Detroit, MI (Sports Network) - Pavel Datsyuk's tying goal with 46.4 seconds to
play in regulation kept alive Detroit's chances at home ice advantage in the
first round of the playoffs, but only for a few minutes.
Patrick Kane scored the only goal of the shootout to give the Chicago
Blackhawks a 3-2 win over the Red Wings in the regular-season finale for both
playoff-bound teams at Joe Louis Arena.
Chicago (45-26-11) needed a regulation win to claim the fifth seed in the
playoffs and nearly pulled it off, but will instead be the sixth seed with 101
points. The Blackhawks' will face the Pacific Division champion Phoenix
Coyotes, who topped the Minnesota Wild on Saturday.
The Red Wings (48-28-6), meanwhile, will be the fifth seed with 102 points and
will face Nashville in the first round. The Predators, though, will have home
ice advantage in that Western Conference quarterfinal.
"It's great that we don't have to travel across the country," said Wings head
coach Mike Babcock, noting that his club won't have to play one of the Pacific
Division teams. "Every [playoff] matchup in the league is tough, so the less
travel you have the better off you are. It'll be fun going down to
[Nashville]. It's always exciting down there and we've played some good games
Detroit needed a win and a Nashville loss later Saturday against Colorado to
earn the fourth seed, and pulled netminder Jimmy Howard with more than a
minute left in search of the tying goal.
The move paid off when Tomas Holmstrom made a deft cross-crease pass through
his own legs to a wide open Datsyuk, who slammed the puck into the empty side
of the cage for his 19th goal.
Chicago, needing a regulation win to claim the fifth seed, then pulled
goaltender Corey Crawford in the closing seconds with the game tied, but could
not convert and a thrilling overtime couldn't produce a winner.
Datsyuk was first in the shootout and tried a nifty move by slipping the puck
through his own legs, but just missed the net wide. Kane was next and he also
slid the puck through his legs before tapping it through Howard's pads.
Crawford then turned aside Jiri Hudler, and Todd Bertuzzi missed wide, giving
Chicago the extra point.
Viktor Stalberg and Andrew Shaw scored for the Blackhawks, who went to
shootouts in five of their last six games -- winning twice in the extra
session that won't be featured in the playoffs. Patrick Sharp set up both
goals in regulation and Crawford finished with 30 saves.
"We just wanted to win the game and do the right things, play the right way
for the playoffs," said Crawford. "I thought we did that tonight."
Johan Franzen scored Detroit's first goal and Howard made 31 saves. The Red
Wings lost their last final two games and dropped four of six to close the
Chicago failed to capitalize on a four-minute power play early in the contest,
but grabbed the lead midway through the first period when Stalberg slipped the
rebound of a left point shot from Sharp through Howard's pads for his 22nd
Sharp, once more, made the key play on Chicago's next tally with a neat
backhand pass from behind the goal line. Shaw was the recipient of the feed
and he lifted a shot from the edge of the left circle over Howard's glove for
his 12th goal with 2:40 left in the second period.
Detroit finally solved Crawford just over eight minutes into the third.
Chicago defenseman Johnny Oduya tried to clear the puck around the boards from
behind his own net, but Franzen was able to corral it and he fired a shot from
a sharp angle in the low right circle that managed to squeeze past the
"We dug ourselves a little bit of a hole there in the first two periods, but
we found a way to come back and save ourselves some air miles," Howard said.
Chicago finished 4-0-2 against Detroit this season...The Blackhawks were 0-
for-6 on the power play and have scored just three times in their last 35
chances with the man-advantage...Detroit, meanwhile, has successfully killed
off its last 25 shorthanded situations...The Blackhawks agreed to terms of a
one-year contract extension with goaltender Ray Emery on Saturday.
The Sports Network