The Detroit Red Wings will meet the Nashville Predators in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs following the team’s 3-2 shootout loss to the Chicago Blackhawks on Saturday.
Had the Red Wings defeated the Blackhawks, they would have at least temporarily jumped into fourth place in the Western Conference standings. A loss would have left them in sixth place. Their single point locked them into fifth place, visiting fourth-placed Nashville to start the postseason.
Pavel Datsyuk scored with just 47 seconds in regulation to pull Detroit into a 2-2 tie with the Blackhawks and force overtime. With Wings’ netminder Jimmy Howard on the bench for an extra attacker, Henrik Zetterberg worked the puck to Tomas Holmstrom at the side of the Chicago crease. With the defense collapsing in on him, Holmstrom sent a pass across the net-mouth to a wide open Datsyuk, who knocked it home.
After a scoreless overtime, Patrick Kane would score the only goal of the shootout, beating Howard between the pads after a series of fakes. Datsyuk, Jiri Hudler and Todd Bertuzzi failed to score for the Red Wings while Patrick Sharp was stopped on Chicago’s second chance.
Viktor Stalberg had opened the game’s scoring with 9:46 left in the first period when he was left uncovered to pick up the rebound of a Sharp shot from the point and throw it back between Howard’s pads.
Chicago made it 2-0 with 2:40 left in the second on a goal by Andrew Shaw just after the expiration of a power play. With Bertuzzi coming out of the box, the Red Wings left Shaw alone in the slot to take a feed from Sharp and snap it past Howard.
Johan Franzen started Detroit’s rally at 8:11 of the third period, throwing a shot on goal from the right wing that somehow found its way between the pads of Chicago netminder Corey Crawford.
Crawford finished the afternoon with 30 saves on 32 shots while Howard stopped 31 of 33 chances.
Neither team scored a power play goal in the contest. The Red Wings had two power play attempts while the Blackhawks had six.
Detroit’s first-round playoff schedule is expected to be announced on Sunday.
Detroit forward Riley Sheahan made his NHL debut wearing No. 15. He swapped into the lineup in favor of Jan Mursak… Danny Cleary was the other forward scratch for the Red Wings, with Patrick Eaves and Darren Helm still hurt… Jakub Kindl was the healthy scratch on defense.