CHICAGO – Brent Seabrook sent a wrist shot past goalie Jimmy Howard’s glove 3:35 into overtime to give the Chicago Blackhawks a 2-1 victory over the Detroit Red Wings in Game 7 of their second-round playoff series Wednesday night.

The Blackhawks, who had the best record in the NHL regular season, rallied from a 3-1 series deficit to reach the Western Conference finals against the defending Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles 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 his first goal of the postseason.

“I was just trying to step up,” Seabrook said. “The coaches have been on me all year to get up and jump into the play.”

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 while the Blackhawks celebrated.

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.

Henrik Zetterberg scored the tying goal in the third period for Detroit, which beat second-seeded Anaheim in seven games in the first round. Howard finished with 33 saves.

Pavel Datsyuk was held without a point, closing out an ineffective series for the Russian star.

Chicago made it to the conference finals for the first time since it won the title in 2010 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. It then boosted its 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.


COYOTES: Phoenix, the parent team of the Portland Pirates, signed defenseman James Melindy to a three-year contract.

Melindy, 19, played two games for the Pirates last season after scoring four goals and recording 20 assists in 67 games with the Moncton Wildcats in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.

RANGERS: John Tortorella was defiant in stating the Rangers didn’t take a step back when they were knocked out of the Stanley Cup playoffs in the second round.

GM Glen Sather thought otherwise and fired him.

The fiery Tortorella, a former UMaine player, was let go four days after the Rangers’ season ended with a Game 5 loss at Boston to the Bruins. New York had reached the Eastern Conference finals last year and was considered to be a championship contender in this lockout-shortened season.

Tortorella was unexpectedly dismissed with one year left on his contract. In 319 regular-season games with New York, including a four-game run at the end of the 1999-2000 season, Tortorella went 171-118-1-29. He was 19-25 in the postseason, and reached the playoffs in four of the five seasons after taking over as coach in February 2009.