ST.PAUL, Minn. -- Every day between now and Saturday I’ll update you on the playoff race as it relates to the Chicago Blackhawks:
Even before the Hawks lost 2-1 to the Minnesota Wild in a shootout on Thursday, they were eliminated from earning the No. 4 seed in the Western Conference by virtue of Nashville’s 2-0 victory over the Dallas Stars. The Predators are three points ahead of the Hawks with one game to play. Now the best the Hawks can do is the No. 5 seed.
The Detroit Red Wings lost to New Jersey 2-1, allowing Chicago to pull within two points of the Wings as the teams will face off in the regular season finale on Saturday afternoon. If the Hawks beat Detroit in regulation they will tie them in the standings and earn the No. 5 seed by virtue of a second tie-breaker -- head-to-head competition. Any other outcome in the game assures the Hawks the No. 6 seed.
The Red Wings can still earn the No. 4 seed, and home ice advantage in the first round, if they win Saturday and Nashville loses to Colorado.
If the playoffs began today, the Hawks would still face the Los Angeles Kings, the current No. 3 seed, but the Pacific Division tightened up some more on Thursday when the Kings lost to San Jose, 5-4, in a shootout. Those teams play each other again on Saturday. Phoenix, one point behind those two teams, has two games left. The Hawks lost three of four to Los Angeles this season.