The way Robby Fabbri described it a few days ago was “feeling a little something in that room right now.”
For sure, after Thursday’s 5-2 victory in Calgary — which completed a three-game sweep of western Canada and stretched the overall win streak to five games — the Wings are feeling awfully good about things.
Only two points from a playoff position (but actually in a wild-card spot, based on win percentage), the Wings’ recent surge has vaulted them into playoff contention.
The confidence is also growing with each victory.
“We’ve been looking for something like this for quite a while,” wing David Perron told DetroitRedWings.com after the Calgary win. “All year, we’ve been talking about it. If we want to be in this playoff picture, eventually, you have to make points on other teams, and we’ve done that recently.
“The good news and bad news now is we’re in the hunt, but we have to keep going. Any time you don’t play, or any night you don’t gather points, other teams that you are chasing are all winning, it seems like. But, it’s a good feeling to be part of it.”
The Wings had 60 points entering Friday’s action, two points behind both Washington and Florida, for the final Eastern Conference wild-card spot. But, the Wings have played three fewer games than Washington and four fewer than Florida, so there is plenty of room to secure points and lap both teams.
The Wings have been waiting to put together a winning streak like this all season, to put themselves in position to compete for a playoff spot. Perron saw what such an experience can do for a young team when he was in St. Louis.
“We grew as an organization. When you start making runs at the playoffs, you take big steps as a team,” Perron said. “Hopefully, that’s what we get to do this year. That would be huge for our group.”
Goaltender Magnus Hellberg, who backstopped Thursday’s victory with 33 saves, also sees the Wings growing as a team.
“It’s a great feeling,” Hellberg told the website. “You feel the team has some confidence. We just keep grinding, and we trust each other and everybody is working hard for each other. There were a lot of smiles in the locker room after this win.
“This is why we play. It goes fast in this league. If you look at a month ago, maybe we were a little bit out of it. But, we’ve been trusting each other and keep building every game, and now we have a couple of games in a row we win, and now, suddenly, we’re in it.
“You feel it; guys are pumped about it.”
Perron’s assist on Robby Fabbri’s power-play goal was career point No. 700 in Perron’s career.
Perron wasn’t sure when that milestone would occur.
“I was sitting, stuck on 695 for a bit, so I wasn’t sure if it was going to happen this year or two years, or whatever,” Perron smiled. “It was good (to get it).”
Perron has provided the Wings with the leadership and veteran savvy the Wings were hoping for when they signed him to a two-year unrestricted free-agent contract last summer.
“He loves to compete; he’s the type of character guy that leads by example,” Hellberg said. “He brings the mood up and talks a lot and pushes everyone to do their job. He’s really valuable for this team and I’m happy to have him on my side.”
Coach Derek Lalonde was disappointed with the Wings’ first period in Calgary, citing a lack of energy. But Lalonde said this was where the experience Perron has came into play perfectly.
“He could feel our flat start and he was vocal about it,” Lalonde told the website. “That helped our team turn it around a little bit.”
Hellberg’s victory was his first since December 31, as Ville Husso has gotten the bulk of work in net in recent weeks.
“It’s a different situation than what I’m used to,” Hellberg said “I’m used to playing a lot of games, and now I’m in a situation where it’s kind of the opposite. But you have to adapt and Husso has been playing unbelievable. I just have to be ready for when the chance comes.”
Said Lalonde: “He was excellent. He made some big saves in the second (period) and in the third, they had a lot of looks and shots through traffic and they were unable to get momentum with a goal, so it was his best period.”
… Tyler Bertuzzi also, arguably, had his best game since returning from the All-Star break and his three injuries before the break.
“He’s getting his game back,” Lalonde said. “The break was the best thing for him to get healthy and now he’s winning those battles, which is a good sign for us.”
Red Wings at Kraken
▶ Faceoff: 10:30 p.m., Saturday, Climate Pledge Arena, Seattle
▶ TV/radio: BSD/97.1
▶ Outlook: The Kraken (31-18-6), an expansion team last season, have quickly become a playoff contender. The Kraken are coming off a 6-2 victory Thursday over Philadelphia. RW Jordan Eberle (42 points) and LW Jared McCann (26 goals) lead a deep and balanced lineup.