DETROIT (AP) — Gustav Nyquist and Pavel Datsyuk scored in the third period, and the Detroit Red Wings rallied past the Carolina Hurricanes 3-2 on Tuesday night, taking a big step toward their 24th consecutive playoff berth.
Detroit could have clinched a postseason berth with the win over Carolina if Pittsburgh had beaten Ottawa in regulation, but the Penguins couldn’t do that.
The Red Wings’ streak of playoff berths is the longest active run in the four major U.S. pro leagues.
The Red Wings won for only the sixth time in their last 18 games, and they looked sluggish again while falling behind 2-1 in the second period, but Nyquist tied it less than 2 minutes into the third, and Datsyuk scored the game winner with 8:35 to play.
Jimmy Howard made 30 saves for Detroit, which was outshot 28-16 over the final two periods.
Detroit’s postseason streak did not seem like it was in any jeopardy until this slump over the last month, but the Red Wings were under pressure Tuesday night to beat the last-place Hurricanes in Detroit’s final home game of the regular season. It felt like a playoff atmosphere at Joe Louis Arena as the final seconds ticked down. The Red Wings raised their sticks to the crowd as they left the ice, and with Pittsburgh still leading by a goal, Detroit was potentially only a few minutes away from wrapping up a playoff spot.
But the Senators tied that game late and won in overtime, completing a remarkable rally from a three-goal deficit. So Ottawa trails Detroit by only two points still.
The Red Wings are third in the Atlantic Division, two points ahead of Boston and Ottawa, although the Bruins have an extra game left. To miss the playoffs, Detroit would have to be passed by both those teams, as well as Pittsburgh, which is a point behind the Red Wings.
The Red Wings outshot Carolina 9-4 in a scoreless first period, and Henrik Zetterberg opened the scoring on the power play 1:29 into the second, lifting a backhander over Hurricanes goalie Anton Khudobin.
But Nathan Gerbe tied it after Detroit turned the puck over in front of its own net, and Carolina’s Chris Terry scored on a rebound to make it 2-1 with 2:50 left in the period.
Nyquist tied it with a seemingly harmless wrist shot from near the top of the slot that slipped past Khudobin.
NOTES: Detroit was without LW Justin Abdelkader (hand), RW Erik Cole (upper body), RW Tomas Jurco (upper body) and RW Johan Franzen (concussion). . Carolina played without C Riley Nash (concussion), D Rasmus Rissanen (knee) and D Jack Hillen (concussion).