Zetterberg winner adds life to Wings' faint playoff hopes

Ted Kulfan
The Detroit News

Detroit — Henrik Zetterberg has had many memorable nights before Red Wings fans in his already storied career — but add Saturday’s to the list.

Zetterberg’s tie-breaking goal was the 335th of his career, tying him with Ted Lindsay for fifth on the all-time Red Wings’ list, sending the Red Wings to a 3-1 victory over Carolina.

Zetterberg redirected a pass from Gustav Nyquist at 13 minutes, 22 seconds of the second period, his ninth goal, breaking a 1-1 tie.

BOX SCORE: Red Wings 3, Hurricanes 1

The goal brought the Little Caesars Arena crowd to its feet, and was special for Zetterberg, too.

“It’s a number I’ve been looking at for a while,” said Zetterberg of the goal total.

“It just pumps you up (the ovation from the fans). It’s awesome. It’s the greatest fans here. They’ve stood by me with the good and bad for 15 years here, so it was nice to get that goal here at home.”

And, coupled with a victory, it made the evening that much more special.

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“Especially with how the games have ended lately,” Zetterberg said. “It was nice to get the two points.”
Niklas Kronwall, a longtime teammate of Zetterberg’s, was in awe of his friend.

“He just keeps breaking records and setting milestones as we go,” Kronwall said.  “It’s pretty awesome to watch.

“He’s just one of those guys that will do whatever it takes to play. Pretty remarkable. It’s pretty awesome to watch from close range.”

The Red Wings (25-26-10, 60 points) remain seven points out of the wild card chase — eight to pass Columbus —but remain confident they can make a push.

“I still think we’re in it, it’s far from done,” said Dylan Larkin, whose assist in the first period allowed him to match his career high with 45 points.

Said Kronwall: “We all feel in here that when we do things right, we’re a pretty good team, and we can compete with anybody.”

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The Red Wings begin a stretch of 10 road games in 11 overall Sunday at the Rangers, so the playoff dream either sustains itself  or gets squashed at some point next week.

Then again, the Red Wings are 12-13-2 away from LCA, so it can’t be that imposing to be on the road so much.

“We’ve been a lot better on the road a lot of times for whatever reason, so maybe it’s better we go on the road,” Kronwall said. “I just like the situation we’re in. We’re in a battle for two points every night.”

Goals Saturday from Danny DeKeyser, Zetterberg (power play) and Trevor Daley, plus 28 saves from Jimmy Howard, powered the victory.

Zetterberg and Daley scored 2 minutes, 42 seconds apart in the second period, after Carolina’s Noah Hanifan had tied the game 1-1.

“We’ve had a long stretch of games where our fate could have gone the other way and it didn’t,” coach Jeff Blashill said. “We need wins right now and we haven’t done a good enough job at home, so we needed to win this game for sure.

“It was hard ice for sure. It wasn’t easy for both teams, It was hard to get into scoring areas.”