UNDATED (AP) — The Chicago Blackhawks had a wonderful regular season, finishing first overall after setting an NHL record by going their first 24 games without a regulation loss. None of that will mean much if they don't win their next three games.
The top-seeded Blackhawks trail No. 7 Detroit 3-1 in the Western Conference semifinals after Jimmy Howard turned back 28 shots in the Red Wings' 2-0 win over Chicago. Howard made half of his saves in the first period, but Corey Crawford was just as stingy until Jakub Kindl (YAH'-kuhb KIN'-dul) beat him midway through the game.
Howard needed to stop just six shots in the third period despite facing two power plays, one coming with 4:43 remaining and Detroit clinging to a 1-0 lead.
Daniel Cleary iced the victory by scoring into an empty net with 39 seconds remaining.
The Red Wings can advance to the conference finals by winning Saturday in Chicago, where the Blackhawks will try to end their season-worst three-game losing streak.
There was also a shutout in Los Angeles as Jonathan Quick handled 24 shots to lead the Kings past San Jose 3-0. The Kings own a three-games-to-two lead in the Western Conference semifinals following Quick's sixth shutout since the last year's playoffs.
Neither team scored until Anze Kopitar (AHN'-zhay KOH'-pih-tahr) beat Antti Niemi (AN'-tee nee-EH'-mee) with 1:52 left in the second period. Sergei Voynov added an early third-period tally before Jeff Carter poked in an empty-netter.
Niemi made 26 saves for the Sharks, who host Game 6 on Saturday.
The Boston Bruins were unable to complete a four-game sweep of the Rangers in the Eastern Conference finals.
New York is still alive after Chris Kreider (KRY'-dur) scored at 7:03 of overtime to lift the Blueshirts past the Bruins 4-3. The Rangers erased 2-0 and 3-2 deficits before Kreider notched his first goal of the postseason.
The Bruins were looking pretty good after Nathan Horton and Torey Krug (kroog) scored 3:02 apart to give them a two-goal lead at the 7:49 mark of the second period. Derek Stepan (STEP'-ahn) eventually tied it 75 seconds into the third period and set up Brian Boyle's goal with 10 minutes left in regulation.
Henrik Lundqvist turned back 37 shots for the Rangers, who head to Boston for Game 5 on Saturday.
ST. LOUIS (AP) - The defending Stanley Cup champions looked the part while evening their series against the St. Louis Blues.
The Los Angeles Kings dominated the second half of Game 4, powering past a pair of deficits behind fore-checking that put the Blues on their heels, and have all the momentum in a series that's tied at 2.
The Kings' plan is simple for Game 5 tonight in St. Louis: Keep the pedal down and play physical but smart.
So far, the home team has won all four games, and it's the only playoff series with every game decided by a single goal.
LOS ANGELES (AP) - Anze Kopitar tied it with 12:46 to play, Justin Williams tipped home the go-ahead goal 76 seconds later, and the Los Angeles Kings evened their first-round series with the St. Louis Blues with a 4-3 victory Monday night.
Jeff Carter and Dustin Penner also scored for the defending Stanley Cup champions. They erased an early two-goal deficit and a third-period deficit to earn their ninth consecutive home victory since March 23. Jonathan Quick made 19 saves.
T.J. Oshie scored his first two playoff goals for the Blues, who had the champs on the brink of serious trouble before Kopitar and Williams beat Brian Elliott, who stopped 25 shots.
Game 5 is Wednesday in St. Louis, with Game 6 back at Staples Center on Friday.
ST. LOUIS (AP) - Alex Steen stole the puck from goalie Jonathan Quick behind the net and scored a short-handed goal to give the St. Louis Blues a 2-1 victory over the defending Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings on Tuesday night.
Steen scored unassisted on a backhander at 13:26 of overtime less than a minute after Blues defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk was whistled for a double-minor high sticking when he cut Dustin Penner.
Steen also scored on a power play in the first period for the Blues, who ended an eight-game losing streak against the team that swept them in the second round last spring.
Quick, last year's Conn Smythe winner as playoff MVP, made 35 saves in regulation, keeping the Kings in it for Justin Williams' tying goal with 31.6 seconds left.
ST. LOUIS (AP) - Ryan Reaves scored twice and Brian Elliott earned his NHL-leading 10th win in April in the St. Louis Blues' 4-1 victory over the Calgary Flames on Thursday night.
Reaves scored the Blues 1st and 4th goals in the game. In between, Andy McDonald scored a power play goal and Alex Steen scored the goal that made it a 3-1 St. Louis lead.
