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Where they Stand: After win vs. Lightning

Sunday, 03.30.2014 / 8:37 PM ET / News
By Bill Roose  - Managing Editor | DetroitRedWings.com
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Where they Stand: After win vs. Lightning
Jonas Gustavsson makes one of his 26 saves, stopping Lightning forward J.T. Brown in the Red Wings' 3-2 win Sunday at Joe Louis Arena. (Photo by Dave Reginek/Detroit Red Wings)

DETROIT – After losing three straight last week, how badly did the Red Wings need two big wins in regulation this weekend?

Sunday’s 3-2 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning, coupled with a 4-2 win at Toronto on Saturday, upgraded the Red Wings' temporary playoff status from critical to serious.

“It’s huge obviously to get four points on a back-to-back weekend is big especially the race is so tight,” Red Wings center David Legwand said. “If we can start gaining some ground here and getting some traction we’ll be alright.”

The win gives Detroit 84 points in its fight with three other teams for the two wild-card spots in the Eastern Conference race. The Red Wings are now two points ahead of idle Columbus and four ahead of Washington and Toronto.

The Capitals’ game in Nashville was an 8 p.m. EDT start Sunday.

The Red Wings built a two-goal lead on goals by Joakim Andersson, Gustav Nyquist and Legwand, while backup goalie Jonas Gustavsson made 26 saves in his first start in a dozen games.

The win was huge for the Red Wings, especially since the Lightning entered the game on the hottest winning streak in the league. The loss was the first in regulation for Tampa Bay (7-1-4) in its last 12 games.

“We’re just plugging away, grinding away,” coach Mike Babcock said. “We knew going in they had lots of skill. We’ve had tight games with them all they, they’ve all been one goal games. We’ve never been able to find a way to beat Bishop much, it’s been one or two at the most and tonight we got three by him. That’s why we won.

The Red Wings have eight games remaining, with three at home, including two this week against Boston on Wednesday and Buffalo on Friday. Detroit finishes up with four of its final five games on the road, where the Wings have 19 wins, three more than their home win total.

“When you drop the first two of the week, you want to end the week on a good note,” said Nyquist, who extended his point streak to nine straight games with an incredible goal. “It's going to mean a lot for the standings.”

With a slight edge, the Red Wings feel like they control their own playoff destiny with two weeks left in the regular season.

“We gotta find to find a way to win some games here to get in,” Nyquist continued. “We've got Washington breathing down our necks and Columbus is right with us here, and Toronto's in the mix too. Everyone's going to be playing for their playoff lives here. It's a good thing we have it in our own hands at least.”

Follow Bill Roose on Twitter | @Bill_Roose

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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 WSH 51 38 9 4 166 114 80
2 FLA 52 31 15 6 143 115 68
3 NYR 52 29 18 5 148 134 63
4 TBL 51 29 18 4 137 118 62
5 BOS 52 28 18 6 151 137 62
6 NYI 51 27 18 6 143 127 60
7 DET 52 26 18 8 130 131 60
8 PIT 51 26 18 7 132 130 59
9 NJD 53 26 20 7 119 120 59
10 CAR 54 24 21 9 130 142 57
11 MTL 54 26 24 4 143 143 56
12 PHI 51 23 19 9 121 133 55
13 OTT 53 24 23 6 148 165 54
14 BUF 53 21 26 6 120 139 48
15 TOR 51 19 23 9 117 140 47
16 CBJ 54 21 28 5 135 168 47

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
D. Larkin 51 18 19 25 37
H. Zetterberg 52 9 25 2 34
T. Tatar 51 15 17 -2 32
G. Nyquist 52 14 15 -2 29
J. Abdelkader 52 14 12 -4 26
P. Datsyuk 37 6 20 11 26
M. Green 46 4 17 -7 21
N. Kronwall 45 3 14 -10 17
B. Richards 38 5 10 6 15
D. DeKeyser 48 6 8 12 14
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
P. Mrazek 19 10 4 .932 2.03
J. Howard 7 8 4 .904 2.89