If they want to make the playoffs for a 19th straight season, they will have to repeat that night after night.
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Henrik Zetterberg scored as the overtime buzzer sounded to lift the Red Wings to a dramatic 4-3 victory over the Canucks.
"I didn't know how much time was left, but it was enough," said Zetterberg, who took Detroit's 54th shot.
He peeled out of the corner around defenseman Christian Ehrhoff, who had to drop a broken stick, and skated into the slot before lifting a backhand over the left shoulder of Roberto Luongo as time ran out.
Detroit moved two points ahead of ninth-place Calgary for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference playoff race with 11 games left.
"We wanted the win. We needed the points. If we don't get the points, we don't get in the postseason," Zetterberg said. "We just keep going as long as we need to."
That's been a recurring theme of late for Detroit. The Red Wings tied Friday's game in Edmonton with less than a second left in regulation before losing in a shootout, and beat Calgary on Monday with a goal in the final minute.
"Desperation has really showed," captain Nicklas Lidstrom said. "It says we really want to be in the playoffs. We know the situation we're in. We know teams around us are battling to make it, as well. Calgary is right behind us, and it was a huge two points for us."
Todd Bertuzzi and Pavel Datsyuk scored five seconds apart and Valteri Filppula added a short-handed breakaway goal with 2:21 left in the second period as the Red Wings rallied from a two-goal deficit to take the lead after 40 minutes.
But Daniel Sedin tied it for Vancouver five minutes into the third, and Luongo finished with 50 saves. The Canucks went 3-1-1 on a five-game homestand that followed 14 straight road games while Vancouver hosted the Olympics.
"Dying seconds of overtime, it's a disappointing way to lose," Luongo said. "But we got a point."
Detroit needed two, and got them despite also losing forwards Dan Cleary and Patrick Eaves to injuries on Friday. That forced the Red Wings to dress eight defensemen and use two up front, but they still fell behind 2-0 in the first period as Kyle Wellwood and Shane O'Brien each had a goal and assist for the Canucks. Things changed quickly, however, with 7:26 left in the second period.
Filppula's sharp-angle shot ended up in the skates of Canucks defenseman Kevin Bieksa in front of the post on the far side. Bieksa looked around in both directions before he realized where it was. By then, Bertuzzi knocked it in.
On the ensuing faceoff, Datsyuk won a battle for the puck, skated over the blue line and snapped a 45-foot wrist past Luongo's blocker five seconds later. It was the fastest two goals scored by Detroit and given up by Vancouver.
"What is there to talk about," Luongo asked. "Datsyuk used our 'D' as a screen and I couldn't find it right away and obviously he put it in the corner."
Jimmy Howard, a 25-year-old rookie, made 29 saves in his 18th straight start ahead of three-time Stanley Cup winner Chris Osgood. He had little chance on the first two goals, which deflected off players in front, and made a handful of stellar saves before Sedin tied it again on a strange play.
Bieksa's long shot hit a Detroit stick, arced high in the air and appeared headed over the net. But Sedin jumped up to grab it at the side of the net, dropped it to his stick and knocked it off Howard's outstretched pad and just over the goal line.
Just as he did after the early goals, Howard made a couple big saves after Sedin tied it.
"The mental toughness of Howie is about the next puck," coach Mike Babcock said. "There's no sense worrying about the ones that went in. There's nothing he can do about that."
- Filppula also had two assists.
- Bertuzzi's goal was his first in 20 games.
- Sedin's goal was his 20th. Vancouver has six players with at least 20 goals.