Pavel Datsyuk posted a goal and an assist during a three-goal second period that propelled the Detroit Red Wings to a much-needed 5-2 victory over the Nashville Predators on Thursday at Joe Louis Arena.
Datsyuk added another assist in the third, while Johan Franzen, Valtteri Filppula, Patrick Eaves and Justin Abdelkader each scored once for the Red Wings, who have three straight to move into the seventh spot in the Western Conference with 54 points.
"We need to win here down the stretch so it's all about playing the way we do," Franzen said. "We keep it simple. We get pucks to the net and we get traffic."
Detroit, which hasn't missed the playoffs since 1990, sits one point ahead of both Minnesota and Columbus.
Jimmy Howard stopped 20 shots in the victory.
Mike Fisher and Craig Smith registered a goal and an assist apiece for the Predators, who have lost nine of their last 10 and will miss the playoffs for just the second time in the past nine seasons.
Chris Mason made 33 saves in defeat.
"Early you could tell there was a lot of rust," Nashville coach Barry Trotz said of Mason. "He's hasn't played a lot, but he's a battler and he battled tonight."
With Nashville holding a 2-1 lead after 20 minutes, Detroit erupted for three goals in the middle stanza, with the first two coming in a 2:40 span early in the frame.
Franzen's tap-in from the low left side knotted the game at 2-2 just over a minute in before Eaves netted the go-ahead goal with a one-timer from the left circle at 3:41.
Datsyuk doubled Detroit's edge with under a minute left in the frame when he rifled a wrister from the slot past Mason to make it 4-2 with 46.5 ticks left.
Abdelkader added his 10th of the season with 3:59 remaining in the contest to account for the final margin.
Nashville netted the game's first goal just 1:46 in when Fisher buried a one- timer off a 2-on-1 rush with Rich Clune, but Filppula answered just over five minutes later with a one-timer past the far side of Mason at the 6:53 mark.
Smith restored Nashville's one-goal lead by potting a power-play marker with 7 1/2 minutes left in the opening period.
Detroit wrapped up its home slate at 13-7-4 ... Filppula's goal was the 100th of his career ... Franzen also added an assist ... Nashville center Joonas Rask made his NHL debut and didn't record a shot in 6:36 of ice time ... Detroit's regular-season schedule concludes Saturday in Dallas, while Nashville will finish the season in Columbus on Saturday.