3 X-Factors that will make or break the rest of the Red Wings season

The Detroit Red Wings are still well in the playoff hunt in the second half of February, but they are barely hanging onto a wild card spot at the moment.

Feb 10, 2024; Detroit, Michigan, USA;  Detroit Red Wings center Dylan Larkin (71) skates with the
Feb 10, 2024; Detroit, Michigan, USA; Detroit Red Wings center Dylan Larkin (71) skates with the / Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
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The Red Wings have been one of the better teams in the NHL this season, but they are currently struggling to hang onto that final playoff spot. Therefore, quite a few major factors will go into whether this team finds itself in the postseason, where they can throw their name into the hat for the rights to win their first Stanley Cup since 2008. 

Inconsistencies on defense and goaltending have cost this team, along with further inconsistencies in accumulating points, where they have had remarkable points streaks alongside some ultra-lean periods.

Given Detroit’s overall inconsistency this season despite pulling off big trades involving Alex DeBrincat and bringing in former Chicago Blackhawk Patrick Kane, it’s clear they need to make one more big move near or at the trade deadline to at least maximize their chances at a playoff berth. 

Their overall inconsistencies, plus the growing fact that general manager Steve Yzerman should bring in one more major asset, are three X-Factors that will either make or break the final two months of the Red Wings season.

Somebody needs to step up in the net to give Detroit a chance

While the Red Wings should trade for a goaltender, it doesn’t mean the talent they have in the net now can afford to underperform at this crucial time of the year. The team must step up defensively, but with the goaltender acting as the last of defense, they need to give the Red Wings more consistent play. 

Alex Lyon has been their best netminder to date, but he allowed 11 goals in his last two starts, saving just 39 out of 50 shots on goal for a save percentage of a meager 0.780 percent. Meanwhile, neither Ville Husso nor James Reimer have played excellent hockey in the crease, but with the Red Wings on the cusp of earning their first playoff berth in a while, the current rotation must step up even amidst the struggles on defense.