Detroit has won seven straight and earned at least a point in its last 19 games, clinching the Presidents’ Trophy along the way. The Red Wings’ 122 points are the second-most in team history behind the 1995-96 squad that finished with 131 points, the second-highest total in NHL history.
Dallas beat Minnesota 4-3 in overtime Saturday for its club-record 53rd win. The Stars have 111 points and two games remaining to try to break the franchise record of 114, set during their 1998-99 championship season.
“It’s tough to play these games,” Dallas captain Mike Modano said. “You just want to get them over with on Monday and Tuesday and start to focus, getting our minds and our bodies ready for Friday. It’s tough to go through these games, because they don’t have any bearing whatsoever.”
Trevor Daley scored with 33.7 seconds left in overtime on an assist from Modano to give the Stars their fourth win in five games.
“It was good for Dales to get a goal like that,” Stars coach Dave Tippett said. “Any time a young player can step up and score a big goal like that, whether it’s in a game that means anything in the standings or not, those are things they can put in the memory banks.”
Detroit rested five of its top veterans, including Steve Yzerman, Pavel Datsyuk and Chris Chelios, against St. Louis on Saturday. The Wings won 3-2 when Henrik Zetterberg scored with 9 seconds remaining.
The win was the Red Wings’ 12th straight, extending their NHL record.
“It’s nice to win to keep good chemistry,” Zetterberg said. “We just want to keep everybody fresh and keep the momentum for the playoffs.”
Brendan Shanahan reached the 40-goal mark for the sixth time, and is two goals short of 600 for his career.
“I just try to stay ahead of my age,” the 37-year-old Shanahan said. “It means a lot. I think these are all things you reflect on at the end of the season and at the end of your career.”
Detroit and Dallas have been two of the best teams in the Western Conference for the last decade, but haven’t matched up in the playoffs since 1997-98, when the Red Wings beat the Stars in the conference finals.
Detroit—which closes the regular season against Nashville on Tuesday— faces Edmonton in the first round.
Dallas plays Columbus on Tuesday and will open the postseason against Colorado or Anaheim.