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Thursday, March 31, 2011
Playoff update: No gain for Flames

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:

Wednesday wasn’t a bad night for the Hawks as the Calgary Flames failed to gain any ground, losing 4-2 to Anaheim. It means the Hawks remain three points ahead of the Flames and the Dallas Stars for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference.

Calgary might almost be buried with only four games remaining compared to six for the Hawks and seven for the Stars. But the Flames have an easy schedule and could conceivably garner all eight points available to them. Even so, they will need some help to get in.

The Hawks’ main rival right now is the Stars. They can close the gap on Thursday when they play in San Jose but no matter the outcome, the Hawks will remain the No. 8 seed heading into Friday’s game in Columbus. The Stars also have a fairly easy finish though they play seven games in the final 11 days of the season. The Hawks have six in 10 days.

Nashville is the No. 7 seed after being jumped by Anaheim. They are two points ahead of the Hawks and have played one more game. It will be two extra games after Thursday’s contest in Colorado. If the playoffs started today, the Hawks would face the top-seeded Vancouver Canucks in the opening round.