How the Red Wings keep their playoff streak alive

The Red Wings' streak of playoff appearances is in jeopardy, as they sit one point out of last in the Eastern Conference as of Jan. 5. Here's how they keep the streak alive. Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

The Columbus Blue Jackets might be getting all the attention with their jaw-dropping 16-game winning streak, but the greatest active streak in hockey remains the Detroit Red Wings' 25 consecutive playoff appearances -- and it's at great risk of ending this season.

Following a hot 6-2-0 start, the Red Wings are now 16-17-5, have been outscored 109 to 88, are one point out of last place in the Eastern Conference and seven points behind the Boston Bruins for the final playoff spot.

Four statistical models place Detroit's chances of making the playoffs between 4 and 14 percent. Sports Club Stats places it at 2.5 percent, Moneypuck gives them a 6.5 percent chance of making the playoffs, Hockey Reference is at 6.3 percent and Playoff Status is the optimist of the group at 14 percent.

That means that the Red Wings are quite likely to miss the playoffs for the first time since 1989-90. Just to put that into perspective, Borje Salming was on that team, which was one of only 21 teams in the NHL at the time. The Russians were first arriving in the NHL, and Sergei Makarov of the Calgary Flames won the Calder Trophy. Guy Lafleur was playing for the Quebec Nordiques, and was one of several players to compete without a helmet. Jaromir Jagr had yet to play his first NHL game. So yeah, this was a very long time ago, and it's hard to believe that it could have anything in common with 2016-17, until now.

Detroit can reverse this trend, but the clock is ticking. To make the playoffs, these four things need to happen: