The Detroit Red Wings are off on the All-Star break until Saturday, Feb. 10, but after a strong January, the team set itself up nicely for the playoffs.
After a tough December, Detroit came out hot in January, winning six of its first seven games on the way to a 9-2-2 record for the month, ending with an overtime loss to the Ottawa Senators on Wednesday night.
Detroit now has 58 points, which is tied with the Toronto Maples Leafs and puts the Red Wings squarely in a Wild Card spot with just 32 games remaining. In the Atlantic Conference, Detroit is just one point out of third place, currently held by the Tampa Bay Lightning.
When looking at the Wild Card, there's a six-point gap between the Red Wings and the team that's third in the Wild Card, the New York Islanders. However, most teams have at least one game in hand on the Red Wings, with many having more than one game.
Detroit's offense has clicked, with the team scoring three or more goals in all but four of its games in January
“It was an outstanding month,” Red Wings coach head Derek Lalonde said after Wednesday's game. “We put ourselves back in the fight, and that’s where we have wanted to be since I got here. This month was a step in the right direction, but only a step.”
Goaltender Alex Lyon has also provided a boost for the Red Wings, posting an 8-2-2 record in January. In 21 games started this season, he has a 13-6-2 record with a .922 save percentage and a 2.51 goals-against average.
Looking ahead to February, Detroit will open up with a Saturday afternoon matchup against the Western Conference's best team, the Vancouver Canucks, then go on a west coast swing that will include stops at Edmonton, Calgary, Vancouver and Seattle.