DETROIT (AP) — Jimmy Howard made 30 saves, Darren Helm, Andreas Athanasiou and Kyle Quincey scored for Detroit, and the Red Wings took a step toward a 25th consecutive playoff appearance with a 3-0 win over the Philadelphia Flyers on Wednesday night.
The Red Wings (93 points) lead Boston (91) in the race for third place in the Atlantic Division. Philadelphia (91) is tied with the Bruins for the second wild card.
The Flyers have three games remaining, while Detroit and Boston each have two. The Bruins host the Red Wings on Thursday night.
Helm scored in the first period and Athanasiou added a short-handed goal in the second for Detroit, which hasn’t missed the postseason since 1990. Quincey’s goal was an empty-netter.
Howard held on for his second shutout of the season.
Detroit took a 1-0 lead on Helm’s goal in the first. Philadelphia’s Shayne Gostisbehere was trying to help clear the puck by flinging it around behind the net from near the corner, but instead it went toward the goal and bounced in front, where Helm was able to flip it past Flyers goalie Steve Mason for his 13th goal of the season.
An even more glaring mistake led to the second goal. Philadelphia’s Jakub Voracek let the puck get past him near the boards with the Flyers on the power play. There was nobody back to prevent Athanasiou from going in alone on a breakaway, and his eighth goal of the season made it 2-0.
Mason’s most impressive sequence came in the second when he stopped a breakaway by Helm, then recovered in time to deny Luke Glendening’s follow-up attempt. Voracek hit the crossbar with a wrist shot in the second, and that’s the closest the Flyers came to beating Howard.
Quincey’s empty-net goal with 1:43 left in the game was a strange one. Skating near his own net, he tried to slam the puck around the glass to clear it. The puck bounced out at a weird angle and slid all the way down into the goal.
NOTES: This was Detroit’s last home game of the regular season. Pavel Datsyuk was honored before the game for reaching 600 assists recently, and fans chanted “one more year” at the 37-year-old star, hoping he will remain with the Red Wings. . The short-handed goal was only the second of the season by Detroit. . Philadelphia was without G Michal Neuvirth (lower body) and D Andrew MacDonald (upper body). . Red Wings F Tomas Jurco replaced rookie Anthony Mantha in the lineup.
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