Remember when many, many smart hockey people believed that the Chicago Blackhawks would struggle this season? Do you recall the not-so-outrageous arguments that they might miss the playoffs altogether?
Well, much like people who wondered if Tom Brady was washed up, the Blackhawks have been making their critics look silly, especially lately.
The latest confirmation that 2016-17 is, indeed, another great season for Chicago came on Friday. After beating the Columbus Blue Jackets 3-1, the Blackhawks reached the 50-win plateau for just the second time.
The Blackhawks have four games remaining on their schedule. They can max out at 54 wins and 115 points.
Chicago hasn’t officially locked down the Central Division title, but it might be a formality at this point. The Minnesota Wild are currently at 98 points and would finish at 108 if they ran the table with five wins. As you can see, that’s a pretty small margin of error (and would assume a serious slump by the Blackhawks).
The Blue Jackets now find their lead over the Pittsburgh Penguins down to one standings point with both teams holding five more games on the season. Columbus can’t complain too much since the Blackhawks beat the Penguins in regulation earlier this week.