The Chicago Blackhawks don’t know where they’ll begin the 2016 postseason, but they do know that it won’t be in Chicago.
The Dallas Stars and St. Louis both won their games on Thursday, putting them out of reach for the Blackhawks. With that, Chicago is locked into the third spot in the Central Division, so they will begin the first round on the road.
It’s not the first time this team will begin the playoffs in this type of situation, but still …
The @NHLBlackhawks are locked into 3rd place in the Central Division & will visit either St. Louis or Dallas in the First Round. #StanleyCup
So, the Blackhawks will face whichever team fails to win the division. At the moment, the Stars are technically in first place thanks to holding the tiebreaker edge, but both Dallas and St. Louis hold 107 standings points.
At 49-23-9 (107 PTS), the @DallasStars & @StLouisBlues remain tied (in terms of PTS) for 1st in the Central & West (ROW – DAL: 47, STL: 44).
The Stars close out their season on Saturday against the Nashville Predators while the Blues’ 82nd contest is against the Washington Capitals.
One opponent is far more familiar than the other, yet either way, the Blackhawks face a challenge. Of course, they also know that they’ve jumped over plenty of hurdles before, ones that both the Blues and Stars must clear if they want to take that next step.
With first-ever sweep of Rangers, Isles move to third in Metro (for now)
Now, the question is, who will the Penguins face in the first round? The New York Islanders completed their first-ever season sweep of the New York Rangers on Thursday, and took the third seed in the Metropolitan Division in the process.
At least for now.
How Bruins, Red Wings and Flyers can make playoffs after thrilling Thursday
There aren’t many certainties, it seems, when it comes to the three-team race for the Eastern Conference’s two unresolved playoff spots.
That said, it seems like we can count on the Boston Bruins, Detroit Red Wings and Philadelphia Flyers to at least keep things interesting.
As you can see here, the Bruins thwarted the Red Wings’ attempt to clinch yet another playoff berth on Thursday. It seems like everything was coming up Millhouse for the Bruins with the Flyers trailing the lowly Toronto Maple Leafs heading into the third period of that game … but it couldn’t be that simple, could it?
Nope, instead, the Flyers managed to force the game into overtime before falling 4-3 in OT to Toronto.
Fittingly, Wayne Simmonds scored his 30th goal at an opportune time for Philly: