Red Wings clinch 24th straight playoff berth despite OT loss

Montreal, QC ( - The Detroit Red Wings clinched a playoff berth for the 24th consecutive season despite a 4-3 overtime loss to the Montreal Canadiens on Thursday.

The Red Wings got some help. Their one point combined with a Boston loss in regulation to Florida put the Red Wings in the playoffs.

"People talk about 24 years, but for me 10 years since the lockout, we're the only team in the National Hockey League to make it all 10 times," said Red Wings coach Mike Babcock. "The last three years we've been grinding to get in. We changed our group totally and to find away has been incredible."

Lars Eller scored 1:21 into overtime for the Canadiens, who remained two points ahead of the Tampa Bay Lightning, who also won on Thursday, for first place in the Atlantic Division. Andrei Markov, Jeff Petry and Tomas Plekanec also scored.

Montreal goaltender Carey Price made 24 saves for his a team-record 43rd win this season to move ahead of Hall of Fame Canadiens goalies Jacques Plante and Ken Dryden, with whom he shared the previous record of 42 wins.

"I think our team is playing very well right now," Price said. "We were patient and pretty relentless all night."

Tomas Tatar, Pavel Datsyuk and Darren Helm scored for the Red Wings, who sit third in the Atlantic Division with 98 points. Jimmy Howard stopped 22-of-26 shots.

Helm gave Detroit a 3-2 lead at 3:34 of the third period when he scored a short-handed goal on a breakaway. He intercepted Markov's cross-ice pass before scoring his 15th goal of the season.

Plekanec tied things up with a 5-on-3 power-play goal at 11:39. The Canadiens got that two-man advantage at 11:07 when Detroit defenseman Brendan Smith played a puck with his hand while seated on the bench.

Eller scored on a shot from the left side that snuck past Howard.

The Red Wings got the opening goal when Datsyuk knocked the puck away from Brendan Gallagher and fed Tatar, who put one past Price at 10:19 of the first.

Markov's blast from the point got past Howard at 17:36.

The teams traded goals again in the second. Petry scored off Torrey Mitchell's pass at 6:24. Datsyuk lit the lamp from the high slot at 8:07.

Game Notes

The Red Wings have lost six in a row to the Canadiens ... Montreal was without scoring leader Max Pacioretty, who will miss the rest of the regular season with an upper-body injury ... Detroit played without Erik Cole, Justin Abdelkader and Tomas Jurco ... The Canadiens play their final regular-season game Saturday night in Toronto, while the Red Wings play at Carolina on Saturday.