The Red Wings were humming from the word “go” in this one, peppering Stars goaltender Richard Bachman. Henrik Zetterberg in particular started “on time” as Babs likes to say as the captain spearheaded the Wings attack. The Stars managed to keep the puck out…until the 18:17 mark, when Zetterberg scored to put the Wings up 1-0. The assists on Zetterberg’s tenth tally went to Justin Abdelkader and Pavel Datsyuk. Wings led 1-0 after 20.
The second period was carried out much like the first; the Wings cleaning up on possessing the puck and pestering Bachman. The Wings almost shot themselves in the foot by putting the Stars on a four-on-three midway through the period but their strengthened penalty kill held on. Dallas also backed themselves into a corner with a high-sticking call on Ryan Garbutt late in the period, but they stonewalled the Wings power play. After two, the Wings still led 1-0.
Period three was all Red Wings. Zetterberg scored his second on a shorthanded goal at 1:57; the sole assist went to Datsyuk. Less than five minutes later, Jonathan Ericsson (!) scored his third of the campaign to give the Wings an insurmountable 3-0 lead. Assists went to Datsyuk and Zetterberg; it marked three-point games for both. The Stars soon got chippy but never really challenged Jimmy Howard, which is what you have to do win hockey games. Final score: Detroit 3, Dallas 0.
Well, there it is. The Red Wings clinched a playoff spot for the 22nd year in a row, extending the longest streak in North American professional sport. The victory clinched the seventh seed for the Wings, their lowest seeding since their playoff streak began; they will face Anaheim in the first round of the playoffs starting next week. Octopus Thrower will have all the latest analysis and chatter heading into the matchup with the Ducks, so be on the lookout for some top-notch coverage courtesy of the OT crew.