Yes, They Will Defend the Stanley CupThey needed every game this season, plus a win by the Minnesota Wild, but the Chicago Blackhawks will be playing hockey in the playoffs. With the Minnesota Wild's defeat of the Dallas Stars this evening, the Blackhawks secured the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference. In the first round, they will once again meet the Vancouver Canucks.
The Blackhawks certainly made life difficult for themselves. Going into the games this afternoon, all they needed was a win over their division rivals, the Detroit Red Wings. They played on their home ice at United Center, and they lost. The final score was 4-3 in favor of the Red Wings. A win today would have clinched a spot, but with the loss they needed a win from the Wild. Fortunately, they will be playing again on Wednesday night in Vancouver.
While this scenario played itself out this afternoon and evening, I couldn't help but think about two blogs I posted. One was from mid-February and it dealt with the current playoff situation. The other was from last June, just after they won the 2010 Stanley Cup. I questioned which model the Blackhawks would follow. Would they follow the path the Chicago Bears in the 1980s, or the Chicago Bulls of the 1990s?
Here's the schedule for the first round:
Game #1 - Wednesday, April 13: Chicago at Vancouver - 9 p.m. CT
Game #2 - Friday, April 15: Chicago at Vancouver - 9 p.m. CT
Game #3 - Sunday, April 17: Vancouver at Chicago - 8 p.m. CT
Game #4 - Tuesday, April 19: Vancouver at Chicago - 8 p.m. CT
Game #5 - Thursday, April 21: Chicago at Vancouver - 9 p.m. CT
Game #6 - Sunday, April 24: Vancouver at Chicago - 8 p.m. CT
Game #7 -Tuesday, April 26: Chicago at Vancouver - TBD