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Samuelsson has career-high five points as Red Wings thump Blackhawks 7-2

Mikael Samuelsson had two goals and a career-high five points to lift Detroit to a 7-2 win over the Chicago Blackhawks on Saturday in the Red Wings' regular-season finale.

Detroit is the Western Conference's top seeded team, but the Red Wings lost a chance to win the Presidents' Trophy as the NHL's overall No. 1 when Buffalo beat Washington on Saturday.

This is the 16th consecutive season Detroit has reached the playoffs, the longest streak in North American professional sports. The Red Wings won Stanley Cup titles in 1997, 1998, and 2002, but haven't advanced past the second round since their last championship.

The Red Wings were eliminated in the first round in 2003, the second round in 2004, and were upset by the eighth-seeded Edmonton Oilers in the first round last spring after winning the Presidents' Trophy.

"Everybody is looking forward to the playoffs," Samuelsson said. "Hopefully, the fun begins."

Kyle Calder had two goals for the Red Wings, Danny Markov added a goal and assist, Tomas Holmstrom reached 30 goals for the first time in his career, and Kyle Quincey got his first NHL goal. Robert Lang had two assists, and Chris Osgood made 19 saves.

"We played the way we want to play in the playoffs," captain Nicklas Lidstrom said.

Samuelsson's previous high was four points on Nov. 23, 2005

Radim Vrbata, and Jeff Hamilton scored for Chicago, which will finish its season Sunday at Dallas. Patrick Lalime stopped 17 shots before being replaced by Nikolai Khabibulin to start the third period.

"It was a rough night in our end. We got beat back two times, we didn't clear their guys from in front of the net," Blackhawks coach Denis Savard said. "First period, a couple bounces went against us, weren't very good goals. It just kind of snowballed from there."

Detroit led 3-0 after the first period.

Markov gave Detroit a 1-0 lead 4:31 into the game when his slap shot from the point deflected off a skate in front, caromed off the end boards, off Lalime's skate and into the net. Samuelsson made it 2-0 just 1:03 later when he beat Lalime from the right faceoff dot for his first goal in 14 games.

Calder scored a power-play goal with 8:30 left in the opening period when Samuelsson's shot from the point deflected in off Calder's skate.

"It's one of those, you look at the tape, you look at the goals. Some of the goals are easy mistakes to try to recover," Lalime said. "So you look at it, look at the bad stuff and look at the good stuff and try to move on, that's for sure."

Holmstrom scored 3:51 into the second period, topping his career high of 29 goals set last season. Calder got his second goal just 1:36 later, and Samuelsson scored his second with 7:30 left in the middle period on a power play.

Samuelsson missed 29 games this season due to various injuries.

"It's great for Sammy because he was hurt so much," Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said.

Vrbata put Chicago on the board with 1:46 remaining in the second period.

Quincey got his first goal just 12 minutes later. Hamilton scored 7:37 into the third period.

Notes: Chicago missed the playoffs for the eighth time in nine seasons. ... Detroit LW Todd Bertuzzi missed the game because of a neck injury and slight concussion. ... Chicago D Adrian Aucoin returned after missing two games with a groin injury. ... Detroit D Chris Chelios didn't play because of an upper body injury. ... Red Wings C Pavel Datsyuk played his first game after signing a US$46.9-million, seven-year contract extension on Friday. ... Detroit RW Dan Cleary was cut above his left eye when he was shoved into the glass face first by Chicago D Cam Barker with 4:55 left. Barker received a boarding major and a game misconduct.



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