iOS app Android app More

Red Wings Top Blue Jackets 7-2, Clinch Playoff Spot

By LARRY LAGE 03/26/12 10:44 PM ET AP

Red Wings Blue Jackets
Detroit Red Wings left wing Tomas Holmstrom (96) of Sweden shoots the puck past Columbus Blue Jackets goalie Steve Mason (1) for his second goal during the first period of an NHL hockey game in Detroit, Monday, March 26, 2012. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

DETROIT -- Tomas Holmstrom scored two goals and the Detroit Red Wings earned a team-record 21st consecutive playoff berth with a 7-2 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Monday night.

Detroit broke its team record of 20 straight seasons of reaching the playoffs set from 1939-58.

Detroit's playoff streak is the longest active run in professional sports.

The NBA's San Antonio Spurs are expected to extend their playoff streak to 15 years; the Philadelphia Phillies have been in five straight postseasons in baseball; and the Baltimore Ravens have been in the NFL playoffs four consecutive years.

Holmstrom scored twice to help the Red Wings take a 4-0 lead less than 10 minutes into the game. They had a 6-0 cushion midway through the second period and a seven-goal lead early in the third.

Columbus is in last place in the NHL with 55 points.

The Red Wings have won two straight after dropping six in a row.

Detroit is a point ahead of Nashville and five points in front of Chicago to be the fourth-seeded team – with home-ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs – with six games left in the regular season.

The Red Wings will host the Predators on Friday night and the Blackhawks on April 7 to close the regular season.

The Red Wings have won an NHL-high 30 games at home, including a league-record 23 in a row earlier this season.

Holmstrom, who hadn't scored in his previous 28 games, helped Detroit get off to a strong start against the lowly Blue Jackets, who had players fall and turn the puck over without a Red Wing near them in the opening minutes.

Just 1:06 into the game, Holmstrom scored easily from the right side of the net on a tic-tac-toe play set up by perfect passes from Henrik Zetterberg and Niklas Kronwall.

Gustav Nyquist scored his first NHL goal in his 12th game at the 5:35 mark of the first period.

Holmstrom scored his second goal, also on a power play, and Jiri Hudler had a goal less than a minute apart midway through the first period to make it 4-0.

The Red Wings looked as if they were toying with the Blue Jackets at times.

Pavel Datsyuk made a no-look pass on Nyquist's goal and Zetterberg dropped a pass between his legs to set up Holmstrom's second goal.

Zetterberg and Todd Bertuzzi each finished with four assists.

Nicklas Lidstrom and Brad Stuart scored in the first half of the second period and Datsyuk added another goal early in the third to put the Red Wings ahead 7-0.

Columbus' Mark Letestu scored 19 seconds later in the third to avoid the shutout and Rick Nash had a goal midway through the period to make it 7-2.

Detroit's Ty Conklin, playing for the injured Jimmy Howard, had 24 saves.

Steve Mason gave up six goals on 28 shots and was pulled in favor of Allen York by interim Blue Jackets coach Todd Richards for the second straight game. Allen allowed a goal on 11 shots.

NOTES: The Red Wings might get Howard (groin) back on Friday against Nashville while Johan Franzen (back) and Jonathan Ericsson (left wrist) may play Wednesday at Columbus. ... Columbus scratched James Wisniewski, who hasn't played since he was hit in the face by a puck last week, Derek MacKenzie (concussion), Fedor Tyutin (broken right hand) and Curtis Sanford (leg muscle tear). ... Monday was the 15th anniversary of the Avalanche-Red Wings brawl in which Detroit's Darren McCarty fought Colorado's Claude Lemieux, leading to Patrick Roy of the Avs and Mike Vernon of the Red Wings dropping their gloves. ... Letestu has points in eight of the past 11 games.

Also on HuffPost:

FOLLOW DETROIT

Filed by Simone Landon  |