Wings Drop Regular Season Finale

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

CHICAGO (AP) -- Nikolai Khabibulin made 37 saves for his 41st career shutout, and the Chicago Blackhawks tuned up for their first playoff appearance in seven years by beating the Detroit Red Wings 3-0 Sunday in the regular-season finale.
Andrew Ladd and Jonathan Toews scored first-period goal for Chicago and Dave Bolland converted on the power play in the third. Khabibulin's shutout was his third this season.
Chicago's victory in the meaningless game was its second in 24 hours against the Red Wings, coming on the heels of Saturday's 4-2 win at Detroit. The Blackhawks won their final two meetings against their longtime rival two after going 0-2-2 in the first four, including a loss in the Winter Classic at Wrigley Field on New Year's Day.
The Blackhawks finished the season with a rush, going 6-0-1 in their final seven games. They had already clinched the fourth seed in the Western Conference and will open the playoffs this week at home against Calgary.
It will be Chicago's first appearance in the postseason since 2002.
The defending Stanley Cup champion Red Wings had already locked down the No. 2 spot in the West and will play either Columbus or Anaheim in the first round.
Ladd's 15th goal of the season almost eight minutes in gave the Hawks a 1-0 lead. Dustin Byfuglien circled with the puck, made a nice pass to Brent Seabrook, who found Ladd wide open on the other side of the net where he easily beat Chris Osgood.
Later in the opening period, Toews appeared to lose the puck as he approached the left side of the net, cut through the crease and then managed to reach back and jam it under Osgood for his 34th goal and a 2-0 lead.
With Detroit on a power play, Chicago's Colin Fraser shook loose on a short-handed breakaway but Osgood was able to snuff the attempt. Moments later the Red Wings had a two-man advantage, but Detroit couldn't score against Khabibulin, who had 17 first-period saves.
Khabibulin stopped a short-handed breakaway by Johan Franzen early in the final period, and Bolland scored five minutes in with a slappper from between the circles.


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