For the Red Wings to reach the playoffs, and overcome the loss of Henrik Zetterberg, they will need to play this way.

Gustav Nyquist scored with 27.3 seconds left in overtime Wednesday, giving the Red Wings a valuable second point in a 2-1 victory over the Montreal Canadiens in their first game since the Olympic break.

Nyquist put back a rebound past goalie Peter Budaj, driving to the net, for his 15th goal.

“We control out fate here,” Nyquist said of this post-Olympic schedule. “We wanted to start up on a good note after the Olympic break. It was nice to get that win.”

The game wasn’t particularly pretty in terms of offense, but it was beauty of a defensive effort. The prime scoring opportunities goalie Jimmy Howard had to face were few and far between.

Very similar to how the Red Wings played last season down the stretch to secure a playoff spot.

“For sure, that’s what we talked about, about what we did last year to get into the playoffs,” Nyquist said. “We wanted to work on our defense. It hasn’t been good enough this year.

“It’s what we’ve talked about and it was nice to see it happen.”

One shot Howard didn’t get was Montreal’s Brian Gionta scoring with 28.6 seconds left in regulation, during a scramble in front of Howard after the Canadiens had pulled Budaj.

But the Red Wings were able to overcome it in overtime.

“We played good, even in the final minute — that’s all part of it,” coach Mike Babcock said. “It was a tight game. I wish we would have shot the puck more. Other than that, it was two teams checking real hard and there wasn’t a lot of room.”

The other Red Wings goal was scored by Todd Bertuzzi, on the power play, at 14:01 of the first period.