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Red Wings beat Blues 4-2, pad lead for 8th spot

DETROIT (AP) — Valtteri Filppula scored with 6:49 left and added an empty-net goal, lifting the Detroit Red Wings to a 4-2 victory over the St. Louis Blues on Wednesday night.

The Red Wings padded their lead to four points over Calgary for the last spot in the Western Conference playoffs with their sixth win in seven games. St. Louis moved a step closer toward being eliminated from the race with its fourth loss in six games.

Detroit's Jimmy Howard made 30 saves, and former Red Wing Ty Conklin stopped 20 shots.

Henrik Zetterberg and Todd Bertuzzi scored for the Red Wings, 9-2-1 since the Olympic break. Paul Kariya put St. Louis ahead in the first and Jay McClement made it 2-all early in the third.

The Red Wings have been playing their best hockey during their rebuilding season, improving their chances of making it to a 19th straight postseason and extending the longest such streak in sports.

St. Louis is 10 points behind Detroit and there are two teams — Calgary and Dallas — between the Central Division teams.

Kariya got the Blues off to a good start, splitting defenseman with speed and flicking a shot between Howard's pads 5:39 into the game.

Zetterberg, who has been Detroit's best player lately, scored his 23rd goal 26 seconds into the second period and Bertuzzi was credited with a goal that went off his leg and stood after review at the 4:35 mark of the second.

Conklin made some saves to keep the Blues in the game and got a break with Pavel Datsyuk's breakaway shot went just above the net, then McClement made it 2-all less than a minute later.

Brian Rafalski set up the go-ahead goal by simply flicking a shot from center ice and it bounced off Conklin. Filppula swooped in to get the puck and scored on a backhander.

NOTES: Conklin played for Detroit last season as a backup, but wasn't re-signed to pave the way for Howard, who has emerged as a Rookie of the Year contender. .. During the first intermission, boxers Andre Dirrell and Arthur Abraham were introduced to promote their Super Six World Boxing Classic matchup on Saturday at Joe Louis Arena.

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