Red Wings as of the time they will take the ice at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville tonight: they would be on the outside looking in as far as the playoffs go if you drew the line today. The Stars have the regulation/overtime wins tiebreaker on Detroit. They are even in games played. How much of tonight is a must-win just to keep pace with Dallas, who plays again in Chicago on Monday? Do the Red Wings really want to be in ninth place, having to wait out to see if the Blackhawks of all teams do them a favor? Tonight might be the biggest game of Detroit's season.

2. Can the Blues finally establish themselves at home? The Blues have played the fewest games at home in the entire league, as today will mark only their 18th appearance at Scottrade Center this year. Starting this afternoon, they will play seven of their last eight games at home. Now would be a good time to establish themselves as a good home team, something they haven't necessarily done this year. Again, there's a bigger sample size on the road, but the Blues have gone 14-8-1 away from home, and just 9-7-1 when hosting. The Chicago Blackhawks roll into town on national television today, now would be a good time to try to work on becoming a better home team.

3. Can the Blackhawks end the season on another impressive streak? Once the big streak ended for the Blackhawks, they became a much less talked about team. They were practically assured of the playoffs, and they didn't go on any other protracted streaks. So really, where's the controversy? They're in and they're going to be the No. 1 seed unless catastrophe happens. The Hawks, however, have given us a bit of something to talk about, winning four straight as of late. Can Chicago begin another impressive streak without losing to end the season? Again, not that it matters, but it's fun to see just how many points this team can rack up.

4. How will Filip Forsberg look? The other half of the Martin Erat trade finally gives the Predators a look at what he can do tonight, as Filip Forsberg is likely in vs. Detroit for Nashville. The 11th overall pick is making his National Hockey League debut, just about 11 days after having his rights traded from Washington to Nashville for the aforementioned Erat. Forsberg is coming off a season with 15 goals and 33 points in 38 games with Leksand of the second division in Sweden. He also played a part in Sweden's silver medal-winning team at the 2013 World Junior Championships. He's known as a big offensive threat, so how will he play a part in Barry Trotz's defensive-minded system.

5. Which out-of-it team best solidifies their lottery chances today? Buffalo, Tampa Bay and Nashville all play today, and all three could really use a loss if they want to get in on the best odds for the Seth Jones/Nathan MacKinnon/Aleksander Barkov derby. Buffalo needs a loss most with 40 points, sitting ninth-worst in the NHL. Tampa could fall from sixth-worst in the league to fifth, so they stand to gain most by losing (they play the Sabres today). Meanwhile, the Predators have fewest teams to pass on their way to the bottom in the Western Conference than the Sabres and Lightning do in the East. Look, my apologies to fans of all these teams, but when there's only three games on a Sunday in the NHL, you have to make up a little fun for yourself to get to five questions.

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