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Playoff-bound Red Wings play host to Hurricanes
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Detroit Red Wings wrapped up a playoff spot for the 23rd straight season their last time out, and the club will try to improve its postseason seed when it hosts the Carolina Hurricanes in Friday's matchup at Joe Louis Arena.
The Red Wings needed only a point from Wednesday's game in Pittsburgh to keep their amazing postseason streak alive and they did just enough to earn another playoff trip, falling 4-3 to the Penguins in a shootout.
Riley Sheahan provided a big late goal for Detroit, tying the game at 3-3 with 1:15 left in the third period. Jussi Jokinen scored the winning goal in the shootout, but the Red Wings already had achieved what they set out to do.
The Red Wings made the postseason despite battling tremendous injury problems for most of the season. Among those missing huge chunks of the season were captain Henrik Zetterberg and fellow star forward Pavel Datsyuk.
"I don't think our group has been stressed out or anything like that," head coach Mike Babcock said of the successful playoff push. "I think our group has played hard and had fun doing it. We've gotten better. We need to continue to play well."
Tomas Jurco and Jakub Kindl also scored for the Red Wings on Tuesday, while Jonas Gustavsson made 21 saves in the fortunate setback.
Detroit is playing its final home test of the regular season on Friday and is 18-12-10 at the Joe. The club will cap its schedule Sunday in St. Louis.
The Red Wings cannot finish higher than the first wild card spot in the East and are currently tied with Columbus for that position. The Blue Jackets play Friday in Tampa and, like Detroit, have two games left in the regular season and are still battling Philadelphia for third place in the Metropolitan Division. Philadelphia also has 91 points and two games left in its schedule and the Flyers currently have one more non-shootout win than Columbus.
Detroit is 2-0 against the Hurricanes this season and has won three straight and six of the last seven meetings in this series. Carolina hasn't won in Detroit since Nov. 14, 1989, when the franchise was still known as the Hartford Whalers. The club is 0-15-1 with a tie in 17 road meetings with the Red Wings since that 3-0 win in Motown nearly a quarter century ago.
04/11 10:50:25 ET