If at the beginning of this season someone would have told me the Red Wings would be leading the Central Division at the half-way mark, I wouldn't have been surprised.
However, leading the Central Division whilst entangled in a three-way points tie with Chicago and St. Louis would have been, and indeed is, surprising.
The Central Division has become perhaps the most competitive in the NHL and there is nothing resembling clarity regarding which team will actually end up on top at season's end.
The Detroit Red Wings are as good a bet as any though.
With 26 wins—two more than Chicago or St. Louis and a Western Conference-leading plus-40 goal differential—one could argue that even though all three teams have banked 53 points, the Red Wings are still the (slightly) better team.
Strong defensive play, great goaltending and scoring depth have all helped the Red Wings get to where they are at Game 41.
However, there's even more that will need to happen in order for the Wings to end up in the northern-most part of the standings by Game 82.
Taking for granted that the good things we've seen to date will continue in Detroit, here are five things that must happen immediately for the Red Wings to finish the season as true contenders.