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Stanley Cup champions Chicago qualify for post-season

(Reuters) - The Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks grabbed a spot in the National Hockey League playoffs without having to play on Saturday, clinching a berth courtesy of the Minnesota Wild's 3-1 win over the Phoenix Coyotes.

Chicago (42-18-15) sit third in the Western Conference Central Division but are a point behind Colorado in the chase for second.

The Avalanche, who also clinched a playoff spot earlier on Saturday, have a game in hand.

It marks the sixth successive season in the playoffs for the Blackhawks after a 10-year run of struggles where they qualified just once and then lost in the first round.

(Reporting By Ben Everill in Los Angeles; Editing by Greg Stutchbury)

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