Here’s a look at the Chicago Blackhawks' playoff picture heading into Friday’s games:
What happened Thursday: The Blackhawks lost to the St. Louis Blues 2-1 and assured themselves of opening the playoffs on the road. The Blues clinched the Central Division title with the win along with the Nashville Predators' 4-2 loss to the Minnesota Wild. The Predators will be the division's No. 2 seed and will have home-ice advantage in the first round regardless of what happens in the season's final two days. The Wild can still overtake the Blackhawks for third place in the division. The Winnipeg Jets also lost 1-0 in a shootout to the Colorado Avalanche, but still clinched a playoff berth. The Los Angeles Kings, the defending Stanley Cup champs, were eliminated from the playoff race.
What to watch for Friday: There are no games that impact the Blackhawks.
Central Division standings: 1. Blues, 107 points, 41 regulation and overtime wins (first tiebreaker) in 81 games; 2. Predators, 104 points, 41 ROW in 81 games; 3. Blackhawks, 102 points, 39 ROW in 81 games; 4. Wild, 100 points, 42 ROW in 81 games.
Wild Card standings: 1. Wild, 100 points in 81 games; 2. Jets, 97 points in 81 games.
Blackhawks playoff outlook: The Blackhawks will begin the playoffs on the road, but their opponent is still unknown. The Blackhawks could play the Blues, Predators or Anaheim Ducks in the first round. In order to play the Ducks, the Blackhawks would have to lose in regulation to the Avalanche on Saturday, the Wild would have to defeat the Blues in overtime or a shootout and the Ducks would have to lose to the Arizona Coyotes in regulation. For the Blackhawks to play the Blues, the Blackhawks have to lose in regulation to the Avalanche and the Wild have to defeat the Blues. For the Blackhawks to play the Predators, the Blackhawks have to pick up at least one point against the Avalanche and/or the Wild have to lose in any fashion to the Blues.
Blackhawks remaining schedule: at Avalanche (Saturday).