By R.B. FALLSTROM/AP Sports Writer
ST. LOUIS (AP) – Backup goalie Petr Mrazek kept the injury-riddled St. Louis Blues down heading into the playoffs with his second career shutout in a 3-0 victory for the Detroit Red Wings on Sunday.
The Blues had been in contention for the No. 1 overall seed but lost their last six and missed a chance at taking the Central Division with Colorado clinching on a tiebreaker before playing at Anaheim Sunday night. Minus three of their top five scorers, their top faceoff man and two top defensemen, they were shut out for the second straight game and third time during the slump.
Justin Abdelkader scored twice, Riley Sheahan added a goal and Pavel Datsyuk had two assists for the Red Wings, who are locked into the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs and will play Boston.
The Blues set a franchise record with 52 wins but are the third seed in the Western Conference entering a first-round series against the defending Stanley Cup champion Blackhawks. They’re scuffling to say the least with the franchise’s longest losing streak since a seven-game skid from Dec. 26, 2009 to Jan. 7, 2010, and they’ve mustered five goals the last six games.
The Red Wings, who rested Jimmy Howard, Daniel Alfredsson and Johan Franzen, were 3-1 against Boston. The Blues were 3-2 against Chicago.
Mrazek is 2-4 this season and has three career victories, one of them in his NHL debut in St. Louis on Feb. 7, 2013. He bested the Blues’ Ryan Miller, who has lost his last five decisions.
T.J. Oshie (head), David Backes (foot) and Alex Pietrangelo (undisclosed) led a long list of scratches for the Blues. Oshie has 60 points, Backes 57 and Pietrangelo 51.
The Red Wings were outshot 7-4 in the first period, but took the lead on Abdelkader’s deflection at 13:30. Near the midpoint of the period, an apparent goal by Tomas Tatar was waved off by a goaltender interference on Joakim Andersson, who slashed Miller’s stick seconds earlier.
Sheahan scored for the third straight game on the counter-attack with his ninth overall making it 2-0 at 16:19 of the second and Abdelkader made it 3-0 with another deflection in the third.
Notes: Blues D Jay Bouwmeester played in his 717th consecutive game – the longest streak in major pro sports – and was the only St. Louis player to dress every game. … Miller is 2-9-2 against Detroit. … The Red Wings are preparing for their 23rd consecutive playoff appearance.
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