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    Blackhawks 2, Red Wings 1

    Blackhawks beat Red Wings in overtime to win series

    Brent Seabrook (left) celebrates with teammates after his goal gave the Blackhawks a spot in the Western finals.
    nam y. huh/associated press
    Brent Seabrook (left) celebrates with teammates after his goal gave the Blackhawks a spot in the Western finals.

    CHICAGO — When the Chicago Blackhawks were on the brink of playoff elimination, they had the feeling that all they needed was one win to turn it around.

    They were right.

    Brent Seabrook sent a wrist shot past Jimmy Howard’s glove 3:35 into overtime, and the Blackhawks completed an improbable comeback with a 2-1 victory over the Red Wings in Game 7 of their second-round playoff series on Wednesday night.


    ‘‘You go back to after Game 4,’’ Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said. ‘‘Their approach and the belief in the room, and each other, was there. It was a strong season and we had to find a way. I think winning here in Game 5 got us excited again and got the momentum back.

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    ‘‘The last two games were tightly fought and amazing games.’’

    The Blackhawks, who had the best record in the NHL in the regular season, rallied from a 3-1 series deficit to reach the Western Conference finals against the defending Stanley Cup champion Kings.

    For just the second time in NHL history, the final four teams remaining in the playoffs are the four most recent Stanley Cup winners. Chicago captured the Cup in 2010.

    Seabrook picked up a loose puck and skated in on Howard through the middle of the ice, with Detroit defenseman Niklas Kronwall in front of him. His shot hit Kronwall’s leg before it sailed into the left side of the net for the defenseman’s first goal of the postseason.


    ‘‘I don’t know if I saw it go in to be honest,’’ Seabrook said. ‘‘I just heard the horn going and the boys jumping out.

    ‘‘It’s exciting. You don’t get to do that too many times.’’

    The sellout crowd of 22,103 roared as Seabrook skated over to the boards and was mobbed by his delirious teammates.

    Howard put his arm around Kronwall, who was down on one knee, and tried to console him.

    ‘‘It’s tough. How do you get upset at someone who’s sacrificing their body out there to block shots?’’ Howard said.


    It was quite a change from the end of the third period, when the Blackhawks thought they had scored the go-ahead goal. But it was waved off with less than two minutes remaining by referee Stephen Walkom, who called a pair of penalties behind the play.

    Patrick Sharp put Chicago in front in the second period, but Henrik Zetterberg tied it in the third for No. 7 Detroit, which beat second-seeded Anaheim in seven games in the first round. Howard finished with 33 saves.

    ‘‘They’re a very talented group,’’ Detroit coach Mike Babcock said. ‘‘I think we pushed them very hard in the series and had a lot of fun doing it.’’

    Chicago made it to the conference finals for the first time since it won the title three years ago, and will host Los Angeles in Game 1 on Saturday night. The Kings advanced with a 2-1 victory over San Jose in Game 7 on Tuesday night.

    Chicago was one of the favorites to win the Stanley Cup when the playoffs began. The Blackhawks then boosted their credentials with a five-game win over Minnesota in the first round and a convincing 4-1 victory against the Red Wings in the series opener.

    But Howard and Detroit responded with three straight victories, pushing Chicago to the edge of elimination. The frustrated Blackhawks held a team meeting the day after Game 4, where the seeds were planted for their improbable comeback.

    ‘‘We dug really deep,’’ captain Jonathan Toews said. “We came in here and asked ourselves a question: How bad we wanted it. You got your answer right there. That’s a heck of a way to pull out four wins.”