Hawks clinch playoff spot, now aim for Presidents' Trophy - FOX 35 News Orlando

Hawks clinch playoff spot, now aim for Presidents' Trophy

Posted: Updated:
CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

After defeating Nashville 5-3 at the United Center on Sunday the Blackhawks became the first team this year to clinch a playoff spot.

The Predators are now in serious jeopardy of missing the postseason, as they managed only one point during the last three contests versus Chicago. The Blackhawks came away sweeping all three games during the seven day Predator odyssey.

The Hawks made enough mistakes to keep this contest interesting for awhile. To say a Predators-Blackhawks match was entertaining is not common but the third period made this one worthwhile viewing.

After losing the lead early in the third frame the Blackhawks stepped on the gas. Brandon Saad and Jonathan Toews scored in a 55-second span and the Hawks never looked back. Ray Emery had the net again and was solid.

Strength and conditioning coach Paul Goodman has to be given a good deal of credit. Ever since joining the Blackhawks in 2008, the record in back to back has been very good. In this year's condensed schedule the Hawks have a perfect 9-0 record in the second of back to back games.

Next stop will be in Minnesota on Tuesday.

Sunday night, big trade deadline acquisition Jason Pominville had a goal and an assist to help lead the Wild to a 3-0 shutout over Columbus. Minnesota is now just two points behind Northwest division leader Vancouver. The Wild had a shaky start to the season but if they close out in fine fashion they could finish as high as third in the Western Conference.

Once again the Blackhawks next game will mean more to their opponent. So it will take a top effort to skate out of the Xcel Energy Center with two points.

Al's Shots

If this were a normal 82 game regular season I wouldn't care at all if the Hawks won the Presidents' Trophy. Finishing on top of the NHL wouldn't matter much as long as the Blackhawks didn't enter the postseason in poor form.

With a condensed 48 game schedule I think it does matter if the Hawks finish with the best overall record for a few reasons.

The most important factor is I don't think finishing with the best record this season is as emotionally draining as if it had happened over an 82 game schedule. Next reason is the Blackhawks don't want to go into the postseason in a tailspin.

There is proof the winner of the Presidents' Trophy doesn't have a solid advantage once the postseason begins.

Of the 26 teams which finished with the best overall record and had home ice throughout the playoffs, only seven have gone on to win the Cup. More concerning for the President winners is six have been eliminated in the first round.

With 10 games remaining only three clubs have a chance of surpassing the Blackhawks point total. Pittsburgh is four points behind and is without Sidney Crosby, plus they have played one additional game. Anaheim and Montreal each trail Chicago by seven points.

It would take a very poor ending for the Hawks to not finish with the best record. Maybe most important, there is some history a number one overall finish may point to better things to come.

The last time a Lockout led to an abbreviated 48 game season the Detroit Red Wings won the Presidents' Trophy with 70 points. The Red Wings did get to the Finals but lost to New Jersey, and that is an accomplishment in itself.

Blackhawk fans should hang on tight and hope the best regular season leads to getting one step further than the 1994-1995 Red Wings. You have to get the Finals to have a shot at the Cup and winning the Presidents' Trophy could be the strongest ticket for success.

I will be back with some thoughts after the Wild game on Wednesday morning. You can follow me on Twitter @AlCimaglia.

Follow Us!

Powered by WorldNow

35 Skyline Drive
Lake Mary, FL 32746

Phone: (407) 644-3535
News Tips: (866) 55-FOX35

Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | New Terms of Service What's new | Ad Choices