DETROIT >> The Kids are definitely alright.
The Wings got all three goals from their youngsters Wednesday night, the final two coming less than two minutes apart in the third period, as Detroit skated by the best team in the NHL, the Boston Bruins, 3-2, at Joe Louis Arena.
“They’ve been doing it all year for us,” Niklas Kronwall said. “They came up huge again for us tonight. We didn’t play great, but we found a way.”
Tomas Tatar, Tomas Jurco and Gustav Nyquist scored and Jimmy Howard made 33 saves.
Johnny Boychuk and Carl Soderberg scored for Boston and Tuukka Rask stopped 17 shots.
The win solidifies the Wings’ spot in the race for one of two wild card spots in the Eastern Conference, now holding a three-point lead over Columbus, which has the second spot.
The loss was the Bruins’ first regulation loss since March 1. They were 15-0-1 in their past 16 games.
Detroit, which has six games left in the regular season, is now 8-6-2 in its last 16 games.
The Wings are now 3-1-0 this season with Boston and could meet for the first time in the playoffs since 1957.
It’ll most likely be the Bruins or the Pittsburgh Penguins for Detroit in the first round if the Wings get in the postseason a 23rd consecutive season.
“It doesn’t really matter who it is, it’s two points for us,” Tatar said. “A huge win. I’m really happy about it.”
Trailing 2-1 early in the first period, the Wings, who have six games left in the regular season, tied the game and took the lead just a minute and 42 seconds apart, getting the equalizer after some great work by the Kid Line.
Despite having Brad Marchand draped all over him, Tatar was able to find the puck in a scrum in front of Rask and kick it to Jurco, who chipped the puck into the open net just past the midway point of the third period.
“We were down,” Tatar said. “I don’t think we played real good at the start of the game. We had to step up. It wasn’t just us, but the whole team.
“I just felt pressure from each side, kind of got squeezed,” added Tatar of the tying goal. “I lost my stick and my helmet, but I found the puck between my legs. We were playing two-touch before the game so I figured why not kick it. I saw Tommy open on the other side of the net so I kicked it over and he put it in.”
That goal was followed by Nyquist picking up a loose puck in the Wings’ zone and going one-on-one with Zdeno Chara, streaking past the hulking defenseman to beat Rask glove side for his team-leading 28th of the season.
“Gus comes out flying,” Kronwall said. “He finds a way. He doesn’t need that many chances right now. We’re happy he’s going for us. We’re trying to do everything we can to stay alive and get in. Again, Howie huge, huge effort for us.”
Nyquist leads the league with 23 goals in 28 games since Jan. 20 and extended his points streak to 10 games (12 goals, two assists).
“I think we just stuck with it, we competed real hard for each other,” Nyquist said. “Seven games, now six games left. The standings are crazy tight. We need every point we can get here. It was really to see us get two tonight.”
The Bruins began the third period with a 1:57 left on a power play with Darren Helm, who’s one of the Wings’ primary penalty killers, in the box for hooking and capitalized on it.
After some great puck movement in the Wings’ zone, Soderberg finally got one past Howard to put Boston in front 2-1.
“I mean we knew we needed a big kill and we talked right after because there’s tons of time left, we know the score,” Wings coach Mike Babcock said. “Now we had a lot of players tonight that, especially forwards, that weren’t very good for us and yet what they did in the third was they found a way to get going a little bit and guys that maybe wouldn’t have good games scored big goals for us so that’s a positive thing.
“We haven’t watched the other team play in a while, we stood around and watched and so that was surprising to me but it’s a good lesson for us,” Babcock continued. “We can play with anyone, we don’t have to watch the other team, we can actually just get out there and play.”
Tatar tied the game for the Wings just before the five-minute mark of the second period, sneaking a wicked wrist shot far post with Riley Sheahan providing a screen.
The goal came as a Detroit power play expired, but Patrice Bergeron, who had his seven-game goal scoring streak snapped, wasn’t able to step a foot on the ice and join the play.
The goal was Tatar’s 19th of the season.
Boston opened the scoring on a blast from the blue line by Boychuk with just over three minutes left in the opening period.
The goal just 11 seconds after the Wings had killed off a Bruins power play with Gustav Nyquist in the box for holding. On that man advantage, Boston had what looked like a power play goal, but it was waived off when Chara was ruled being in the crease.
Bergeron came in riding a seven-game goal scoring streak.