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Stanley Cup Champs May Miss Playoffs

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The Chicago Blackhawks take on the Detroit Red Wings at the United Center on April 10, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois. (Getty/Jonathan Daniel)

The Chicago Blackhawks take on the Detroit Red Wings at the United Center on April 10, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois. (Getty/Jonathan Daniel)

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CHICAGO (AP) — Jimmy Howard made 33 saves and the Detroit Red Wings kept defending Stanley Cup champion Chicago from clinching the final playoff berth in the Western Conference with a 4-3 victory over the Blackhawks on Sunday.

Needing a single point to get in, Chicago can still make the postseason if Minnesota beats Dallas on Sunday night, or if that game goes to a shootout.

Drew Miller, Danny Cleary, Tomas Holmstrom and Pavel Datsyuk scored for the Red Wings, who had already locked down the No. 3 playoff seed in the West and were trying to build momentum for the playoffs. The Blackhawks had beaten the Red Wings 4-2 Friday night in Detroit.

Chicago went on a power play with 2:58 left when Jonathan Ericsson was called for holding with Detroit nursing its one-goal lead, but the Red Wings and Howard killed it off. The Blackhawks’ Duncan Keith couldn’t get off a shot from in front of the goal as the final seconds clicked off.

An often rocky season featuring inconsistent play after a salary-cap purge in the offseason and injuries brought the Blackhawks to the final day in search of the final playoff spot.

Now they’ll have to root for the Wild.

Copyright Associated Press

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