The key buzzword around the Red Wings lately has been “traction” — and the need for the team to build some positive momentum.

It’s been difficult with the long list of injuries and some inexplicably bad losses.

But maybe this is it, maybe we’re in the process of seeing it.

The Red Wings returned from the holiday break Saturday with a 4-3 victory over the Florida Panthers. It was the third win in four games for the Red Wings (18-13-9, 45 points), while erasing the ugliness of Monday’s loss to the New York Islanders. It also was the Red Wings’ first win over the Panthers (14-20-5, 33 points) in three tries this season.

“For sure we have to do that,” forward Gustav Nyquist, who scored the eventual winner, said of stringing victories together. “If you look at the standings, it’s real tight and we’re just in a playoff spot right now. If you keep losing, not getting consecutive wins, you’re going to drop pretty fast in the standings.

“It’s real important for us to get in a good groove in the second half and tonight was a good start. We have to keep building on it.”

Brendan Smith and Nyquist scored goals 38 seconds apart in the opening 1:20 of the third period, snapping a 2-2 tie.