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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

[He's] real confident with the puck now, getting it off his stick quick and no second-guessing. We need that. He's such a good guy in the room. He works so hard. That's the big thing. For not a big man, he just fights for every puck and when he scores, the guys appreciate that even more.

— Winnipeg Jets coach Paul Maurice on Mathieu Perreault, who scored two goals in win against Chicago Blackhawks on Tuesday