Red Wings fly past Stars 3-0 to ensure 22nd straight appearance in playoffs
AP Monday, April 29, 2013, 12:03 am TWN
DALLAS -- 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 on Saturday 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 Red Wings will play Anaheim in the first round.
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.
Other games on Saturday:
Capitals 3, Bruins 2, OT
Blues 3, Blackhawks 1
Kings 3, Sharks 2
Oilers 7, Canucks 2
Panthers 5, Lightning 3
Penguins 8, Hurricanes 3
Flyers 2, Senators 1
Canadiens 4, Maple Leafs 1
Coyotes 5, Ducks 3
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