The Detroit Red Wings have struggled mightily over the last three weeks, recently finding themselves mired in a seven-game skid on the heels of six consecutive wins.

The Wings have fallen to 35-28-6, and are holding onto the final wildcard berth in the Eastern Conference for dear life. The Washington Capitals are just one point back; the New York Islanders, three; the Buffalo Sabres, five.

Mercifully, Detroit was able to get back on track over the last five days, defeating the Sabres 4-1 on Saturday night to bust the slump, and triumphing in a thrilling 4-3 come-from-behind overtime win against the lowly Columbus Blue Jackets on Tuesday.

And although it was Patrick Kane who scored the winning goal at Little Caesars Arena, head coach Derek Lalonde pointed to a different forward who has been stepping up in the absence of captain Dylan Larkin.

Lucas Raymond playing his best hockey of the season

Lucas Raymond celebrates the Red Wings win over the Columbus Blue Jackets following the game at Little Caesars Arena.
Brian Bradshaw Sevald-USA TODAY Sports

Lucas Raymond had a tough beginning to the season, but the young Swede has been phenomenal for the team as of late. And Lalonde has taken notice.

“He's been excellent of late. Thank God,” the Wings head coach explained after the win. “At this time last year, Raymond was tiring. He was not very good. We were worried how much we could play him down the stretch. … With Dylan being out, he's literally driven us to stay in this battle.”

It's certainly high praise from coach to player, and well-deserved after Raymond scored two goals in Tuesday's win over the Jackets. And it was much-needed after the team was outshot 20-5 in the first period and had to climb out of a 2-0 hole against the Eastern Conference's worst team.

“We talked it through in the first [intermission], how much adversity and bounce back this group has shown this year. … And they didn't quit, obviously,” Lalonde continued. “Huge credit to the guys.”

Turning point in Red Wings' season?

After the brutal six-game slide, the Wings have now won two of their last three to right the ship ahead of the stretch run. And reinforcements could be on the way.

Larkin, who has missed eight games with a lower-body injury, could be back as soon as Thursday night's tilt with the Islanders. It's obviously a crucial game for both teams, especially as the Isles have lost five straight but still have postseason aspirations.

Despite his ailment, the 21-year-old Larkin is still third on the team with 26 goals and 54 points in 55 games. But Raymond has taken over the scoring lead after a hot stretch that has seen the youngster pace the Red Wings with seven goals and eight points in his last five contests.

He's up to an impressive 24 goals and 59 points in 69 games.

“So many emotional narratives this time of year,” said Lalonde. “Obviously, if we lose, there's a big narrative. … [The win is] huge, but it means nothing if we don't get a little more battle to start and stop feeling sorry for ourselves. It's got to come from everyone.”

It continues to come from Lucas Raymond — among others — and it will need to come from captain Dylan Larkin as soon as he returns to the lineup.

Puck drop between the Wings and Islanders from Little Caesars Arena is set for just past 7 p.m. ET on Thursday night.