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Red Wings relieved to extend playoff streak

by Steve Hunt /

DALLAS -- The primary focus for the Detroit Red Wings heading into Saturday's regular-season finale against the Dallas Stars at American Airlines Center was making the NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs.

However, extending the franchise's impressive run of 22 straight postseason appearances was also on Detroit's minds -- even if several players wouldn't admit it openly after the Red Wings' fourth straight victory was in the books.


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The Red Wings punched their ticket to the postseason with a rock-solid 3-0 shutout of the Stars, getting two goals and an assist from Henrik Zetterberg and three assists from Pavel Datsyuk.

Detroit last missed the playoffs in 1989-90.

The Wings' captain was clearly pleased to see his club make the playoffs yet again, but seemed unconcerned about extending the club's postseason streak.

"I don't think we care that much about the streak. We want to play the postseason," Zetterberg said. "It doesn't matter if we've been there three times or 22 times, we want to play playoff hockey and we're doing that now."

However, several of his teammates took the opposite approach, admitting that they didn't want to be part of the Red Wings team that saw such an impressive run finally come to an end.

"The streak means a lot to all of us," Red Wings goaltender Jimmy Howard, who stopped all 17 Dallas shots he faced for his fifth shutout of the season, said. "It just says how high the bar was set before us. It's good for us to go out there and have high expectations."

"It's huge, but also, we didn't want to be the ones breaking the streak," defenseman Niklas Kronwall added.

With Saturday's win, the Red Wings clinched the No. 7 seed in the Western Conference, meaning Detroit will now draw the Anaheim Ducks in the opening round, a best-of-seven series that could begin on Tuesday.

During the regular season, the Red Wings were 2-1-0 against No. 2 Anaheim, getting both wins at Honda Center.

"They have four really hard-working lines, a lot of speed," Kronwall said. "They're tall, playing there with [Corey] Perry, [Bobby] Ryan and [Ryan] Getzlaf, as good as it gets, big guys heavy in the O zone. It should be a good matchup."

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