Captain Henrik Zetterberg wouldn't let the Red Wings miss the playoffs on his watch. Zetterberg, who took over the position from Nicklas Lidstrom this season, scored two goals and drew an assist on Jonathan Ericsson's goal as the Red Wings clinched a 22nd consecutive playoff berth Saturday with a 3-0 victory over Dallas. Zetterberg's pal Pavel Datsyuk assisted on all three goals and goalie Jimmy Howard stopped all 17 shots for his fifth shutout. With the victory the Red Wings (24-16-8, 56 points) — who closed the season with four consecutive victories — clinched the seventh seed in the Western Conference and will play the second-seeded Ducks. The Red Wings are likely to begin Tuesday at the Honda Center and go every other day through the first four games (Saturday and Monday at Joe Louis Arena). The exact times and dates have yet to be released by the NHL. "Nobody wanted to be part of that, not making the playoffs," Zetterberg said. "A lot of guys have been here a long time and we just wanted give it another run here." The Red Wings won two of three games against Anaheim this season. The Ducks won on Feb. 15 at Joe Louis Arena, 5-2, but the Red Wings swept a two-game weekend series in Anaheim on March 22 (5-1) and March 24 (2-1). "They have good depth, a real good first line with (Corey) Perry and (Ryan) Getzlaf and good two and three punch," Zetterberg said. "We have to play at our best if we're going to win." The Red Wings closed the regular season with a rush. But coach Mike Babcock saw his team gradually progressing throughout the season. "It wasn't just this week, you earn the right to feel good about yourself over a period of time and we were playing well," said Babcock, who singled out two bad losses the second half of the season. "Other than that we played real well, played hard, and lots of time we couldn't get to three (goals). "But we were competitive." .Zetterberg scored a first-period goal, shooting the puck off a Dallas Stars skate, then scored on a shorthanded breakaway early in the third period for his 11th goal. Zetterberg capped an outstanding physical and determined shift shooting the puck off the skate of Dallas defenseman Alex Goligoski and into the net at 18:17 of the first period.
Make it 22 straight: Henrik Zetterberg powers Red Wings to playoffs
Detroit News | Apr 28