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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.
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Quote of the Day

I don't have a crystal ball. Predicting is a real complicated thing. If we stay healthy, have enough depth and get the good goaltending we think we're going to have, you can go all the way. But a lot of things have to happen. There's going to be a lot of teams that think the same thing. Everyone made deals. We're all are optimistic about where we'll end up.

— Rangers general manager Glen Sather after being asked if he's constructed a team that can win the Stanley Cup before their 4-1 win against the Predators on Monday
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