Hawks can clinch playoff spot Saturday

Every day between now and the end of the regular season I’ll update you on the playoff race as it pertains to the Chicago Blackhawks:

The Los Angeles Kings prevented the Hawks from clinching a playoff berth as they beat the Edmonton Oilers on Friday night, 4-1. The win vaulted the Kings back into first place in the Pacific Division knocking the Dallas Stars down to the No. 7 seed as they lost 5-2 to the Vancouver Canucks.

The Hawks have a chance to clinch on their own if they earn at least a point in Saturday night’s game against the Nashville Predators. Nashville beat Detroit 4-1 on Friday to take over the No. 4 seed in the Western Conference. Nashville has 98 points, Detroit has 97 and Chicago has 95. Even if the Hawks beat Nashville and tie Detroit in the points, they’ll still wake-up on Sunday as the No. 6 seed due to tie-breakers.

The Hawks can also clinch a playoff berth if the San Jose Sharks lose, in regulation or overtime, later on Saturday when they host the Stars. If Dallas loses in regulation or Phoenix does the same against Anaheim, the Hawks also clinch. Lastly, if the Kings lose to Minnesota in regulation or overtime the Hawks can clinch.

The Hawks are 1-4 against Nashville this year while the Predators have earned points in all five games. Nashville’s win on Friday earned coach Barry Trotz his 500th career victory. The Hawks are 14-6-2 against the Central Division while the Predators are 16-4-3.

If the playoffs started to the Hawks would take on the Kings in the opening round of the postseason.