Detroit Red Wings sweep in California signals good things to come

The Detroit Red Wings need to "win" January and they're off to a good start.
Detroit Red Wings celebrate a goal against  the Anaheim Ducks.
Detroit Red Wings celebrate a goal against the Anaheim Ducks. / Sean M. Haffey/GettyImages

The Detroit Red Wings need a big month as they hope to stay alive in the postseason race. Their playoff dreams are just that. They need a lot of points this month to try and vault them back into the hunt. Right now, the Red Wings will be on the outside looking in come springtime.

But, in the spirit of positivity, it's worth noting how important these last three games were. Even if the Detroit Red Wings beat up on three teams outside their Division, they went on a grueling road trip to the other side of the country. It's a road trip that can wreak havoc on any team, not just the Red Wings.

All of the travel and time changes amid an NHL player's season can be tough on the body and mind. Even the best teams can go out west and struggle to play good hockey. It can result in some sluggish starts and tough performances as teams travel across the country.

It's the same thing that the Ducks, Sharks, and Kings fans probably say when they come out east for a stretch of games. But, for Detroit, those three wins, even against some not-so-great opponents, were big for them. They were games that the Red Wings needed to win.

Detroit Red Wings six-point performance out west was a good headstart.

Three games and six points may not save the season, but after the Red Wings were beaten up on pretty badly in December, they need this month to go better. Detroit is 3-0 this month, and they made a bit of a statement with their three-game sweep of the Cali teams.

Detroit also has a break after returning from their road trip. They are off until Thursday. However, their next stretch of games will get a bit tougher. The Edmonton Oilers come to town on Thursday as Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl are looking to stay in the hunt in the Pacific Division. Then, it's another clash with the Kings, this time on home ice.

After that, things get tough as they face off with divisional and conference opponents who will not be easy to take down. Detroit will need to find a way to steal a couple of wins and grab some more points away from teams like Tampa Bay and Toronto.

It will not be an easy road ahead, but if Detroit wants to salvage their playoff hopes, it will come from a strong month of January, getting back on track. With Alex Lyon playing red-hot as of late, Derek Lalonde needs to keep riding the hot hand. It's a good chance to trust in Lyon and see what he can do.

Any amount of games he can steal for the Red Wings is a victory. Detroit needs a big month, and the six-point headstart on the month is nice, but they need to keep going.