Jeff Skinner and Derek Joslin scored in the second period and Erik Cole added a goal in the third. The Hurricanes have won seven of nine to move to 89 points and remain in the hunt for just their second postseason berth since they won the 2006 Stanley Cup.
They need some help to get there, with the clearest path requiring them to win both of their final two games while the New York Rangers, eighth with 91 points, lose one of their last two.
Eric Staal added three assists to help Carolina beat Detroit for the first time since 2006.
Jimmy Howard made 29 saves for the Central Division champion Red Wings, who lost star left winger Henrik Zetterberg to a lower-body injury. Zetterberg, who collided with Carolina defenseman Bryan Allen midway through the first period, has a team-best 80 points.
WASHINGTON (AP) - Mike Knuble and Jason Chimera scored power-play goals in the first period and Washington won its fourth straight to put the Capitals on the brink of clinching the top seed in the Eastern Conference.
Sean Collins, called up over the weekend because of injuries to several Washington defensemen, padded the lead in the second period with his second career NHL goal. Matt Hendricks made it 4-0 in the third period, and Alex Ovechkin scored his 301st NHL goal into an empty net.
Ovechkin added two assists in addition to his empty-netter, giving him eight points in the last four games. Laich also had two assists, and Semyon Varlamov made 31 saves.
David Booth and Mike Santorelli scored for Florida. The Panthers have lost nine straight.
BOSTON (AP) - Dennis Seidenberg and Gregory Campbell scored in a 78-second span in the second period and the Boston Bruins moved within two points of the second playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
The Bruins, who have clinched the Northeast Division title, have 101 points. The Philadelphia Flyers, the Atlantic Division leaders who were idle Wednesday, have 103. Both teams have two regular-season games left.
Boston is streaking at the right time with a 6-2-1 record in its last nine games before finishing at home against Ottawa on Saturday and at New Jersey on Sunday heading into the playoffs.
Shawn Thornton also scored for Boston.
New York, already eliminated from playoff contention, lost for the fifth time in six games.
Michael Grabner scored his 32nd and 33rd goals for New York. He leads NHL rookies in goals.
NEWARK, N.J. (AP) - Ilya Kovalchuk scored his 30th goal and added an assist to lead New Jersey.
Mattias Tedenby, Henrik Tallinder and Patrik Elias also scored for the Devils in the game that matched two teams that made desperate second-half playoff runs only to fall short.
Martin Brodeur had 22 saves but had to sweat out the final minutes after Toronto got third-period goals from Phil Kessel and Tyler Bozak to make it close.
Kovalchuk extended his string of 30-goal NHL seasons to eight when he scored at 13:47 of the first with New Jersey on a power play.