The Red Wings’ front office headed out of town to figure out a plan. But if Ken Holland & Co. needed a map, Jeff Blashill’s team certainly pointed them in the right direction Tuesday night.

A 4-2 loss to the Dallas Stars at Little Caesars Arena offered another reality check for anyone still entertaining the notion that this team is a playoff contender. The Red Wings mustered a season-low 15 shots against a team playing the second game of a road back-to-back, and notwithstanding the phantom penalties that left everyone on the home bench crying foul Tuesday, they didn't really deserve much better.

That's two losses in three games coming off a bye week, and as Holland gathers his staff and the Red Wings' scouts for organizational meetings the next few days, the short-term course should be pretty clear.

Detroit is now eight points out of the second wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference, with at least three teams to climb over just to get there. The Red Wings’ general manager won’t say it publicly, but surely he can see where this is headed.

Back in early December, Holland essentially gave his team a month to give him a reason not to be a seller at the Feb. 26 trade deadline. Since then, the Wings have gone 7-7-2, and even after a brief post-holiday surge, Holland admitted last week, “We haven’t won enough.”

Just don’t say they can’t win for losing. Because they still can this winter, with a little luck and a lot of phone calls.