Hawks' first-round foe still up in air

April, 22, 2013
4/22/13
3:28
PM CT
Powers By Scott Powers
ESPNChicago.com
Archive
The Chicago Blackhawks, who stood atop ESPN's NHL Power Rankings again Monday, recently assured themselves of the top spot in the Western Conference, but the identity of their first-round foe is still unknown.

The Blackhawks could still play one of seven teams in the first round. With one week remaining in the regular season, the San Jose Sharks, St. Louis Blues, Minnesota Wild, Columbus Blue Jackets, Detroit Red Wings, Dallas Stars and Phoenix Coyotes are all potential opening-round opponents for the Blackhawks.

Here's a closer look at all seven potential first-round opponents with their records, ROW (regulation + overtime wins, which is used as a tiebreaker), remaining games and best-and-worst-case scenarios.

San Jose, 24-14-17, 55 points (currently fifth place): 16 ROW, 3 games remaining (vs. Dallas on Tuesday, at Phoenix on Wednesday, at Los Angeles on Saturday), best case (61 points, fourth place), worst case (55 points, out of the playoffs)

St. Louis, 26-17-2, 54 points (currently sixth place): 21 ROW, 3 games remaining (vs. Colorado on Tuesday, vs. Calgary on Thursday, vs. Blackhawks on Saturday), best case (60 points, fourth place), worst case (54 points, out of the playoffs)

Minnesota, 24-18-3, 51 points (currently seventh place): 20 ROW, three games remaining (vs. Los Angeles on Tuesday, vs. Edmonton Friday, at Colorado on Saturday), best case (57 points, win the Northwest Division, third place), worst case (51 points, out of the playoffs)

Columbus, 22-7-7, 51 points (currently eighth place): 17 ROW, two games remaining (at Dallas on Thursday, vs. Nashville on Saturday), best case (55 points, fifth place), worst case (51 points, out of the playoffs)

Detroit, 20-16-8, 48 points: 18 ROW, four games remaining (vs. Phoenix on Monday, vs. Los Angeles on Wednesday, vs. Nashville on Thursday, at Dallas on Saturday), best case (56 points, fifth place), worst case (48 points, out of the playoffs)

Dallas, 22-19-4, 48 points: 20 ROW, three games remaining (at San Jose on Tuesday, vs. Columbus on Thursday, vs. Detroit on Saturday), best case (54 points, sixth place), worst case (48 points, out of the playoffs)

Phoenix, 19-17-8, 46 points: 15 ROW, four games remaining (at Detroit on Monday, vs. San Jose on Wednesday, vs. Colorado on Friday, at Anaheim on Saturday), best case (54 points, seventh place), worst case (46 points, out of the playoffs)
Scott Powers is a general reporter for ESPNChicago.com. He is an award-winning journalist and has been reporting on preps, colleges and pros for publications throughout the Midwest since 1997.

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