Blackhawks clinch playoff spot

The Chicago Blackhawks have clinched a playoff berth for the sixth consecutive season.

The Blackhawks were assured a spot in the playoffs when the Minnesota Wild defeated the Phoenix Coyotes 3-1 on Saturday night. The Blackhawks became the fifth team from the Western Conference to clinch a postseason berth. They joined the St. Louis Blues, San Jose Sharks, Anaheim Ducks and Colorado Avalanche.

The Blackhawks are 42-18-55 with 99 points. The Avalanche overtook Chicago for second place in the Central Division with a 3-2 win over the Sharks Saturday; Colorado improved to 47-21-6 with 100 points. The Blackhawks are 4-5-1 in their past 10 games and visit the Pittsburgh Penguins Sunday.

The Blackhawks are the defending Stanley Cup champions. They also won the Stanley Cup in 2010. They began their current streak of playoff berths in 2009 after not reaching the playoffs the previous five seasons.