Oh those confounding Detroit Red Wings. Just when it looks to be time to write their epitaph, they go out, add another plot twist, and threaten to rewrite the ending to this story.
Thursday’s 3-2 victory over the Vegas Golden Knights was a complete a performance as the club has turned in through recent games. The Red Wings won the special teams battle while controlling play for the most part at both ends of the rink. They were limiting the Golden Knights to minimal Grade A chances. And when Vegas got a quality chance, Detroit goalie Ville Husso was there with the answers.
“Be good defensively and play the right way,” Red Wings forward Dominik Kubalik was telling Bally Sports Detroit of the formula for success the team must be following.
— Detroit Red Wings (@DetroitRedWings) January 20, 2023
Just like that, the frowns of Red Wings fans that were forming following Tuesday’s 4-3 shootout loss at Arizona were turning upside down. The win in Sin City left Detroit with a 1-1-1 record for this three-game road trip. Not spectacular, mind you, but .500 hockey on the road is considered acceptable.
“There is probably no better place than Vegas to win,” Kubalik said.
Red Wings Are Talking Playoffs Again
With this victory, Detroit is sitting six points out of an Eastern Conference playoff spot. That being said, the Red Wings are also just five points away from being in the Atlantic Division basement, just another layer in the juxtaposition of deciphering exactly where the season is heading for this team.
Kubalik is the perfect example of how this Red Wings season is plotting spaces all over the map. His power-play tally on Thursday was Kubalik’s 14th goal of the season, tied for second on the team. It was also only his second goal in six games and fourth in 20 games.
In less than a week, Detroit lost games to the 29th (Arizona Coyotes) and 32nd (Columbus Blue Jackets) teams in the NHL standings. Overall this season, the Red Wings have dropped five games to teams lower than them in the standings.
At the same time, the Wings have won 11 games when playing teams situated above them in the standings.
This season, the Red Wings have never won more than three games in a row. They’ve also never gone more than three games in a row without earning a point.
Detroit looks to be good, but not quite good enough. Better, but not quite there yet.
“I’m pretty sure we’re a hungry team,” Kubalik said.
Are they a playoff team?
Can the Red Wings be ruled out definitively as postseason hopefuls?
And so continues this campaign of confusion.