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Ducks earn point, forced to wait

by Brian Compton
Once again, the Anaheim Ducks are playing the waiting game.

Despite a solid relief appearance by Jean-Sebastien Giguere, Viktor Tikhonov scored in the fourth round of the shootout on Saturday night as the Phoenix Coyotes earned a 5-4 victory at Arena.

Anaheim, which lost for the third time in 13 games, moved one point ahead of the St. Louis Blues for seventh place in the Western Conference. The Blues will finish the regular season Sunday in Colorado. The Ducks will face either the San Jose Sharks or the Detroit Red Wings in the opening round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

"We got ourselves in the playoffs now and we should be excited about that," said Ducks defenseman Scott Niedermayer, who had a pair of assists. "It's really not going to matter who we play. We're going to be playing a really good hockey club."

Giguere, who took over for starter Jonas Hiller, made the initial save on Tikhonov's shot with his left skate, but his leg and the puck barely crossed the goal line to give the Coyotes the victory.

"I made the save and then my pad went in the net and the puck follows," Giguere said. "It was a little lucky but that's the way it goes."

Phoenix entered the third period with a two-goal lead, but Bobby Ryan and Teemu Selanne scored 45 seconds apart to get the Ducks even.

Giguere helped carry Anaheim into overtime by stopping all nine shots he faced after replacing Hiller. It was his first game action since March 27 when he allowed four goals on seven shots.

"I don't know what's ahead of me," Giguere said. "I wanted to make sure this period was a good one, a positive one. Whatever the future holds we'll see what's going to happen. For now it felt good just to play one period."

However, it is unknown who will get the starting nod once the playoffs begin later this week. Ducks coach Randy Carlyle says he's undecided. Giguere won a Stanley Cup with the Ducks in 2007 and was the Conn Smythe Trophy winner in 2003.

"As I've stated before we have 1-A and 1-B," Carlyle said. "These kind of things make these decisions even tougher. Four goals, that's what alarms me."

Steven Reinprecht scored a pair of power-play goals and added an assist for the Coyotes, who ended the season with five wins in seven games. Reinprecht and Shane Doan also scored in the shootout.

"We wanted to end on a high," Reinprecht said. "We wanted to come out and play well and get the win and we did, so that was great."

Todd Fedoruk and Enver Lisin also scored and Doan had two assists for Phoenix, which had been in fifth place in the West at the All-Star break before a 12-20-2 free fall to end the season.

"As a team it was disappointing that the season is over but we got some positive things and we want to be better," Doan said. "We're going to be better and that's the most encouraging thing."

Blackhawks 4, Red Wings 2 | Video | Gallery

Dustin Byfuglien broke a 2-2 tie when he scored on a penalty shot with just 28 seconds left, lifting Chicago to a dramatic victory against Detroit at Joe Louis Arena.

Byfuglien was hooked by Niklas Kronwall on a partial breakaway and was awarded the penalty shot by referee Brian Pochmara. It was Chicago's first penalty-shot goal since Dec. 13, 2002, when Alexei Zhamnov scored against Buffalo's Martin Biron.

"I got hit, but I couldn't tell how hard with everything that was going on," Byfuglien said. "We got the break."

Chicago, the No. 4 seed in the West, will face the Calgary Flames in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The Blackhawks will finish their regular season on Sunday afternoon in the second of this home-and-home series with the defending champions.

Niklas Hjalmarsson netted his first NHL goal, and Ben Eager and Andrew Ladd also scored for Chicago. Brian Campbell chipped in with two assists, and Cristobal Huet stopped 21 shots.

"That's what we wanted. To go into the playoffs on a high note," Chicago defenseman Duncan Keith said.

Detroit -- which signed Johan Franzen to an 11-year extension worth $43.5 million earlier in the day -- got goals from Valtteri Filppula and Henrik Zetterberg. Ty Conklin made 22 saves.

"It took us a while to get going," Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said. "I thought we had our opportunities. I thought the penalty kill was good. In the end, they were able to get one more than us on that penalty shot."

Kings 4, Sharks 3 | Video | Gallery

San Jose failed to come away with a victory, but its consolation was clinching the best overall record in the NHL.

Despite their loss at Los Angeles on Saturday, the Sharks won their first Presidents' Trophy thanks to Boston's 6-1 loss at Buffalo earlier in the day. San Jose finished the regular season with 117 points.

"It feels good, that's what we worked for all year," Sharks forward Milan Michalek said. "Now we have to forget about it and start getting ready for the playoffs."

The Sharks will spend the next few days working out a few kinks. Despite finishing with the best record in the NHL, San Jose lost 4-1 at home against Phoenix on Thursday and needed a shootout to beat last-place Colorado 1-0 on Tuesday.

