Print and Go Back ESPN.com: Chicago Blackhawks [Print without images]

Wednesday, March 30, 2011
Playoff update: Stars gain point on Hawks

By Jesse Rogers

Every day between now and the end of the regular season I’ll update you on the playoff race as it relates to the Chicago Blackhawks:

Tuesday was a bad, but not devastating night for the Chicago Blackhawks. Yes, they lost 3-0 to the Boston Bruins, but the Dallas Stars gained just a point on them with an overtime loss in Phoenix. The Hawks have 90 points while the Stars and Calgary Flames have 87. Dallas has played one less game than the Hawks while Chicago has played one fewer than the Flames.

As the No. 8 seed, if the playoffs started today the Hawks would take on the Vancouver Canucks in the opening round. Vancouver beat Nashville 3-1 on Tuesday to keep the Hawks within two points of the Predators who are the No. 6 seed. Anaheim remains the No. 7 seed, one point ahead of the Hawks.

Of the four teams directly ahead of Chicago in the standings, all have won no less than eight of their past 10 games while the Hawks have gone 4-4-2 over that stretch. In fact, no team in the top 8 in the conference has won as little as four of their past 10 – besides the Hawks. In other words, they need to pick it up again.

Wednesday’s schedule involves one game which affects Chicago. Calgary will play host to Anaheim in a game featuring teams directly in front of and behind the Hawks. They can’t fall out of the top 8, but the Flames could draw within one while the Ducks could move up in the conference. A “three-point game” would be the worst case scenario for the Hawks.