After a frustrating 3-2 home loss on Monday night in overtime to the Vancouver Cancucks, the Blackhawks find themselves four points out of the final wild-card spot trailing the Arizona Coyotes. Now, with ten games left for the Hawks to make a final push, They will have to battle not only Arizona but the Minnesota Wild and the Colorado Avalanche as well, who are also fighting for the final wild-card spot.
The Wild and the Avalanche have tough schedules ahead with the majority of their games coming against teams currently in the playoffs.
The Coyotes have nine games remaining after their 4-1 road loss to the Tamp Bay Lighting on Monday night but the Hawks haven’t been able to gain much ground lately with both teams going 6-3-1 in their last ten games.
With the Wild having the toughest remaining schedule of the four teams battling it out, it’s likely to see them slide in the standings, making it crucial for the Hawks to beat the Avalanche Saturday afternoon in Colorado and again Sunday night at the United Center. Those two victories would make the last wild card spot essentially a two-horse race between the Coyotes and the Hawks.
Assuming the aforementioned goes to plan, the most important part of the schedule for the Hawks will be their matchup against the Coyotes on March 26th, in the desert. A Hawks loss in that game will likely dash their playoff hopes for the second-straight year, which hasn’t happened since the 2007-2008 season.
With a victory in Arizona, the Hawks would still have a shot to jump into the last wild card spot as the Coyotes have two tough games against the Winnipeg Jets and the Las Vegas Golden Knights to close out the season.
Nothing will be easy for the Hawks moving forward though, as five of their last six games against will be against current playoff teams (the San Jose Sharks, Winnipeg Jets, St. Louis Blues, Dallas Stars, and the Nashville Predators) but nothing has been easy for this team all season, so it just makes sense. One positive stat for the Hawks when looking at the remainder of their schedule is that they hold 11-6-3 record against the central division.
But before any of these hypothetical schedule bounces can go the Hawks way, they will need to beat the Philadelphia Flyers Thursday night in Chicago.