With his shootout winner, Viktor Stalberg put the Blackhawks into a much better position heading into the final week of the regular season.
Here are the standings as of Friday night:
And here are the remaining games for the teams immediately surrounding the Blackhawks:
- Phoenix: @LAK, SJ, @SJ
- Los Angeles: @SJ, PHX, @ANA, ANA
- Nashville: DET, ATL, CBJ, @STL
- Anaheim: @SJ, DAL, SJ, LAK, @LAK
- Blackhawks: TB, @MTL, STL, @DET, DET
As you can see from the remaining games, the Western Conference playoff picture is far from being settled. The Ducks have five games left, with four of them against the Sharks and Kings. Likewise, the Coyotes have two games left with the Sharks, and the Hawks have two left against the Red Wings.
The playoff picture is wide open, but the two points achieved on Friday night in Columbus should give fans confidence that the playoffs are now firmly within the Blackhawks’ grasp. What now needs to be determined is their first round opponent…