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West playoff rundown: Red Wings clinch berth, Sharks bite Ducks and more

Joe Thornton, Devin Setoguchi, Ray Emery

San Jose Sharks center Joe Thornton (19) celebrates after he assisted right wing Devin Setoguchi, not shown, score past Anaheim Ducks goalie Ray Emery (29) in the third period of an NHL hockey game in San Jose, Calif., Saturday, April 2, 2011. The San Jose Sharks defeated the Anaheim Ducks 4-2. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma)


Western Conference

p - 1. Vancouver - 113 pts (3 GR)
x-2. San Jose - 101 pts (4 GR)
x-3. Detroit - 100 pts (4 GR)
4. Los Angeles - 96 pts (4 GR)
5. Phoenix - 96 pts (3 GR)
6. Nashville - 95 pts (3 GR)
7. Anaheim - 93 pts (4 GR)
8. Chicago - 92 pts (5 GR)
9. Calgary - 89 pts (3 GR)
10. Dallas - 87 pts (5 GR)

p- clinched Presidents’ Trophy and conference title
y - clinched division title
x - clinched playoff spot
GR - games remaining

Detroit 4, Nashville 3 (OT)

A three-goal lead isn’t what it was before the lockout, but the notably stingy Predators are normally one of the teams who would automatically earn a win with such a margin for error. Then again, the Red Wings aren’t exactly a normal opponent, either.

After all, this win clinched Detroit’s 20th consecutive playoff berth and 11th straight season with at least 100 points. Justin Abdelkader was the catalyst for the Red Wings’ comeback, scoring two goals and delivering a bit hit as well. Danny Cleary scored the overtime game-winner while Jimmy Howard earned his 35th win of the 2010-11 season.

Los Angeles 3, Dallas 1

For the full recap of this game, read this post.

The Kings inched their way closer to assuring themselves of a playoff spot, while the Stars would need a lot of things to go their way to climb back into things after this tough regulation loss. It was a close-checking, hard-fought affair with an empty-net goal making it seem a little less even than it actually was.

Los Angeles moved to fourth place thanks to the fact that they have a game in hand over the idle fifth place Phoenix Coyotes, while the Stars remain in 10th with five games left.

San Jose 4, Anaheim 2

Perhaps the only decent bit of news for Dallas is that the Ducks squandered an early 2-0 lead to lose in regulation to their in-state rivals from San Jose. Bobby Ryan and Lubomir Visnovsky gave Anaheim that early lead, but Devin Setoguchi (one goal, two assists) and Patrick Marleau (two goals, one assist) proved to be too much as the Sharks moved back into second place after Detroit briefly took that spot.

The Sharks have a five-point lead for the Pacific Division title over the Kings and Coyotes, while having the same amount of games remaining as Los Angeles (four) and one more than Phoenix’s three.

Anaheim and Dallas won’t have any time to mourn their losses, as they play against each other in a big game for both squads on Sunday. The Stars have more riding on that match, but it’s still a key contest for each team.

Tampa Bay 3, Minnesota 1

... And just in case you were wondering, the Wild were mathematically eliminated from the West playoff race tonight thanks to a 3-1 loss to the Lightning.