Fighting for their playoff lives, the Detroit Red Wings earned a 3-1 win over the Los Angeles Kings and moved into eighth place in the Western Conference standings, one point ahead of the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Jordin Tootoo’s mid-air deflection early in the third period held up as the game-winner for the Red Wings. With Detroit’s fourth line pressuring the Kings, Patrick Eaves fired a shot from the top of the left faceoff circle and Tootoo batted it down in the slot, bouncing it off the ice and past Los Angeles goalie Jonathan Quick at 5:42.
Johan Franzen added a power-play goal with 6:26 remaining in regulation, taking a backhand feed from Henrik Zetterberg at the top of the crease for a tip past Quick.
Kyle Clifford had opened the game’s scoring 5:28 into the middle frame, collecting the loose puck at the top of the crease after a goalmouth scramble and shoveling it in behind a sprawling Jimmy Howard.
Pavel Datsyuk tied things up with 9:28 remaining in the period, backhanding a chance under Quick from the inside edge of the right faceoff circle.
Howard finished the night with 23 saves on 24 shots against. Quick made 33 saves on 36 Detroit chances.
Franzen’s insurance tally was the only power play goal of the night. Detroit had four tries with the man-advantage (including a long five-on-three) to three for the Kings.
The Red Wings will continue their quest for the playoffs on Thursday night when they host the Nashville Predators in the regular season home finale.
Detroit will clinch a playoff spot with three points in their final two games regardless of what any other team does. If Columbus loses to the Dallas Stars on Thursday in regulation, the Red Wings will need only one point in the final two games.