DALLAS — The Detroit Red Wings proved that reports of their demise have once again been premature.
The Red Wings defeated the Dallas Stars 3-0 Saturday night to clinch their 22nd consecutive playoff berth in their final game of the lockout-shortened regular season. Detroit will face the Anaheim Ducks in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Fittingly, it was the Red Wings newest captain that started the scoring. Henrik Zetterberg threw the puck toward the net as he was falling in the corner of the Dallas zone and it bounced off Stars defenseman Alex Goligoski’s skate and past netminder Richard Bachman to give the Wings a 1-0 lead with 1:43 to play in the first period.
After a scoreless second period, Zetterberg scored his second goal of the game just 1:57 into the third period. As the Red Wings were killing off a penalty to start the period, Pavel Datsyuk got the puck up to Zetterberg on a breakaway and he beat Bachman between the legs to put the Red Wings up 2-0.
Zetterberg capped off his big night by getting an assist on the last goal of the game when he kicked the puck to Datsyuk who threw the puck back to Jonathan Ericsson. Ericsson took advantage of a Justin Abdelkader screen to beat Bachman with 13:30 to play in the third and put Detroit up 3-0.
Jimmy Howard made 17 stops to record his fifth shutout of the season. Howard recorded three shutouts in Detroit’s last seven games of the season.
Along with Zetterberg, Pavel Datsyuk had three points in tonight’s game (3 Assists). He finished the season as the Red Wings points leader with 49.