The odd (but noteworthy) rise of the Red Wings

AP
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Remember how the Detroit Red Wings carried some dark horse potential into the season, then sagged and everyone assumed they were dead weight without Mike Babcock?

It turns out that might not be true.

It’s OK if that slipped under your radar, though.

That’s because the Red Wings’ red-hot run has lacked in a certain amount of “style points,” with Thursday’s 5-1 clubbing of the Arizona Coyotes being a rare exception. Just look at the small margin of error during this still fairly promising few weeks:

Nov. 16: 4-3 OT win at Ottawa
Nov. 18: 2-1 OT loss vs. Washington
Nov. 20: 3-2 win vs. Los Angeles
Nov. 21: 4-3 OT win at St. Louis
Nov. 25: 3-2 OT loss vs. Boston
Nov. 27: 4-3 OT win vs. Edmonton
Nov. 29: 2-1 OT loss vs. Florida
Dec. 1: 5-4 shootout win vs. Buffalo
Thursday night: 5-1 win vs. Arizona

Heading into that victory against Ottawa, the Red Wings were the definition of average at 8-8-1. Now they’re 14-8-4, a distant second in the Atlantic division … but above the wild card rabble.

Kinda sneaks up on some of us, right?

Now, this doesn’t mean that the Red Wings are free-and-clear. That was a fairly home-heavy schedule, and they’re not exactly blowing non-Coyotes opponents out.

Still, considering all the naysayers burying the post-Babs Red Wings mere weeks ago, this is an awfully interesting stretch.