The St. Louis Blues clinched the Central Division on Thursday, and they did it in a fitting way: winning by a narrow margin.
St. Louis locked up what might be the NHL’s best division after beating the Chicago Blackhawks 2-1 while the Nashville Predators dropped a 4-2 loss to the Minnesota Wild. The one bit of good news for Nashville is that they’ll hold home-ice advantage in a Central No. 2 vs. No. 3 matchup, as the Blackhawks can finish no better than third in the division.
(The Minnesota Wild have a chance to catch them if they win their last game and Chicago drops its finale.)
Even with the division title in hand, the Blues have something to play for against the Wild on Saturday. Depending upon how things go for the West-leading Anaheim Ducks, St. Louis could conceivably grab the top seed in the conference on the last day of the season.
Edging the ‘Hawks
The Blackhawks and Blues smothered each other in a tight-checking contest. The first goal wasn’t scored until less than three minutes were remaining in the second period. A late Paul Stastny goal made it 2-0 and eventually stood as the game-winner after Andrew Shaw brought the contest to within one.
Jake Allen continues to make his argument to be the unquestioned No. 1 option for the Blues. If nothing else, he saw the kind of tough, low-margin-of-error contest a goalie will often experience in the postseason tonight.