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Detroit grabs 50th victory of the season

MARIAN Hossa scored with less than a minute left in regulation to earn the Detroit Red Wings a 3-2 win over the Minnesota Wild on Sunday to snap a three-game losing streak and notch a milestone 50th victory.

After three straight home losses and the postseason approaching, alarm bells were ringing in Hockeytown until the Stanley Cup champions regained some playoff momentum with a gritty win.

"We have too proud a group, too good a leadership, too good people to play like we have been for too long," Detroit coach Mike Babcock told reporters.

"Our guys understand that it's time to get going.

"Our guys know what's at stake. We want to go into the playoffs feeling good about ourselves and the only way to do that is play well."

The Red Wings' victory not only calmed fraying nerves but earned Detroit a place in the record book joining the Boston Bruins (1970-74) and Montreal Canadiens (1975-79) as the only teams to post four straight 50-win seasons.

Good players

"All it means, as a coach, is that you have real good players," said Babcock, who becomes just the second coach along with Scotty Bowman to record four 50-win campaigns. Bowman did it with the Canadiens.

In other National Hockey League games, it was: Capitals 6, Thrashers 4; Blackhawks 1, Blue Jackets 0 (in overtime); Panthers 4, Penguins 2; Sharks 3, Ducks 2; and Avalanche 4, Canucks 1.

In Detroit, the Red Wings jumped out to a 2-0 first period lead with Jiri Hudler and Pavel Datsyuk scoring 64 seconds apart.

But the Wild managed to pull one back before the end of the period when Cal Clutterbuck intercepted Chris Osgood's clearing attempt and snapped the puck between the Detroit netminder's pads.

The Wild scored again late in the second to level it, Marion Gaborik slamming home a loose puck for his seventh goal in eight games.

The tie appeared headed for overtime until Hossa took a feed from Tomas Holmstrom and rifled a wrist-shot past Wild netminder Niklas Backstrom with 55 seconds left.

Backstrom, who notched a club record eighth shutout of the season on Saturday in a win over Calgary, had another dazzling effort as the Wings outshot the Wild 44-23.


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