NHL - Blackhawks 3, Red Wings 2 F/SO

4:45 PM, Apr 7, 2012   |    comments
Red Wings forward Drew Miller tries to score on Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford during today's game at Joe Louis Arena. / JULIAN H. GONZALEZ/DFP
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(DETROIT FREE PRESS) The Red Wings rallied from a two-goal deficit today to secure themselves a first-round playoff date with the Nashville Predators.

Johan Franzen and Pavel Datsyuk scored in the third period to force the game past regulation. Patrick Kane scored in the shoot-out to lift the Blackhawks to a 3-2 victory at Joe Louis Arena.

By getting only one point, the Wings finish with the fifth seed in the Western Conference, meaning they must open on the road.

It took them until nearly midway through the third period against Chicago before the Wings broke Corey Crawford, with Franzen intercepting the puck along the boards and angling in the puck. Datsyuk followed up with 46.4 seconds left in regulation when he tapped in the puck after Tomas Holmstrom had sent it sliding through the paint.  The Blackhawks wound up scoring at even strength at 10:14, when Viktor Stalberg was down low to opportunistically pick up Patrick Sharp's rebound and push it five-hole on Jimmy Howard. The Wings had a chance to even the score 2 minutes later when they got on a power play, but they were as ineffective as they've been all season with the man advantage.

The Wings didn't generate much offensively the first few minutes of the second period, and found Crawford impenetrable when they finally got the puck near the crease. Datsyuk set up a sweet chance for Todd Bertuzzi, but Bertuzzi's rising wrister went straight into Crawford's glove around the midway point.

A second power play for Detroit arose after Brent Seabrook was sent off for delay of game, but the best the Wings could do was bang two pucks off posts. They then had to get their penalty killers out after Justin Abdelkader drew blood with a high-stick on Niklas Hjalmarsson. They killed that off, too, but 8 seconds after it had ended Andrew Shaw finished a beautiful feed by Sharp to make it 2-0.

Contact Helene St. James: 313-222-2295 or hstjames@freepress.com. Follow her on Twitter @freepwings.

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