Red Wings beat Kings, 3-1, grab playoff spot for now
Red Wings move into 8th spot in West thanks to 3-1 win over Kings
Jordin Tootoo netted the go-ahead goal early in the third period, and Johan Franzen scored on a power play with 6:26 left, lifting the Detroit Red Wings to a 3-1 win Wednesday night over the Los Angeles Kings and into eighth place in the Western Conference.
Detroit is one point ahead of Columbus and one behind seventh-place Minnesota. All three teams have two games remaining.
The Red Wings are aiming to extend their postseason streak to 22, the longest in North American professional sports.
Detroit's Jimmy Howard made 23 saves and Pavel Datsyuk scored a game-tying goal midway through the second period.
The Dallas Stars, who are four points behind Detroit, host Columbus on Thursday and Detroit on Saturday.
Detroit will also face the banged-up and already eliminated Nashville Predators on Thursday at home.
The defending Stanley Cup champion Kings are trying to finish fourth to earn home-ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs. They will host San Jose, which also has a chance to be fourth, on Saturday.
Los Angeles' Jonathan Quick made 33 saves, including 13 in the first period when the Kings recorded only four shots on Howard.
Kyle Clifford gave the Kings a 1-0 lead 5:28 into the second and Datsyuk tied it 5:04 later.
Los Angeles had a setback before the puck dropped when the NHL suspended captain Dustin Brown for two games for elbowing Minnesota forward Jason Pominville on Tuesday.
The Kings had a power play midway through the third period, while trailing by a goal, but failed to take advantage.
Soon after the penalty was killed, Detroit went on a power play. A fan at Joe Louis Arena celebrated by throwing an octopus on the ice in what has become a playoff tradition in the Motor City.
Franzen moved the Red Wings a step closer toward the postseason by flipping the puck past Quick after defenseman Matt Greene failed to move the burly player known as "The Mule" away from the front of the crease.
The Kings seemed to unravel, getting called for two more penalties to give Detroit a 5-on-3 power play for 1:22 with 5-plus minutes left in the game.
NOTES: Clifford scored his sixth of the season, with assists from Trevor Lewis and Jarret Stoll. ... The NBA's San Antonio Spurs are in a 16th straight postseason, the second longest active streak in North American pro sports. ... Chris Ilitch, president and CEO of Ilitch Holdings, which owns the Red Wings, said progress is being made on a new arena for the team.
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