2-11 DET OT celebration vs VAN

DETROIT -- David Perron seemed delusional.

It was Jan. 2, and the forward had scored two goals in the third period. The Detroit Red Wings had rallied from a 3-2 deficit to defeat the San Jose Sharks 5-3 on the road.

“I’m going into the room to address the guys, and David Perron’s yelling, ‘We’re getting 18 points before the break!’” coach Derek Lalonde said. “And in my head, I’m like, ‘Has he not watched us lately? There’s no way we’re getting 18 points.’”

The Red Wings had 12 games left before the All-Star break. In their previous 12, they had gone 3-9-0.

At that point, they were two points behind the Washington Capitals for the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Eastern Conference, but they had four teams to leapfrog.

“I think it’s just my craziness,” Perron said.

This is crazy, all right.

Detroit ended up getting 20 points before the break. That win at San Jose started a 9-2-2 run.

In their first game after the break, the Red Wings came back from a 3-1 deficit in the third period to defeat the Vancouver Canucks 4-3 in overtime at Little Caesars Arena on Saturday.

Recap: Canucks @ Red Wings 2.10.24

It was the seventh time this season they had won when trailing entering the third period, and they did it against a team that took sole possession of first place in the NHL with a point.

Detroit holds the second wild card in the East.

“If we are going to be fortunate enough to get over that line, it’s probably going to be Game 82, probably fighting for every point we can,” Lalonde said. “I just think to get there, you’ve got to have some believability, and a win like this certainly helps.”

Yep. You gotta believe.

Few people thought the Red Wings would end their seven-year playoff drought this season. But what matters most is what the players think.

Perron is a 35-year-old who played his 1,100th NHL game Saturday. He has seen teams defy expectations before.

He was a member of the 2017-18 Vegas Golden Knights, who called themselves the “Golden Misfits” and made the Stanley Cup Final in their first season as an expansion team.

Then he was a member of the 2018-19 St. Louis Blues.

They were last in the NHL on Jan. 2, 2019. Four days later, a few players were in a Philadelphia bar to watch the Chicago Bears and Philadelphia Eagles in an NFL playoff game. The DJ kept playing the song “Gloria” during commercial breaks. It became their theme song after a 3-0 win at the Philadelphia Flyers the next night.

Not only did they make the playoffs, but they won the Stanley Cup.

Perron said the Red Wings were in San Jose watching Alabama and Michigan in the Rose Bowl on Jan. 1 when he started thinking.

“We were kind of slipping away from the playoff picture, and I just counted in my head, counted how many points I thought we would need to get comfortable, get back really in the picture, like we ended up doing,” Perron said.

“I think sometimes you’ve just got to manifest a little bit of your energy. I did say after that game once we won, ‘We’ve got to get 18, 20 points this month.’ I think we got 20, so that was pretty special.

“Just the start of it, though.”

DET@SJS: Perron finishes Raymond's feed late in 3rd period

The Red Wings know there is still a long way to go.

They went on a 7-1-0 run in February last season and held the second wild card in the East on Feb. 23. Then they lost to the Tampa Bay Lightning 3-0 on Feb. 25, and they lost back-to-back games at the Ottawa Senators by a combined score of 12-3 on Feb. 27-28.

They sold ahead of the 2023 NHL Trade Deadline on March 3, parting with defenseman Filip Hronek and forwards Tyler Bertuzzi, Oskar Sundqvist and Jakub Vrana. They faded down the stretch.

Detroit is a better, deeper team this season after adding several veterans, including defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere and forwards J.T. Compher, Alex DeBrincat and Patrick Kane.

Still, the Red Wings have a tough schedule ahead, starting with a four-game trip to Edmonton, Vancouver, Calgary and Seattle. They play the Oilers on Tuesday (9 p.m. ET; SNW, BSDETX).

“These games are going to get harder and harder here,” Perron said. “You’ve got teams that are falling off, but sometimes they’re the tough teams to play against. They play loose. Other teams are trying to push us down, so every single night is going to be a different challenge.

“What do we got, 12 games until the deadline now?”

It was 12 entering Saturday. The 2024 NHL Trade Deadline is March 8.

“I’ve got a similar number (of points) in my head,” Perron said. “I won’t share it this time. We’ll see what happens, but I think it’s important to have a goal in life.”

Related Content