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Howard leads Red Wings past Flyers

Detroit inches closer to 25th consecutive playoff berth

by Paul Harris / NHL.com Correspondent

DETROIT -- Jimmy Howard made 30 saves and the Detroit Red Wings moved closer to their 25th consecutive appearance in the Stanley Cup Playoffs with a 3-0 win against the Philadelphia Flyers at Joe Louis Arena on Wednesday.

"It's a big thing," said Red Wings rookie forward Andreas Athanasiou, who scored a goal. "These last couple of weeks we know how important every game is so we've been doing a good job being calm, cool and collective here. Even when we were looking on from the outside there for a little bit, we stuck with it because we believe in ourselves."

Detroit (41-28-11) is third in the Atlantic Division, two points ahead of the fourth-place Boston Bruins and two points ahead of the Flyers, who hold the second wild card from the Eastern Conference and have a game in hand.

The Red Wings can clinch a playoff berth with a win in any fashion at the Boston Bruins on Thursday.

"If we're playing like we did tonight, we will have a chance," Detroit captain Henrik Zetterberg said. "It's a short turnaround for us, just got to get on the plane here, get some fluid and food in us and get ready for tomorrow."

Video: PHI@DET: Howard flashes the leather on Couturier

It was Howard's second shutout and 22nd of his career.

"I think his game's in a good spot," Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill said. "I think he's put himself in a spot where he's in control of his game. He's done a real good job."

Philadelphia plays the Toronto Maple Leafs at Wells Fargo Center on Thursday.

"We didn't get the job done so we just have to pivot real quick and look at the two points [Thursday] night," Flyers coach Dave Hakstol said.

Video: PHI@DET: Athanasiou buries a shorthanded breakaway

Darren Helm and Kyle Quincey scored for Detroit, which played its last home game of the regular season.

"I thought today was probably our most complete game," Luke Glendening said. "[Howard] had to stand on his head a few times for us, but I thought that was the most complete game we've played all year."

Steve Mason made 23 saves for Philadelphia (39-27-13).

"They played a good game," Claude Giroux said. "We played a good game too. They got a couple of bounces. We had chances on the power play and at even strength."

Helm gave Detroit a 1-0 lead 7:57 into the first period with an unassisted goal, capitalizing on a turnover by Flyers defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere.

Video: PHI@DET: Helm flips one off Mason's shoulder and in

Athanasiou's shorthanded goal 3:15 into the second period made it 2-0. He picked up a loose puck near the Red Wings blue line along and beat Mason on a breakaway. 

"Saw the puck coming around the boards, kind of got a fortunate bounce over Vorakek's stick," Athanasiou said. "And [Riley Sheahan] was yelling and once I heard him yell, 'Go, go, go,' I kind of knew I was clear cut there so it was a good feeling."

Quincey scored an empty-net goal with 1:43 left for his fourth goal of the season.

Mason stopped Helm on a breakaway and Glendening on the rebound with just under 10 minutes left in the second period.

Flyers forward Jakub Vorachek hit the crossbar with 6:45 left in the second.

Video: Red Wings blank Flyers, inch closer to playoff berth

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