Patrick Kane and the Detroit Red Wings are gearing up to take a run at the Stanley Cup Playoffs. And perhaps the team's most important game in years is on the horizon. Detroit is preparing to travel to the nation's capital to take on the Washington Capitals. It's a game that could make or break their playoff lives.

Kane has seen it all in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The future Hall of Famer has played in 143 playoff games. Furthermore, he won three Stanley Cups during his run with the Chicago Blackhawks. For him, this is an exciting part of the regular season.

“It’s a fun time of year,” said Kane, via the Red Wings official website. “It’s almost like you’re in the playoffs right now, even though there’s 11 games left. You look at tomorrow like it’s a playoff game.

Patrick Kane is ready for playoff push

Detroit Red Wings right wing Patrick Kane (88) skates with the puck during the first period against the Nashville Predators at Bridgestone Arena.
Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Patrick Kane joined the Red Wings during the season after offseason surgery. So far, the veteran forward has performed well above expectations in Hockeytown. Kane has 16 goals and 39 points through 40 games this season. His presence has paid dividends, especially for younger players like Lucas Raymond.

Part of the allure for these late-season games is the weight each victory has. “Obviously it’s a team ahead of us in the standings. If we beat them, we’re in a playoff spot,” the Red Wings star explained, via the team's official website. “I know they have a game in hand, but they’re playing really well right now. It’ll be a good test for us, but these games are fun to play in.”

Kane has rekindled the connection he formed with Alex DeBrincat in Chicago. Furthermore, he has fit in well with other top players such as Dylan Larkin, Moritz Seider, and Shayne Gostisbehere. He has provided an offensive spark and produced in clutch moments. If the Red Wings do end up making the playoffs, the future Hall of Fame American winger will play an extremely important role.

Red Wings hoping to salvage season

The Red Wings faced the Capitals back on February 27. Detroit entered the game with a seven-point lead over Washington for the final wild card spot in the East. At the end of the night, Patrick Kane and his team came away with an emphatic 8-3 win on home ice. It seemed as if the Winged Wheel was a lock for the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

However, Detroit has fallen into quite a slump. The Red Wings have gone 3-9-0 since that game in late February. They have won three of their last five contests. That said, the slump has caused Detroit's cushion in the standings to completely evaporate. In fact, the Capitals now own the spot the Red Wings once occupied.

The Red Wings have not made the Stanley Cup Playoffs since 2016. Prior to their 2017 miss, Detroit had a remarkable run of 25 consecutive playoff appearances. This included four Stanley Cup victories in 1997, 1998, 2002, and 2008. They also made the Stanley Cup Final in 2009, falling to the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Patrick Kane and the Red Wings are looking to return to postseason hockey. A win over the Capitals on Tuesday could be a major step in ensuring that happens. Let's see if Detroit can claim those vital two points and carry that momentum through their final games of the regular season.