Jordin Tootoo and Johan Franzen tallied in the third period to snap a tie and lift Detroit over Los Angeles, 3-1, at Joe Louis Arena.
Pavel Datsyuk also scored with Henrik Zetterberg chipping in two assists for the Red Wings, who vaulted over idle Columbus into eighth place in the Western Conference with 52 points.
Jimmy Howard stopped 23 shots, improving to 3-1-1 in his last five starts.
"Our problem hasn't been giving up goals, our problem has been scoring goals," Detroit head coach Mike Babcock said. "Tonight we were able to get three, which is real positive for us."
Both the Wings and Blue Jackets have two games remaining and are in action on Thursday. Detroit plays Nashville and Columbus takes on the playoff-hopeful Stars.
Kyle Clifford provided the lone offense for the Kings, who have lost two in a row and three of five. Jonathan Quick played well in defeat, making 33 saves.
Los Angeles remained tied for fourth in the West with San Jose, which lost in regulation to Phoenix. The Kings and Sharks meet Saturday in the season finale for both clubs.
"I guess if you got home ice, it would be important," Kings head coach Darryl Sutter said. "Last year we were hanging on for the eighth spot and this year we clinched sixth two or three games ago. That's the only difference."
Detroit took a 2-1 lead with 5:42 played in the third, as Patrick Eaves ripped a shot from the right circle which was deflected by Tootoo in the slot.
Initial replays seemed to show that Cory Emmerton batted the puck out of the air just below the crossbar, but the score was given to the former Predators puncher, who recorded his first goal since Feb. 24.
Franzen's power-play marker with 6:26 remaining boosted the hosts to a two- goal advantage, redirecting a Zetterberg feed between Quick's pads from the right side of the crease.
The Wings outplayed the visitors in the opening 20 minutes, claiming a 13-4 shot advantage, but couldn't light the lamp.
Clifford's persistence in the slot paid off, as he managed to flip a loose puck over Howard and past a Wings defenseman in the crease for a 1-0 Kings edge with 5:28 played in the second period.
Datsyuk evened the score with 9:28 remaining in the second, beating Quick with a backhand from the top of the left circle.
The Red Wings haven't missed out on the postseason since 1990, when they finished last in the Norris Division with a 28-38-14 record ... The San Antonio Spurs claim the second-longest postseason string at 16 straight years ... Prior to the game, the NHL announced that Kings captain Dustin Brown was suspended for the final two games of the regular season ... LA recalled forward Tyler Toffoli from Manchester of the American Hockey League.