The Detroit Red Wings beat the visiting Minnesota Wild 4-2 on Thursday to register their sixth consecutive victory and close the gap at the top of the Western Conference standings.
With the score tied at 1-1, the Central Division-leading Red Wings (37-11-7) tallied three goals in the second period to pull away from the Wild and move within a point of the conference-leading San Jose Sharks.
Detroit’s consecutive win streak ties a season high and comes on the heels of a five-game losing stretch.
Jiri Hudler’s go-ahead goal at 10:22 in the second period was his 18th of the season and gave the Red Wings a 2-1 advantage.
“I think we surprised the goalie with that pass,” Marian Hossa told reporters, after making an assist on the play. “Jiri was in good position to either shoot or make a play, and it was a good goal.”
Kris Draper and Ville Leino followed with scores over the next seven minutes as the aggressive Red Wings sent 43 shots at Wild goalie Josh Harding.
Harding finished with 39 saves for Minnesota (28-23-3), while Detroit goalie Chris Osgood had 21 saves in an improved display.
The 36-year-old Red Wings goaltender has struggled recently and entering the contest he had allowed three goals or more in his last seven starts.
“It was the worst I’ve played for this long of a stretch in my career,” Osgood said. “There’s a lot more to goaltending than just stepping on the ice.”
“Mentally I had to go out there and realize the weight of the world is not on my shoulders. I have great teammates and I’m supposed to come out here and have fun. No matter what that’s the way I have to approach it,” he said.
Detroit’s Mikael Samuelsson’s opened the scoring 9:26 into the contest before Minnesota defenseman Brent Burns tied things up six minutes later.
Mikko Koivu produced the final score of the game, a shorthanded goal with 9:35 remaining.
Red Wings center Henrik Zetterberg went scoreless to snap a four-game points streak.
FLAMES 2, KINGS 0
In Los Angeles, Miikka Kiprusoff made 36 saves for his 30th NHL shutout as Calgary beat Los Angeles.
Michael Cammalleri scored his team-leading 29th goal on a first-period power play that stood until a late empty-netter.
PANTHERS 5, HURRICANES 0
In Raleigh, North Carolina, Florida shut out the Hurricanes to record a crucial two points in the Eastern Conference.
The win puts the Panthers three points above the Hurricanes in the race for the eighth and final playoff spot in the East.
Florida goalie Tomas Vokoun made 42 saves for his fourth shutout of the season and 29th of his career, while Anthony Stewart and Gregory Campbell scored just 12 seconds apart during the second period.
The Panthers scored all five goals in the first 33-1/2 minutes.
CANUCKS 4, COYOTES 3
In Glendale, Arizona, Henrik Sedin capped a three-goal comeback in the third period as Vancouver edged Phoenix and notched a fourth straight win.
Down 3-1 early in the third, Sedin scored on a power-play to kick start the Canucks comeback.
SENATORS 5, FLYERS 2
In Philadelphia, Ottawa finally won a third straight game, their longest streak of the season, by downing Philadelphia.
Dany Heatley scored two goals and Brian Elliott made 34 saves for the Senators.
PREDATORS 4, BLUES 3, SO
In Nashville, Tennessee, Jason Arnott tied the game with only 3 seconds left in regulation time, and Nashville went on to beat St Louis in the shootout.