(SportsNetwork.com) - The Detroit Red Wings halted a potentially costly losing streak the last time out and hope to stay on the right track in Sunday's home clash against the Washington Capitals.
Detroit had lost three in a row heading into Saturday's road test in Minnesota and came away with an important 3-2 shootout victory. The win snapped an 0-2-1 slide and was just the fifth victory in 16 games (5-9-2) for the Red Wings.
The Wings have 95 points on the season and four games left to hold onto a playoff spot. Boston also has 95 points, but Detroit owns the current tiebreaker for the third postseason berth from the Atlantic Division due to holding a game in hand over the Bruins, who are idle on Sunday.
Detroit also must keep an eye on Pittsburgh and Ottawa in the Eastern Conference wild card race. The Pens are tied with Boston for the two wild card spots and the Senators are just three points behind the two clubs. Pittsburgh plays in Philadelphia on Sunday while the Sens will visit Toronto.
Washington, meanwhile, has 97 points, putting the Capitals third in the Metropolitan Division. The Caps are just one behind the idle New York Islanders and two ahead of fourth-place Pittsburgh. Washington had a three- game win streak halted Saturday in Ottawa, but did pick up a point in the 4-3 overtime loss.
The Caps can clinch a playoff berth with a win Sunday and an Ottawa loss. Washington also gets into the postseason if it gains a point today and the Sens lose to the Maple Leafs in regulation.
Detroit had to work hard for its two points on Saturday, winning the shootout in the eighth round on a successful attempt by Darren Helm. Helm's low shot hit off Devan Dubnyk's leg and bounced back out, but the Minnesota netminder made the stop over the goal line and the game ended following a brief review.
The Red Wings carried a 2-1 lead into the third period, but Zach Parise evened things for Minnesota with a power-play tally with 13:27 left in regulation.
Gustav Nyquist and Riley Sheahan each scored in regulation and Jimmy Howard made 22 saves in his first start since March 26th for Detroit. Howard stopped 6-of-8 shootout attempts and didn't allow a goal after Thomas Vanek beat him in the fourth round.
"It was a good win for us," said Detroit coach Mike Babcock.
Detroit star forward Pavel Datsyuk returned to the lineup after missing two straight and seven of the previous nine games with a lower-body injury.
Petr Mrazek will get the start in net for Detroit on Sunday.
Although they eventually surrendered a breakaway goal to Kyle Turris in overtime, the Capitals were able to put together an impressive rally to earn a point Saturday against the Senators.
Ottawa jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the opening period before the Caps began chipping away at the lead. Marcus Johansson scored at 6:26 of the second period to get Washington on the board. Mike Green made it a 3-2 game at 7:18 of the third and Troy Brouwer evened the contest with 4:10 remaining in regulation.
In overtime, Washington held the puck in the Ottawa end, but Turris tipped a pass away and caught up to the puck in the neutral zone. Skating on a clean break, he buried his shot past Braden Holtby for the win.
Brouwer had a goal and an assist in the loss and Holtby finished with 24 saves.
"I thought it was a good challenge to step up and come back," said Green. "But we've got to start games better."
Holtby could get a 23rd straight start in net on Sunday. He is 3-1-0 with a 2.71 goals against average in his career against Detroit.
The Caps are completing a three-game road trip on Sunday before ending the regular season with home tilts against Boston and the New York Rangers.
Washington has fared well against the Red Wings in recent seasons, posting a 5-1-1 mark over the last seven meetings. Both previous encounters in 2014-15 were played in D.C. and each club picked up a regulation victory.
Detroit has claimed four of the past six encounters in the Motor City.