3 ways the Red Wings can get back on track as NHL playoff race heats up

The Detroit Red Wings have been one of the worst teams in the NHL in March, dropping all five games so far this month and six straight.

Detroit Red Wings v Chicago Blackhawks
Detroit Red Wings v Chicago Blackhawks / Patrick McDermott/GettyImages
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It’s no secret that the Red Wings have played some awful hockey lately, and to give up seven goals for the second time in a four-game stretch is nothing short of embarrassing for a team that has turned so many corners this year. You would have thought that, even without Dylan Larkin, they would have handled a team like the Buffalo Sabres, who barely gave them a game earlier this season. 

Instead, they skated onto the ice with no sense of urgency, and by the end of the second frame, it was clear they weren’t beating Buffalo. Now, a team that had a decent lead for one of the two wild card spots is on the outside looking in, and head coach Derek Lalonde and company must think fast of a way to get back on track before it’s too late and they miss out on the playoffs again. 

Red Wings must get back on track as NHL playoff race heats up

March is the worst time of the year for a wild card contender to play such poor hockey, especially in an Eastern Conference where five teams reside within striking distance of the second wild card spot. Therefore, the sense of urgency resides at a season-high, and one that should be the highest for a hockey team that hasn’t enjoyed a postseason berth since 2016. 

Luckily for the Red Wings, they are still a good hockey team, even without Larkin. They just haven’t made the appropriate adjustments following his injury. So, how can this team get back on track and reclaim one of those two wild card spots?

For one, they need a leader, someone to step up and take control of a situation that has been spiraling as of late. Which player, or players, can they turn to during their roughest stretch of 2023-24? Let’s answer that question and explore two more areas of note that will help the Red Wings return to their winning ways.