There will be a Stanley Cup defense this postseason.
While there was little doubt the Blackhawks would get into the Stanley Cup Playoffs this season, things became official Saturday. The Hawks clinched a spot in the postseason thanks to the Minnesota Wild's 3-1 victory over the Phoenix Coyotes.
It's the Hawks' sixth straight trip to the playoffs, and it will be their second postseason defense of a Stanley Cup in the past four seasons. The last time the Hawks were defending champs in a postseason they were dealt a first-round exit, eliminated in seven games by the Vancouver Canucks.
Though the recent search for consistency has provided challenges, the Blackhawks figure to finish as one of the three top finishers in the Central Division. A likely first-round matchup with the Colorado Avalanche still has at least one uncertainty: Who will boast the home-ice advantage? As of Saturday night, the Avs sit at second place in the Central with 100 points, while the Blackhawks are third with 99 points. The division-leading Blues have a good deal of breathing room with 107 points.