It took 65 minutes and a skills competition, but the Blackhawks earned two points on Sunday.
So now the Blackhawks, with 66 points, look up at five teams tied with 68… in 6th place (Calgary is still playing and is included in that group). The schedule lines up for the Blackhawks to spend the next two weeks making a direct impact on their playoffs lives. Here are the next five games on the Blackhawks’ schedule, and the point total of those teams through Sunday:
- Monday, 2/21 - @ St. Louis (63 pts)
- Thursday, 2/24 - @ Nashville (70)
- Sunday, 2/27 - Phoenix (68)
- Monday, 2/28 – @ Minnesota (68)
- Wednesday, 3/2 – Calgary (68*)
The importance of these games cannot be emphasized enough. The first three games will be played before the trade deadline, and the Hawks have two full days off between the Blues and Preds. That means how the Hawks play on Monday in St. Louis will likely weight heavily into GM Stan Bowman’s decision making process.
All a fan can ask for is that their team has a direct chance to impact their own playoff destiny. Just as the Philadelphia Flyers did last year with a shootout win on the final day of the season, the Blackhawks will likely have to win all the way to the end of the season just to get into the postseason.