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What has fueled the Red Wings' turnaround and torrid stretch?

Ted Kulfan, The Detroit News on

Published in Hockey

DETROIT — So when did it turn around for the Red Wings?

Was it that California trip to begin January, and the Wings were coming off a poor month of December and teetering on falling out of the playoff picture? The Wings won all three games on the trip, leading to a stretch to where they've been 10-2-2.

The any number of late-game heroics and comebacks during this stretch, which have instilled growing confidence?

Or, maybe Alex DeBrincat pretty much winning a fight against Nashville's Roman Josi in late December?

"Our little run into January started with him fighting Josi and my son texted me after that game ( a Wings 5-4 overtime victory ) and he's like, 'That's going to be a turning point in your season'," coach Derek Lalonde said. "I was like, 'Have you not watched us'."

Something, at some point, definitely happened. Over the last six weeks the Wings have put themselves in playoff position and looked like a team opponents wouldn't want to mess with in a series.

 

Saturday's 4-3 overtime victory over Vancouver, the Wings' 16th comeback win this season, was the latest example of a team that doesn't quit and is beginning to understand what it takes to get into the victory column.

"We feel we're exactly where we belong," captain Dylan Larkin said of a Wings team that's tied with Toronto for the two Eastern Conference wild-card spots and only one point from Tampa and third place for a divisional seed entering Sunday. "We still have a long way to go, and a lot of hockey to be played. We feel in this room there's no secret we're in the position we're in because of our team identity, and that's playing with intensity and sticking together and doing it by committee with our depth.

"I've talked about it how we've risen to the occasion and we rise up to the opponent we're playing. Vancouver is at the top of the league, and it was a physical game they played, and it had played a couple of games before we did (coming off the All-Star break) and our intensity was there.

"When our intensity is there, we're a real good hockey team."

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