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Devils and Blackhawks win to secure playoff positions

(Reuters) - The New Jersey Devils and Chicago Blackhawks snapped up two of the remaining positions for the 2012 NHL Stanley Cup playoffs with victories on Saturday.

Martin Brodeur made 22 saves for his 119th career shutout to lead the Devils (45-28-6) past the Carolina Hurricanes 5-0.

New Jersey join the New York Rangers, Boston Bruins, Pittsburgh Penguins and Philadelphia Flyers in having secured playoff positions in the Eastern Conference.

Chicago (44-26-9) rebounded from squandering a four-goal lead to edge the Nashville Predators 5-4 and qualify for the postseason for the fourth consecutive season.

The Blackhawks join the St. Louis Blues, Vancouver Canucks, Detroit Red Wings and Predators in the Western Conference playoff picture.

There are three playoff positions still available in each conference with one week remaining in the season.

The Blackhawks' win over Nashville also handed the Blues their first Central Division title since 2000 despite their 5-2 defeat at the hands of the Columbus Blue Jackets.

The defending Stanley Cup champion Bruins clinched the Northeast Division with a 6-3 win over the New York Islanders.

(Reporting by Mike Mouat in Windsor, Ontario. Editing by Nick Mulvenney. To query or comment on this story email sportsfeedback@thomsonreuters.com)

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