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Stars' loss puts Hawks in playoffs

Sunday, 04.10.2011 / 3:30 PM / Countdown to the Playoffs

By Brian Hedger - NHL.com Correspondent

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Stars' loss puts Hawks in playoffs
After losing to Detroit in its final regular season game, the Blackhawks still managed to qualify for the Stanley Cup Playoffs thanks to Minnesota's 5-3 win against Dallas.
CHICAGO -- The Minnesota Wild sealed the Chicago Blackhawks' fate Sunday night. After a nervewracking afternoon, the 2010 Stanley Cup champs will get to defend their crown after all.

Indeed, despite Sunday's 4-3 loss to the Detroit Red Wings at the United Center, the Hawks clinched the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference thanks to the Wild's 5-3 win against the Dallas Stars at the Xcel Energy Center. The Stars needed to win in regulation or overtime to unseat Chicago for eighth place.

The No. 8 seed in the West was the lone playoff spot yet to be determined on Sunday. The Blackhawks will now face the top-seeded Vancouver Canucks in a Western Conference quarterfinal. Had Chicago gotten two points against the Wings, the Blackhawks would've been locked into the fifth seed and faced the No. 4 Anaheim Ducks in the first round.

Had the Hawks gotten even one point, they would've been locked into the seventh seed and faced the second-seeded San Jose Sharks -- and former goalie Antti Niemi, who started every game in Chicago's postseason run to the Cup a year ago.

In other matchups in the West, the Sharks will face the seventh-seeded Los Angeles Kings, while the third-seeded Red Wings will play the sixth-seeded Phoenix Coyotes in a rematch of last season's first-round series between the two, which Detroit won in seven games. Also, No. 4 Anaheim faces the fifth-seeded Nashville Predators.
Quote of the Day

Your team is going to want to recapture the feeling. What they're going to have to figure out is they're going to have to rewrite the story. Because you're going to rewrite the story doesn't mean you want a different end. It's just that you're going to have to learn that there's different challenges to get there, and if you're going to try and tap the same feeling, it ain't going to happen.

— Los Angeles Kings general manager Dean Lombardi on maintaining their success from last season