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Red Wings need one point vs. Stars to clinch berth

by Dan Rosen /

RED WINGS (23-16-8) at STARS (22-21-4)


Last 10: Detroit 5-2-3; Dallas 5-4-1

Season series: The Detroit Red Wings and Dallas Stars have split the season series so far, but they haven't played since Jan. 29. The Stars beat the Red Wings in Detroit and the Red Wings beat the Stars in Dallas.

Big story: Detroit needs one point to clinch a playoff berth for a 22nd straight season. The Red Wings would also automatically clinch if the Columbus Blue Jackets lose to the Nashville Predators. However, if the Red Wings lose to Dallas and Columbus beats Nashville in regulation, the Wings would be eliminated.

Team Scope:

Red Wings: Detroit was facing the prospect of having to win its final four games of the season to clinch its 22nd straight playoff berth. After winning the past three, the Red Wings have earned the right for a minor mulligan against the Stars, who were eliminated from playoff contention on Thursday.

The Wings need only one point to assure themselves of a playoff berth. They have points in four straight games and have won their past three by a combined 12-3.

"It's not like a few guys just got hot out of nowhere," forward Johan Franzen said. "It's because we're playing this way. It's keeping it straight and simple and throwing pucks to the net and going for rebounds. It's desperation."

Detroit can finish as high as seventh in the Western Conference or as low as ninth.

Stars: Dallas was eliminated from postseason contention as soon as Detroit won its game against Nashville. They learned their fate in the second intermission of their game against Columbus and proceeded to give up two goals in the third for a 3-1 loss.

"We knew after the second period and most of our players did, too," coach Glen Gulutzan said. "I thought we played a real good second, a little nervous in the first. We were a little flat in the third, maybe for a reason. I don't know."

Dallas can still have an effect on who gets in and who stays out with this game against the Red Wings, but it only matters if the Stars beat the Red Wings in regulation.

"We need to grind out this last game and play as well as we can," goalie Kari Lehtonen said. "That's it."

Who's hot: There's a reason the Red Wings have won three in a row; their best players have been their best players. Henrik Zetterberg, Pavel Datsyuk and Johan Franzen have combined for 17 points on six goals and 11 assists over the past three games. Zetterberg has seven assists, Franzen has four goals and an assist and Datsyuk has two goals and three assists.

Injury report: For the Red Wings, Todd Bertuzzi (back, leg), Darren Helm (back), Mikael Samuelsson (pectoral) and Drew Miller (hand) are out. … For the Stars, Alex Chiasson (shoulder) is questionable.

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