DETROIT (AP) — Desperation fueled the Detroit Red Wings on Sunday night.
David Legwand had a goal and an assist, and Detroit held off the Tampa Bay Lightning 3-2 to move into seventh place in the Eastern Conference.
The Red Wings are trying to stretch their playoff streak to 23 seasons, the longest such active streak in North American professional sports.
“We got to find to find a way to win some games here to get in. We’ve got Washington breathing down our necks and Columbus is right with us here, and Toronto’s in the mix too,” said Gustav Nyquist, who extended his point streak to nine games with his 27th goal. “… Everyone’s going to be playing for their playoff lives here. It’s a good thing we have it in our own hands at least.”
Jonas Gustavsson stopped 26 shots and Joakim Andersson also scored for Detroit, which won 4-2 in Toronto on Saturday night.
“It’s huge obviously to get four points on a back-to-back weekend is big,” Legwand said. “Especially the race is so tight and if we can start gaining some ground here and getting some traction we’ll be all right.”
It was Mike Babcock’s 411th win as the Red Wings’ coach. He passed Scotty Bowman and moved into second place in franchise history behind Jack Adams (413).
“Scotty’s the greatest coach of all time in our business. The way the business was then and the way it is now, to have the amount of wins Scotty has is impossible and you’re not going to get to coach so many Stanley Cup champions,” Babcock said. “You’re not able to keep teams together like they used to. Scotty should be in a class by himself.”
Valtteri Filppula and Sami Salo scored for Tampa Bay and Ben Bishop made 27 saves.
“We played a pretty good game. … Got a solid 60 minutes, but didn’t get the result we wanted,” Lightning center Steven Stamkos said. “They’re a good team and they played desperate game.”
Salo scored his fourth goal to pull Tampa Bay within 3-2 with 4:29 left in the third.
Legwand made it 3-1 with a power-play goal with 3:24 left in the second period, tipping in Johan Franzen’s shot for his 13th goal.
Nyquist gave the Red Wings a 2-1 lead with 4:36 remaining in the opening period with his spectacular goal. He was being bothered by Lightning defenseman Matthew Carle on a breakaway and after Carle thwarted the initial attempt, Nyquist slid in a shot from along the goal line. Legwand got the assist.
“Leggy (Legwand) made a real nice play up the middle and I just tried to get good body position on the D-man there to get an opportunity to score,” Nyquist said. “Made that last move to my backhand and noticed that the goalie was out of the net. I lost the puck a little bit and it went behind the goal line there. I was hoping the goalie was still out of the net on the other side so I just tried to spin and get it on net as fast as possible. Nice to see it go in.”
Nyquist has 11 goals and two assists during his streak, and 22 goals in his last 27 games.
Andersson tied the game at 1 with 8:52 left in the first period when he put in a rebound for his eighth goal. It was his first goal in 20 games.
Filppula gave Tampa Bay a 1-0 lead 8:40 into the game on the Lightning’s second shot. He beat Gustavsson from the high slot on a wrist shot for his 25th goal. He stretched his point streak to 12 games (five goals and 11 assists).
Tampa Bay didn’t get its first shot until 8:17 into the game.
NOTES: The crowd chanted “You got Kronwalled” after Detroit D Niklas Kronwall’s hit on Tampa Bay RW Ryan Callahan late in the first period. . Detroit LW Justin Abdelkader returned after missing seven games with a leg laceration. . Tampa Bay vice president and general manager Steve Yzerman spent his entire Hall of Fame playing career with Detroit. . Red Wings’ RW Todd Bertuzzi was a healthy scratch. . Filppula spent eight seasons with the Red Wings before signing a free agent contract with Tampa Bay last July. . Detroit LW Drew Miller played 14 games with the Lightning in 2009-10, before being put on waivers and picked up by the Red Wings. . Tampa Bay assistant general manager Pat Verbeek and assistant coach Steve Thomas both played with Detroit during their careers.