NHL: Red Wings 8th in West after win over Nashville

2013-04-15T00:00:00Z NHL: Red Wings 8th in West after win over NashvilleThe Associated Press The Associated Press
April 15, 2013 12:00 am  • 

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - The Detroit Red Wings have given themselves a little breathing room, at least for the moment.

Henrik Zetterberg had a goal and an assist, and the Red Wings beat the Nashville Predators 3-0 Sunday night for a crucial two points in their chase to extend their streak of playoff berths.

The Red Wings got their first win in four games, the last two shootout losses, and moved into sole possession of eighth in the West, two points ahead of Dallas and Columbus and four ahead of Phoenix.

Johan Franzen also scored a goal, Justin Abdelkader added a late empty-netter and Pavel Datsyuk had two assists. Jimmy Howard made 22 saves for his third shutout this season.

Detroit coach Mike Babcock said they got two big points that tied the Red Wings with seventh-place Minnesota with 47 points.

"There's a lot of us in that mud puddle trying to find a way to swim," Babcock said of tight pack in the standings.

Pekka Rinne made 29 saves for Nashville, which lost its sixth straight.

Nashville hoped to spoil the Red Wings' playoff chase in their final game in Music City as Central Division rivals before realignment.

Their final game is April 25 in Detroit in a rivalry where Nashville measured itself against the Original Six team from its inception before beating the Red Wings in the playoffs last year.

"Howard, again, came up huge," Detroit defenseman Niklas Kronwall said.

The Red Wings hadn't won since April 5. They began the day tied with Dallas and Columbus with 45 points, with the pressure mounting to uphold a tradition featuring 21 consecutive playoff appearances. Howard, who had his 14th career shutout, certainly helped as he stopped 13 shots in the first period before Detroit started firing pucks at Rinne over the final 40 minutes.

"We control our own destiny," Howard said. "It's upon us and the dressing room to get the job done. I think a lot of people would be happy to see us miss the playoffs. We have to go out there and play with the same sense of urgency when we get out to Calgary."

• Sabres 3, Lightning 1: In Buffalo, N.Y., Jhonas Enroth stopped 32 shots in helping the Sabres keep up their late-season playoff push.

Tyler Ennis, with his first goal in 12 games, Jochen Hecht and Kevin Porter scored for Buffalo (18-19-6), which took over sole possession of 10th place in the Eastern Conference - four points behind the eighth-place Rangers.

Benoit Pouliot scored for the Lightning, which dropped to 1-4-1 in its past six.

• Blackhawks 2, Blues 0: In St. Louis, Corey Crawford stopped 30 shots and the Blackhawks got goals from Bryan Bickell and Marian Hossa for the win, ending Blues goalie Brian Elliott's shutout streak at three games.

The Blackhawks lead the NHL with 68 points, and have won five in a row. They're 3-1 against the Blues, all with Crawford in net.

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