Red Wings’ clinch 22nd straight playoff berth
Detroit Red Wings center Henrik Zetterberg (40) defenseman Niklas Kronwall (55), defenseman Jonathan Ericsson (52), center Pavel Datsyuk (13) and left wing Justin Abdelkader (8) celebrate a goal during the third period of an NHL hockey game, Saturday, April 27, 2013, in Dallas. (AP Photo/Matt Strasen)
The Detroit Red Wings are headed to the playoffs for the 22nd straight season after Henrik Zetterberg had two goals and an assist in a 3-0 victory over the Dallas Stars last night.
Jimmy Howard made 17 saves to post his fifth shutout of the season as Detroit secured the seventh spot in the Western Conference. It’s the lowest playoff seed for the Red Wings since the NHL moved to the 1 vs. 8 conference format in 1993.
Jonathan Ericsson also scored and Pavel Datsyuk had three assists for the Red Wings, who own the longest active playoff streak in major professional sports, six years longer than the NBA’s San Antonio Spurs’ stretch of postseason play.
Detroit closed out the regular season with four consecutive wins by a combined score of 15-3. It will face second-seeded Anaheim in the first round of the playoffs
Richard Bachman made 34 saves for Dallas, which dropped its fifth consecutive game.
WILD 3, AVALANCHE 1
Devin Setoguchi broke a second-period tie and Niklas Backstrom stopped 29 shots, helping Minnesota secure its first playoff spot in five years with a win over Colorado.
Zach Parise scored and Pierre-Marc Bouchard added a late empty-net goal for the Wild, who earned the No. 8 seed and will face top-seeded Chicago in the first round of the postseason. Minnesota had a chance to wrap up a spot on Friday, but lost 6-1 at home to Edmonton.
Backstrom came up big in the third period, turning aside 15 shots. He improved to 24-5-3 against the Avalanche.
Ryan O’Reilly had the lone goal for Colorado, which finished in last place in the Western Conference.
BLUE JACKETS 3, PREDATORS 1
Jack Johnson scored the go-ahead goal with 4:48 left and Columbus capped a remarkable turnaround with a victory over Nashville.
But despite that win, Columbus was eliminated from the playoff race when the Minnesota Wild beat the Colorado Avalanche later on Saturday to earn the final postseason spot in the Western Conference.
Coming into the night, the Blue Jackets were tied for eighth in the West with Minnesota, each with 53 points.
Detroit beat Dallas on Saturday and clinched the No. 7 seed.
The Blue Jackets were on the short end of tiebreakers against both the Wild and Red Wings.
Brandon Dubinsky tied it early in the period and Cam Atkinson added an empty-netter.
RANGERS 4, DEVILS 0
The New York Rangers started the day eighth in the Eastern Conference. They finished it two spots higher and locked into a first-round playoff matchup with the Washington Capitals.
In their final regular-season game, the Rangers beat New Jersey and jumped over the Ottawa Senators and the New York Islanders into sixth place.
When Ottawa was beaten by Philadelphia on Saturday night, the Rangers knew they were there to stay.
Henrik Lundqvist made that possible as he stopped 20 shots and coasted to his second shutout of the season. Rick Nash scored two goals.
Derek Stepan and Ryan Callahan both had a goal and assist in the first period against New Jersey backup goalie Johan Hedberg, who gave Martin Brodeur a rare game off.
BLUES 3, BLACKHAWKS 1
Brian Elliott made 22 saves and Jaden Schwartz had his first two-goal game and St. Louis earned home-ice advantage for the first round of the playoffs by defeating Chicago.
The Blues won 12 of their last 15 games to capture fourth place in the Western Conference.
Elliott and the Blues were helped by facing a Chicago lineup that was without many regular players.
Ben Smith, who was playing in his first game of the season, scored for Chicago.
The two-goal game was the first of Schwartz’s career. Patrik Berglund also scored for St. Louis and David Backes had two assists to give him 300 points for his career.
PANTHERS 5, LIGHTNING 3
Martin St. Louis had a goal and an assist for the Lightning to win the league scoring title in Tampa Bay’s loss to Florida in the season finale for two non-playoff teams.
The 37-year old St. Louis finished the year with 60 points, making him the oldest player in league history to win the Art Ross Trophy.
Tomas Fleischmann scored his second goal of the game to give Florida a 4-3 lead at 13:53 of the third. Rookie Jonathan Huberdeau had three assists, while Marcel Goc added an empty net goal in the final minute of play.
St. Louis assisted on Matt Carle’s goal 5 minutes into the first period that made it 1-0, and scored from in-close to put Tampa Bay up 3-2 at 5:47 of the second. The right wing, with 912 points, moved past Gary Roberts in 95th place on the career list. Bobby Orr is 94th with 915 points.
Steven Stamkos got the second assist on St. Louis’ goal, giving him 57 points. Tampa Bay also got a goal from Ryan Malone.
PENGUINS 8, HURRICANES 3
James Neal scored three goals in his first game back from a concussion and Pittsburgh snapped a two-game skid with a victory over Jordan Staal and Carolina.
Evgeni Malkin had a goal and two assists for the Penguins, who had three third-period goals in 5:24 to turn a tie game into a rout. Brenden Morrow and former Hurricane Jussi Jokinen – both acquired at the trade deadline – also scored.
Kevin Westgarth scored his first two goals of the season, and Tuomo Ruutu also scored for the Hurricanes, who will miss the playoffs for the fourth straight time.
FLYERS 2, SENATORS 1
Jakub Voracek scored the winner, Steve Mason made 43 saves and Philadelphia closed out the season with a win over Ottawa.
Jason Akeson also scored for the Flyers, who failed to advance to the postseason for just the ninth time in franchise history.
Kyle Turris scored for the Senators and Craig Anderson stopped 23 shots.
The loss leaves the Senators sitting eighth in the Eastern Conference. They can finish seventh if they pick up a point against the Boston Bruins in the season finale today.
CANADIENS 4, MAPLE LEAFS 1
Lars Eller had a goal and two assists and Montreal sent Toronto a pre-playoff message, defeating the sluggish Maple Leafs.
The Canadiens did it without No. 1 goalie Carey Price, who was given the night off in favor of Peter Budaj. Rubbing salt into the wound, Montreal chased Toronto starter James Reimer early in the third period.
Toronto and Montreal could meet in the playoffs depending on the outcome of the makeup game Sunday between the Senators and Bruins in Boston.