The irony didn't go unnoticed: The one game the Red Wings lost as they swung through Western Canada was the one in which they played the best.

They return to Joe Louis Arena for a practice today, their body clocks still adjusting from a red-eye home after Saturday's 5-2 victory at Vancouver, which came the night after a 3-2 overtime victory at Edmonton. Weathering the early attack by the Canucks to score five times on them, on the second night of a back-to-back against a fresh opponent, did a lot to soothe the inwardly directed frustration that followed a 5-2 collapse against the Flames on Wednesday.

"I think it went good, especially after the first one in Calgary, where we basically gave away the game," captain Henrik Zetterberg said after scoring twice against the Canucks. "The way we came back in Edmonton, down 2-0, and found a way to score three goals and win that game, and then play like we did here, it's really fun to see that we can do that."

It's impossible not to tie the winning streak into the surge in personnel: Valtteri Filppula returned from injury against the Flames and contributed a point in all three games. Johan Franzen has four points his last four games, having gotten his legs back after an injury layoff. Those two coming back enabled coach Mike Babcock to provide both Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk with quality wingers.

"Our team is better, personnel-wise, than it was two weeks ago," Babcock said. "Now Z and Pav got legitimate players to play with. For a while there, it was heavy sledding for those guys. You're able to generate more with more people."