St. Louis, which has won five of six, moved into fourth place in the Western Conference. The Blues have 58 points, one ahead of Los Angeles and San Jose. They can clinch the No. 4 seed and home ice in the opening round of the playoffs with a victory over Chicago on Saturday.
Los Angeles and San Jose will meet Saturday in the final regular-season game for both teams.
Calgary, which will miss the playoffs for the fourth straight year, has won five of eight but will end the season Friday at Chicago.
Elliott made 18 saves in improving to 10-2 in April. He has three shutouts in the month and has allowed only 15 goals.
ST. LOUIS (AP) - Chris Stewart reached career milestones of 100 goals and 100 assists and the St. Louis Blues clinched a playoff berth with two games to spare, beating the Colorado Avalanche 3-1 on Tuesday night.
Brian Elliott had to make just 17 saves two nights after getting yanked in a 5-3 loss at Colorado that squandered the Blues' first chance at clinching. St. Louis, which entered the game needing a point to qualify, scored two power play goals for the first time in 32 games since Feb. 15 in the home-and-home rematch.
Patrik Berglund and Andy McDonald beat Semyon Varlamov on consecutive shots in the second period to make it 3-0. Together, that duo had mustered two assists in 14 games.
ST. LOUIS (AP) - Brian Elliott stopped all three chances in a shootout for the second straight game, bouncing back after a late goal denied him a fourth shutout this month, and the St. Louis Blues beat the Phoenix Coyotes 2-1 last night to step closer to a playoff berth.
Radim Vrbata's power-play goal tied it with 1:07 to go. The Coyotes, who were blanked 4-0 on Monday by the Sharks, capitalized on a boarding penalty against Blues captain David Backes.
Andy McDonald was the first to go in the shootout and got the only goal, beating Chad Johnson.
David Perron scored his first goal in 17 games for the offensively challenged Blues, who have scored two or fewer goals in 12 of their last 16 games. They've won 10 of those games thanks to tight defense and strong play in goal. They are 5-1 in shootouts.
ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - Brian Elliott notched his third straight shutout, stretching his streak to 189 minutes, 31 seconds without a goal, and the St. Louis Blues won their sixth straight game by beating the Minnesota Wild 2-0 on Thursday night.
Roman Polak ended a 120-game streak without a goal, and Andy McDonald also scored, sending the Wild to their sixth loss in eight games. They have been shut out in three of four, the only times they have been blanked all season.
The Wild have six goals in six games, and their scoreless streak is at 121 minutes, 25 seconds.
The last time the Blues won at least six straight was Oct. 22-Nov. 7, 2010, a seven-game streak. They have given up five goals during the run.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Brian Elliott made 15 saves and Alex Steen scored to lead the St. Louis Blues to a 1-0 victory over the Nashville Predators last night.
The Blues extended their winning streak to a season-long five games. The fading Predators have dropped four straight and seven of their last eight.
After a scoreless first period, Steen got the game's first goal at 16:37 of the second. Carrying the puck along the boards on the left side, Steen pulled up at the top of the left circle and fired a slap shot that beat goaltender Pekka Rinne between the pads.
Steen snapped a six-game goalless stretch.
Elliott was relatively untested en route to his second consecutive shutout. He made four saves in the first, six in the second and five in the third.
(ST. LOUIS) – St. Louis Blues General Manager Doug Armstrong announced Monday the club has acquired defenseman Jay Bouwmeester from Calgary in exchange for minor league defenseman Mark Cundari, the rights to goaltender Reto Berra as well as a conditional 1st round pick in 2013. If the Blues miss the playoffs this season, the Flames will receive the Blues' fourth round pick in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft and St. Louis' first round pick in the 2014 draft.
“We've been looking to acquire a top left handed defenseman and Jay represents that and is an elite player in our game,” said Armstrong.
Bouwmeester, 29, has dressed in 33 games for the Flames this season posting 15 points (six goals, nine assists) and 16 penalty minutes while ranking 13th among all defenseman in time on ice per game (25:09). The 6’4, 212-pound defenseman has appeared in 10 National Hockey League (NHL) season, including stints with Florida and Calgary, recording 300 points (71 goals, 229 assists) and 463 penalty minutes in 750 career games. In addition, Bouwmeester has played in 621 consecutive NHL games.
The Edmonton, Alberta native was originally drafted by Florida in the first round (3rd overall) of the 2002 Entry Draft. Bouwmeester will not count against the Blues 23 man roster until he clears through immigration procedures.