"It's certainly not the way you want to finish your season with two losses," Sharks defenseman Dan Boyle said. "Both games I think there have been some good things and we'll try and focus on that. Without a doubt, there have been a lot of mistakes and turnovers and key defensive mistakes."

Wayne Simmonds had a goal and an assist, and Jonathan Quick made 27 saves for the Kings, who were victorious in their season finale. Los Angeles finished the 2008-09 campaign with a record of 34-37-11. Michal Handzus, Alexander Frolov and Peter Harrold also scored for the Kings.

"If you're not going to make the playoffs, you want to go out with a win," Kings defenseman Matt Greene said. "You try to end the season on a positive note as much as you can. I think we did that. We went out and got a big win and played well."

Devin Setoguchi, Joe Pavelski and Patrick Marleau had goals for the Sharks, who still don't know who their opponent will be in the opening round of the playoffs.

"I didn't think we played very well against Phoenix, but tonight I felt we had a much better effort," San Jose coach Todd McLellan said. "There was a lot more positives in the game. We didn't win, but we were more aggressive. We made some mistakes in our end, but that's going to happen. We have to wipe the slate clean now and look ahead."

Wild 6, Blue Jackets 3 | Video | Gallery

Jacques Lemaire couldn't lead Minnesota to a playoff berth this season, but the 63-year-old coach is leaving the franchise with his head held high.

Marian Gaborik had two goals and an assist to lead the Wild to a season-ending win against Columbus at Nationwide Arena. After the game, Lemaire announced he was leaving Minnesota after eight seasons behind the bench.

"There comes a time when you know it's the right time to go," he said. "And I know this. I had a great time here. I had eight great years."

The Blue Jackets, in the playoffs for the first time in their eight seasons, must wait to find out who they play in the first round. If St. Louis wins at Colorado on Sunday, Columbus will be the seventh seed and will play second-seeded Detroit. Should St. Louis lose, then the sixth-seeded Blue Jackets would meet third-seeded Vancouver.

Either opponent is fine with them.

"It would have been nice to win (against Minnesota). But you know what? Honestly, who cares?" Columbus defenseman Mike Commodore said. "You finish sixth, you finish seventh, you finish eighth — you don't have home ice anyway. If you want to go far, if you want to do something in the playoffs, you have to go through the top seeds anyway."

Rick Nash, Jared Boll and Derek Dorsett scored for Columbus, which jumped out to a 2-0 lead before Minnesota responded with five unanswered goals.

"It would have been nice to win but we've got to erase this," said Blue Jackets captain Rick Nash, who had a goal a minute into the game. "It's over. We're on to a new season now. Whatever happened the last 82 games doesn't matter anymore. We've got a fresh start on Wednesday or Thursday."

Kurtis Foster and Mikko Koivu each had a goal and an assist, and Marc-Andre Bergeron and Martin Skoula also scored for the Wild, who were eliminated from the postseason on Friday night.

"I was really pleased in a way, being this close to making the playoffs," Lemaire said. "We tried a lot of players through the season. Some of them had great years, others not so good. In general, I think it was good for the whole team. The guys will learn from this."

Gaborik is slated to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1. Gaborik, the Wild's first draft pick after the franchise won a coin flip with Columbus, did not divulge his plans for next season.

"During the summer I'm going to prepare myself," he said. "I'm really confident that I'm going to be stronger than ever next year."

Flames 4, Oilers 1 | Video | Gallery

Mike Cammalleri had two goals and an assist and Curtis McElhinney stopped 35 shots as Calgary ended its regular season on a winning note with a victory against Edmonton at the Pengrowth Saddledome. It was McElhinney's first NHL win.

It's been a tough year for McElhinney, who entered the night with an 0-6-1 record and .877 save percentage. Of the goalies who have played at least 500 minutes this season, only Pascal Leclaire (.867) and Curtis Joseph (.869) had worse save percentages.

"I had to be extremely patient playing behind Kip (Miikka Kiprusoff), so it feels good," McElhinney said.

The Flames, who failed to nail down the Northwest Division, will be the No. 5 seed in the Stanley Cup Playoffs and face the Chicago Blackhawks. With a 1-0 win against Colorado, the Vancouver Canucks clinched the division earlier in the day. Craig Conroy and Jamie Lundmark also scored for Calgary.

Defenseman Tom Gilbert scored for the Oilers, out of the playoffs for the third straight season since losing to Carolina in the 2006 Stanley Cup Final. The Oilers lost eight of their last 11 games. Edmonton finished with 85 points, going 38-35-9.

"We had a couple good chances and some good looks. We got that goal in the second period but that was it," Oilers forward Andrew Cogliano said. "We had so many games that mattered at the end of the season, but we just didn't come through."

Material from wire services and team media was used in this report.


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