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Larkin, Nielsen score in Red Wings' 2-1 win over Ducks

(AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

By LARRY LAGE

AP Hockey Writer

DETROIT (AP) The Detroit Red Wings are hoping to win enough before the trade deadline the franchise chooses to make a run for the postseason instead of trades for the future.

Dylan Larkin and Frans Nielsen scored in the first two periods and Detroit held off the Anaheim Ducks for a 2-1 win on Tuesday night.

"We're not folding," Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill said.

Detroit has won two straight, hoping this is the beginning of a push to rally into a wild-card spot in the playoff race before the NHL trade deadline Feb. 26.

"It's desperation," Larkin said. "We know our situation and what has to be done."

Adam Henrique pulled Anaheim within a goal with 3:54 left in the game. The Ducks took goaltender John Gibson off the ice with a minute remaining in regulation to have an extra skater, but couldn't score to extend the game.

The Red Wings went off the ice with a sense of relief after blowing third-period goals in recent games.

"We hit that crossbar and then they score right after, you do think for a second, `Oh, is it one of those again?'" Nielsen acknowledged.

The Ducks were dominant in the first, outshooting Detroit 16-5, and still trailed after Larkin scored off Kevin Bieksa's giveaway in front of net with 6:28 left in the period.

Nielsen scored late in the second to put the Red Wings up 2-0 even though they were held to single digits in shots.

"We had two turnovers that ended up in our net," Ducks coach Randy Carlyle said. "That's what the game is like when teams are going for the playoffs."

Detroit's Jimmy Howard held up to intense pressure in the first period stopping 15 shots, and he finished with 32 saves. He kicked out his left leg to stop Corey Perry's shot in front of the net on a power play midway through the third period.

"When he plays like that, we play with confidence and it's easier for us to play better," Red Wings captain Henrik Zetterberg said.

Anaheim generated a lot of scoring chances and had two potential goals were waved off after video reviews, but could only score once.

"We played well early," Ducks center Ryan Getzlaf said. "But we had those two goals called back that we thought could have counted, especially the first one, and we missed an empty net. That took something out of us."

John Gibson had 14 saves for the Ducks, who have lost five of seven to slip in the Pacific Division standings.

"The last week or so has been frustrating because we aren't competing at the level we need to compete," Getzlaf said. "We have to push for the playoffs right now. We can't wait. At this time of the year, everyone plays hard."

NOTES: Former Ducks C Dennis Rasmussen cleared waivers and chose to play in Europe. ... Larkin's goal gave him a team-high 43 points in 55 games, extended his point streak to four games and ended his third goal-scoring drought of at least eight games. ... Howard won the 215th game of his career, moving past Tim Thomas for seven on the all-time list of NHL wins by an American-born goalie. Ryan Miller, the Ducks' No. 2 goalie, is leads all U.S.-born active goaltenders with 365 victories and is third on the all-time list behind John Vanbiesbrouck (374) and Tom Barrasso (369). ... The Ducks recalled D Marcus Pettersson from the AHL and he was scratched at Detroit.

UP NEXT

Ducks: Play at Chicago on Thursday night, the second of a four-game road trip that includes stops in Minnesota and Las Vegas.

Red Wings: Visits Tampa Bay on Thursday night.

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More AP NHL coverage: https://apnews.com/tag/NHLhockey

Updated February 14, 2018

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