Every morning between now and the end of the regular season I’ll update the playoff picture as it pertains to the Chicago Blackhawks:
Sunday’s 6-1 loss to the Nashville Predators wasn’t devastating in terms of the Hawks making the playoffs, but it was a blow in terms of moving up from the No. 6 seed. The Predators are now four points ahead of the Hawks while Detroit remains three points ahead. Nashville took over the No. 4 seed with their win over Chicago.
So the Hawks remain firmly as the No. 6 seed, five points ahead of No. 7 Phoenix, who lost 4-0 to St. Louis on Sunday. The Hawks also have a game in hand and are six points ahead of ninth-place San Jose. If the playoffs started today Chicago would open on the road against the No. 3 seed Dallas Stars. The Hawks have five more points than Dallas, but as the Pacific Division leader the Stars get home ice advantage.
Monday is a busy day for the Western Conference playoff picture. The Detroit Red Wings have played one fewer game than the Hawks and they host the Columbus Blue Jackets, the cellar dweller of the West.
Three Pacific teams vying for the playoffs are in action as Dallas plays in Calgary, Los Angeles is in Vancouver and San Jose hosts Colorado. Four teams in that division are separated by a single point, meaning if the playoffs opened tomorrow the No. 6 seeded Hawks could have a different opponent than they would as of today. Count on that kind of back-and-forth for the final two weeks of the season.