- Scott Powers, Reporter
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The Chicago Blackhawks clinched the top seed in the Western Conference on Wednesday.
The Blackhawks, who were idle Wednesday, secured the No. 1 seed when the Anaheim Ducks lost to the Columbus Blue Jackets 3-2 in overtime. With the defeat, the second-place Ducks, who are 27-10-6 with 60 points, are now unable to catch the Blackhawks, who are 33-5-4 with 70 points. The Ducks can't catch the Hawks in regular-plus-overtime wins, which would be the tiebreaker if they both finished with 70 points. The Ducks have 21 regulation and overtime wins with five games remaining, and the Blackhawks have 27.
Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said earlier Wednesday his team hoped to capture the top seed.
"I think how we're playing is priority," Quenneville said after Wednesday's practice. "If we're playing the right way, hopefully we can get points. We'd love to finish on top. That's our motivation. How we go about it, I think we don't want to change too much how we're playing. Our goal was to be first in our division. If we can be more than that, that would be great. I think we're at the point where it'd be a nice achievement."
The Blackhawks last led their conference in points when they had 106 to top the Clarence Campbell Conference during the 1992-93 season.
The Blackhawks also lead the NHL in points this season and could win their first Presidents' Trophy since the 1990-91 season. The Pittsburgh Penguins trail the Blackhawks with a 33-10-0 record and 66 points.
As of Wednesday, the Blackhawks would open the playoffs against the Blue Jackets, who overtook the Detroit Red Wings for the No. 8 spot with their win over the Ducks. The Blackhawks have defeated the Blue Jackets in four one-goal games this season.
The Chicago Blackhawks clinched the top seed in the Western Conference on Wednesday.The Blackhawks, who were idle Wednesday, secured the No. 1 seed when the Anaheim Ducks lost to the Columbus Blue Jackets 3-2 in overtime.