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Red Wings try to salvage season series finale with Bolts
(SportsNetwork.com) - Coming off a much-needed victory, the Detroit Red Wings try to beat the Tampa Bay Lightning for the first time this season as the Atlantic Division rivals wrap their series on Sunday evening.
This is the fifth and final meeting this season between the clubs barring a postseason matchup. The Lightning have won the first four, taking the initial two beyond regulation.
Tampa Bay came into the season 1-13-0 with a tie all-time in Detroit, but has won twice in Motown this season.
Fighting for one of the two wild card spots in the Eastern Conference, the Red Wings snapped a three-game slide with a 4-2 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday. Darren Helm sparked the victory with his first career hat trick.
Jimmy Howard added 25 saves and Gustav Nyquist pushed his point streak to eight straight games with a goal. He has 10 goals and two assists over his run.
"We weren't happy with the last couple games, especially our starts. I thought we had an okay one tonight," Howard said.
The victory caused a little separation in the playoff race. The Red Wings and Columbus Blue Jackets are tied for the two wild card bids with 80 points each and eight games to play.
The Washington Capitals and Maple Leafs are both two points back. The Caps have eight games to play as well, while the Leafs have just six games remaining.
The Red Wings are a distant nine points behind the third-place Tampa Bay Lightning, who have gone 7-0-4 in their past 11 games. The Bolts sit two points back of the Montreal Canadiens for second place in the division.
The Bolts also were in action on Saturday when they posted a 4-3 overtime victory against the Buffalo Sabres. Steven Stamkos scored the winner 1:53 into the extra frame to atone for an earlier mistake.
Stamkos had two goals and an assist in the win, but also put the puck into his own net during a delayed penalty. He tried to send a pass back to the blue line, but missed his target as the puck slid into the Lightning net to give the Sabres a short-lived lead.
"I've seen it a couple times, never live," Stamkos said. "You see it on the highlights. I'm sure I'll make them now in the un-top 10, but as soon as it went over our [defenseman's] stick I knew it had a pretty good chance to go in."
Ryan Callahan and Alex Killorn finished with a goal apiece for the Lightning, winners in seven of their last nine games. Ben Bishop allowed two goals on 28 shots in the win.
Callahan has logged five goals and 12 points since being acquired from the New York Rangers in exchange for Martin St. Louis, while Stamkos has been able to total 23 goals and 36 points in just 29 games on the season.
03/30 09:21:55 ET