Pavel Datsyuk netted his team-leading 25th goal and Jimmy Howard continued a hot stretch of goaltending, as Detroit extended its season-high winning streak to seven games with a 3-2 victory over Columbus at Joe Louis Arena.
Howard made 20 saves in his 24th consecutive start for the Red Wings, who have rode the stellar goaltending of their rookie netminder to firmly entrench themselves in the playoff picture. Datsyuk and Tomas Holmstrom each had a goal and an assist and Todd Bertuzzi provided what amounted to the game-winning score early in the third period.
The Red Wings will play Columbus twice more over the final five games of the regular season. Detroit remains in sixth place in the in the Western Conference, one point behind the Nashville Predators, whom the Red Wings host tomorrow. The Predators maintained their slim advantage in the standings with a 3-2 win last night over St. Louis.
Also in hockey, in the ECHL, the Kalamazoo Wings finish up their regular season with home games tonight and tomorrow night against Toledo.