Blackhawks still awaiting playoff opponent

CHICAGO -- Chicago Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane isn't making the mistake again of trying to analyze the team's first-round playoff opponent.

Kane did that last season and was wrong when it came to how the Blackhawks matched up with the Phoenix Coyotes. He assumed it was a favorable pairing, and the Coyotes eliminated the Blackhawks in six games.

With the Columbus Blue Jackets, Detroit Red Wings and Minnesota Wild all still potential first-round opponents for the top-seeded Blackhawks this season, Kane is staying away from preferring a specific team to fall into the No. 8 spot.

"It's kind of tough to really pick and choose your team," Kane said after Friday's morning skate at the United Center. "It seems like last year we thought Phoenix would be a great matchup for us. I think a lot of people thought that, and they end up beating us. I'm trying to not think about that too much this year.

"Sometimes you start thinking about matchups, they always seem to go against you and not in your favor. We'll just watch, and whoever we play, we play. But we know it's going to be a tough matchup. We saw a team like [the Los Angeles Kings,] an eighth seed, ending up winning the whole thing. Nothing is granted."

The Blackhawks would play the Wild in the opening round as of Friday afternoon. The Wild fell to No. 8 when the Red Wings moved up to No. 7 with their 5-2 win over the Nashville Predators on Thursday. The Blue Jackets also remained in the playoff picture with a 3-1 win over the Dallas Stars on Thursday.

Here's a closer look at all three of the Blackhawks' potential first-round opponents with their records, ROW (regulation + overtime wins, which is used as a tiebreaker), remaining games and best-and-worst-case scenarios.

  • Red Wings, 23-16-8, 54 points (seventh place): 21 ROW, one game remaining (at Dallas on Saturday), best case (56 points, seventh place), worst case (54 points, out of the playoffs)

  • Wild, 25-18-3, 53 points (eighth place): 21 ROW, two games remaining (vs. Edmonton on Friday, at Colorado on Saturday), best case (57 points, fifth place), worst case (53 points, out of the playoffs)

  • Blue Jackets, 23-17-7, 53 points: 18 ROW, one game remaining (vs. Nashville on Saturday), best case (55 points, seventh place), worst case (53 points, out of the playoffs)