Points will be at a premium as the Detroit Red Wings head out West

The Detroit Red Wings are set to embark on a difficult West-Coast road trip.

Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
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"Go west, young man." The Detroit Red Wings head to western Canada with a stop in Seattle on what some are calling a season-defining road trip. Although some (Jake Walman) are calling it a season-defining trip, others (Derek Lalonde) are quick to pump the brakes on the notion.

The Detroit Red Wings enjoyed a superb January, producing a 9-2-2 record, which propelled the team back into the playoff chase following a horrible December. Despite a slow start after a nine-day All-Star and bye-week break, the Red Wings found a way to mount a comeback victory over the Vancouver Canucks. The Canucks are a juggernaut in the Western Conference, so being down 3-1 heading into the third period to win 4-3 in overtime was quite a feat. Detroit has created a true identity; they are the comeback kids. Saturday's game was Detroit's 16th comeback victory this season and third-ranked ninth, third-period comeback victory. The Red Wings sit with an overall record of 27-18-6 on the year.

On Saturday, Canucks defenseman Nikita Zadorov was assessed a five-minute major penalty and game misconduct and later suspended for two games for a head hit on Lucas Raymond. Raymond left the game for some time but was able to return after clearing the concussion protocol. The 21-year-old winger scored the opening goal in highlight-reel fashion. He's amassed 14 goals and 42 points on the year for the Red Wings. Zadorov's first game back from suspension will be on Thursday against the Red Wings. First, Detroit must handle its business in Edmonton on Tuesday evening.

A season-defining road trip for the Detroit Red Wings?

The Oilers, fresh off a 16-game win streak, now sit with an overall record of 30-17-1. Following that, Detroit travels to Vancouver with a 35-12-6 record. Then the Red Wings square off with the rebuilding Calgary Flames, who are still a tough out at 25-22-5. The west coast trip concludes in Seattle, who always seem to play the Red Wings tough, and they are a .500 team at 21-21-10.

As Lalonde recently referenced, Walman tabbed this trip as a season-defining moment; Lalonde was quick to temper expectations. “No. Wally, I love the guy, but … no,” Lalonde said. “I understand what he’s saying. We just have to claw. “It’s tough to win on the road, especially with the caliber of opponent,”

“You’re probably talking the top two teams in the league currently right now in Edmonton and Vancouver; Calgary (won four) straight and Seattle we never play well against, and they’re battling for their playoff lives,” Lalonde said. “Probably be similar to our last couple of road trips where we just got to play the right way, got to stay in the fight, we got to give ourselves a chance to battle and claw every point we can.” He added, “This is one of the stretches in the schedule we knew was going to be heavy, and we’re going to scratch and claw for everything we can get. But it was very important to get those two points (on Saturday).”

The Detroit Red Wings will be without Robby Fabbri (for personal reasons) to begin the trip, which means Klim Kostin will draw back into the lineup. I believe coming home with four of a possible eight points on this particular trip should be considered a success.

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