<
>

Stars control destiny as Blackhawks fall in regulation

The Dallas Stars had to wait and watch this afternoon to see if they still had a chance to make the playoffs. Now it’s the Chicago Blackhawks’ turn. The Detroit Red Wings defeated the Blackhawks 4-3 in regulation at the United Center this afternoon, meaning that the Stars now control their own destiny as far as making the playoffs.

If the Stars defeat the Minnesota Wild in regulation or overtime Chicago would be out and the Stars would secure the eighth seed in the Western Conference and meet the Vancouver Canucks in the first round of the playoffs.

The Stars-Wild game begins at 5 p.m. and will be carried locally on TXA 21 and nationally on the NHL Network.

First period

Both the Red Wings and Blackhawks had good scoring chances in the first 20 minutes. Chicago goalie Corey Crawford had a sharp save on Johan Franzen and Detroit goalie Jimmy Howard stopped Jake Dowell as he made a couple attempts to stuff the puck into the net.

Chicago had two power plays in the period and Detroit had none.

Second period

The Detroit Red Wings lead the Chicago Blackhawks 2-1 after two periods at the United Center. The Dallas Stars need Detroit to beat Chicago in regulation in order to have a chance to make the playoffs. If Detroit wins in regulation, the Stars would have to beat Minnesota in regulation or overtime later today.

The Blackhawks opened the scoring at 5:18 of the second when Patrick Kane stole the puck from Brad Stuart and set up Michael Frolik, who scored from the slot.

The Red Wings tied 1:38 later when Viktor Stalberg's centering pass went down the ice, Tomas Holmstrom got to the puck and scored off a shot from the left faceoff circle.

Just 1:02 later Pavel Datsyuk gave Detroit a 2-1 lead when he scored from the right circle.

Third period

The Red Wings extended their lead to 3-1 at the 1:56 mark of the third period when a puck got by Chicago defenseman Chris Campoli in the neutral zone and Detroit scored off the rush as Dan Cleary centered a puck and Drew Miller tapped it into the net.

The Blackhawks made it a 3-2 game when he scored off a blast from the right point at the 4:07 mark.

But Detroit got the two-goal lead back at the 8:11 mark when Todd Bertuzzi forced a turnover with a big hit along the boards, took a pass from Brian Rafalski and then set up Clearly, who scored from the left circle to make it a 4-2 game.

Chicago made it a 4-3 game with 8:38 remaining when the Jonathan Toews won an offensive zone draw and Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith went to the front of the net, gather up a rebound and scored off a backhand shot.

The Blackhawks got a power play with 2:58 remaining, but couldn’t cash in and ended up 0-3 with the man-advantage in the game.

They pulled Crawford for the extra attacker but couldn’t cash in and the Red Wings held on for the win.

Playoff seeds

With Chicago's regulation loss, three of the playoff matchups in the West are set and the only question left is whether the Stars or Chicago gets the eighth seed and takes on Vancouver in round one. Here's how the first round looks now:

(1) Vancouver Canucks vs. (8) Dallas Stars or Chicago Blackhawks

(2) San Jose Sharks vs. (7) Los Angeles Kings

(3) Detroit Red Wings vs. (6) Phoenix Coyotes

(4) Anaheim Ducks vs. (5) Nashville Predators