The Red Wings lost 3-2 in a shootout for the second straight game and are now just barely hanging on to the eighth spot in the Western Conference.
It was the last game between Detroit and Chicago as division rivals, with the Red Wings set to move to the Eastern Conference next season. With the win, the Blackhawks secured the Central Division title.
It was a physical contest, with the Red Wings outhitting the Blackhawks 31-29. It was also fast-paced, with the stars on both teams creating a number of scoring chances.
In a first period filled with penalties, including three consecutive calls against Chicago, neither team was able to capitalize. However, Viktor Stalberg opened the scoring early on in the second with his eighth goal of the season.
The Wings finally converted on their fourth power-play opportunity, with Johan Franzen tipping home Carlo Colaiacovo’s point shot to even the score. Cory Emmerton followed that up just two minutes later with a strong effort in close to put the Wings up by a goal.
There were close calls at either end in the third, but it appeared as though Detroit would hold on. That is until Toews knocked home a loose puck with three minutes to go. The Blackhawks pushed the pace in overtime but couldn’t score.
Henrik Zetterberg and Marian Hossa each scored in the shootout before Chicago rookie Brandon Saad won it in the fifth round.
Jimmy Howard was solid, stopping 26 of 28 shots in a losing effort, while Niklas Kronwall led the way in ice time, playing nearly 28 minutes.
The Red Wings took three points from the Blackhawks this season, but failed to win a game, going 0-1-3. It’s the first time Chicago has swept Detroit since the 1976-77 season, although this sweep did include two shootout victories for Chicago.
With 45 points, Detroit is one point behind the seventh-place Minnesota Wild and three points back of the St. Louis Blues in the Western Conference playoff race. More importantly, they’re just two points ahead of the Dallas Stars, Phoenix Coyotes and Columbus Blue Jackets.