Jonas Gustavsson, Tomas Tatar and Gustav Nyquist, essential to victory.

Who would have thought, especially this early on in the season?

Observe. This is the flowing part of flux, as in “We are in flux,” which Mike Babcock said of the team toward the start of the season.

Lots of pieces flowing, now, almost like someone opened the dams upstream.

The week started with Pavel Datsyuk apparently concussed and Henrik Zetterberg’s chronic back condition getting bad enough a disc ruptured and he was suddenly out of the lineup, too.

Then Darren Helm joined them with a bum shoulder.

All the while, Jimmy Howard, the top-hammer in net in this town for four seasons, sat for three of four games.

Flux. Guys in, guys out.

Shuffling the deck

If one goalie is winning and the other struggling to prevail, stick with the winner.

If the young forwards, who were seeing limited or no ice time early on, are suddenly keys to pressing the attack and effective on nearly every shift, extend their time on ice to push things.

The Red Wings lost 2-1 to the Panthers last night. But Gustavsson almost stole one for them, and it was as if the fans were expecting Tatar and Nyquist to step in.

And Nyquist quite nearly did.

With the game tied 1-1 in a seemingly lethargic second period for the Wings, Nyquist’s considerable playmaking abilities emerged.

Gathering the puck in the corner to the right of Panthers goaltender Tim Thomas, he feathered it through bodies and the crease perfectly to Jakub Kindl, who had squeezed down from the point.

It was a splendid setup, with Kindl alone at the crease and Thomas still desperate to get across.

But the puck slid off the heel of Kindl’s stick, just as he shot it.

A second season into what is hoped to be a transition toward their next roster to win the Stanley Cup, the Wings are suddenly more different than one might have thought.