Fuzzy postseason picture brighter than it appears
April 4, 2011 10:57PM
The facts: 6:30, CSN, 720-AM.
WESTERN CONFERENCE PLAYOFF RACE
Team Games Points
8. Hawks 78 92
Flames 80 91
Stars 78 89
Updated: September 24, 2012 6:25AM
Sunday was a bad night for the Blackhawks.
Not only did they get shut out by the Tampa Bay Lightning, but the Hawks’ two pursuers for the final playoff spot in the West won.
However, the Calgary Flames and Dallas Stars and the threats they pose to the Hawks’ chances of making the postseason aren’t as close as they may appear.
The Hawks (92 points) own the first tiebreaker — games won not including shootout victories — over both teams and own every tiebreaker over Calgary (91 points). They also have two games in hand on the Flames.
It’s a little different when it comes to Dallas (89 points). The Hawks have more non-shootout wins (36) than the Stars (34). But Dallas could run the table in its final four games to close the gap.
If that should happen, Dallas owns the second tiebreaker — head-to-head points.
That’s where things could get dicey for the Hawks, who have the same number of games left as the Stars but are at Montreal (91 points) tonight. They close the season with a home-and-home against the Red Wings (102 points). They also host the Blues on Wednesday.
But despite all the playoff scenarios, Jonathan Toews wants his team’s focus to go beyond merely making the postseason.
“We’ve got to prepare to be a team that [wants] to go farther in the playoffs than just the first round,” Toews said. “We’re not going to be satisfied with [getting in].”
Coach Joel Quenneville said Patrick Sharp (left knee) would be re-evaluated by doctors after the Hawks’ game against Tampa Bay. There was no update on Sharp’s condition.
The Hawks are 3-3 since Sharp was injured March 20 at Phoenix, and they have seen their offensive production drop to two goals per game in the six games without him, down from 3.25 goals per game.