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Simply clinching

Lopsided win gives Red Wings 21st straight playoff berth

Monday, 03.26.2012 / 10:56 PM ET / News
By Bill Roose  - DetroitRedWings.com
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Simply clinching
Pavel Datsyuk celebrates his third-period goal with Henrik Zetterberg and Todd Bertuzzi. Together the Wings' trio combined for 10 points in Monday's 7-2 win over Columbus. (Photo by Dave Reginek)
DETROIT – The Red Wings needed a win to guarantee a spot in this spring’s Stanley Cup playoffs and extend the longest current playoff streak in North America’s four major sports.

But it didn’t require a full 60-minute effort for a positive outcome by the Wings Monday night. And by the time Jiri Hudler scored the Wings’ fourth goal of the game – with more than 10-minutes still remained in the first period – the 65th consecutive sold-out crowd was singing along to Journey’s Don’t Stop Believin’ much earlier than normal at Joe Louis Arena.

The Wings scored four goals in the first and added two more in the second en route to a lopsided 7-2 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets.

“It’s a big win for our team and we’ve got ourselves in the playoffs for the 21st time in a row and that’s a positive thing,” Wings coach Mike Babcock said. “Now we have come back on Wednesday and play better because we have to get better, we have to be feeling good about our game going in.”

Next up for the Wings is a second consecutive game against the Blue Jackets Wednesday at Nationwide Arena in Columbus.

The Wings were in such control Monday that six different players had multiple-point games, including center Henrik Zetterberg and forward Todd Bertuzzi, who each had four assists. Niklas Kronwall and Valtteri Filppula added two assists each, and Tomas Holmstrom scored two power-play goals, while Pavel Datsyuk added a goal and an assist.

Rookie Gustav Nyquist also recorded his first NHL goal in his 12th career game when he took a beautiful spin-o-rama pass from Datsyuk and tapped the puck into the open side of the net for a 2-0 lead less than six-minutes in the first period.

“I don’t really know how he saw me there, but he’s got eyes on the back of his neck,” Nyquist said. “Obviously when you’re open you have to always be ready for a pass, especially with a guy like him because he probably knows where you are. You always have to be ready when you’re playing with him. … An easy goal for me, but obviously a special feeling.”

Holmstrom’s goals give him 121 career power-play tallies, exactly half of his career scoring output in 15 NHL seasons.

“He is that guy who is going to be there in front of the net all the time and we need that
net-front presence, too, once the playoffs start,” said captain Nicklas Lidstrom, who also scored Monday.
 
The win gives the Wings 97-points and lifts them into the No. 4 seed, one-point ahead of Nashville in the Western Conference standings. The Wings host the Predators Friday night in what could decide home-ice advantage in a first-round playoff series between the two Central Division rivals.

The Wings' 21-year playoff streak is longest current streak in the four major sports, with the next-longest active NHL playoff streak owned by the San Jose Sharks at seven straight. The streak is also a franchise best, surpassing the 20-season streak established between 1939 and 1958 when the Wings won five Stanley Cup titles.

“For this group it means that we’re in this year and that’s all that really matters,” Babcock said of the playoff streak. “But when you look at our franchise that’s done it 21 years in a row it’s spectacular and obviously the Ilitches have done a great job.”

The longest NHL streak is still owned by the Boston Bruins who qualified for the playoffs 29 straight seasons from 1968-96.

“It's a great feeling, knowing we're going to the playoffs,” Lidstrom said. “Now it's just a matter of trying to finish as high as we can in the standings. Points are so important and we're looking to move up, if we can.”

Follow Bill Roose on Twitter | @RooseBill


CURRENT NHL PLAYOFF STREAKS
TEAM DURATION RECORD IN STREAK LAST PLAYOFF MISSED STANLEY CUPS IN STREAK
20 157-109 1990 4
7 47-44 2003 0
5 41-28 2006 1
4 33-23 2007 1
4 17-24 2007 0
4 29-28 2007 0
4 17-20 2007 0
3 28-18 2008 1
3 27-20 2008 0
2 4-8 2009 0
2 4-8 2009 0
2 8-10 2009 0
2 3-8 2009 0
1 2-4 2010 0
1 1-4 2010 0
1 11-7 2010 0

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - WSH 82 56 18 8 252 193 120
2 x - PIT 82 48 26 8 245 203 104
3 y - FLA 82 47 26 9 239 203 103
4 x - NYR 82 46 27 9 236 217 101
5 x - NYI 82 45 27 10 232 216 100
6 x - TBL 82 46 31 5 227 201 97
7 x - PHI 82 41 27 14 214 218 96
8 x - DET 82 41 30 11 211 224 93
9 BOS 82 42 31 9 240 230 93
10 CAR 82 35 31 16 198 226 86
11 OTT 82 38 35 9 236 247 85
12 NJD 82 38 36 8 184 208 84
13 MTL 82 38 38 6 221 236 82
14 BUF 82 35 36 11 201 222 81
15 CBJ 82 34 40 8 219 252 76
16 TOR 82 29 42 11 198 246 69

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
H. Zetterberg 82 13 37 -15 50
P. Datsyuk 66 16 33 7 49
D. Larkin 80 23 22 11 45
T. Tatar 81 21 24 4 45
G. Nyquist 82 17 26 -2 43
J. Abdelkader 82 19 23 -16 42
M. Green 74 7 28 -6 35
B. Richards 68 10 18 4 28
D. Helm 77 13 13 -2 26
N. Kronwall 64 3 23 -21 26
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
P. Mrazek 27 16 6 .921 2.33
J. Howard 14 14 5 .906 2.80