DETROIT >> The Wings did what they needed to do Tuesday night at Joe Louis Arena, get two huge points in a 3-2 come-from-behind win over the Carolina Hurricanes.
They didn’t however get the kind of help they needed from the Pittsburgh Penguins as the Ottawa Senators rallied from a 3-0 deficit to win in overtime, 4-3, to stay alive in the Eastern Conference playoff race.
“Obviously, it’s a big two points,” Henrik Zetterberg said. “Ottawa won in overtime, three-point game there. We have to get our points when we can. It was a hard fought game tonight. It was nice to see us come through.”
The victory moves the Wings’ magic number to two points to clinch a playoff berth.
The win also catapults Detroit two points ahead of Boston for the time being into third in the Atlantic Division with two games left in the regular season.
However, Boston has three road games left – Washington (Wednesday), Florida (Thursday) and Tampa Bay (Saturday).
The Wings have 38 regulation/overtime wins compared to 37 by the Bruins, who hold the next tiebreaker – head-to-head – over Detroit.
“Not really,” Wings coach Mike Babcock said when asked if he was disappointed to hear that Ottawa had come back to win. “The bottom line for us is we’re in control of our situation and I said before that we have to win two games and we have to win two games. We understand that totally to get in.
“I think it’s important that our team’s had to fight through some adversity,” Babcock continued. “Adversity makes you better. We’ve got to fight through this. We’ve got to go into Montreal and find a way to win a game.”
Detroit closes the season on the road as well – Montreal (Thursday) and Carolina (Saturday).
“We control our own destiny,” Jimmy Howard said. “We have to go out there and get points. We found a way to do that tonight. I thought we showed a lot of character doing that.”