You're a Blackhawks fan, act like it

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You're a Blackhawks fan, act like it

Ever since the Blackhawks gained a point in the shootout loss and Detroit lost in regulation Thursday night, all Ive been hearing from Blackhawk fans is that they hope the team loses their season finale. IF they lose, that would leave them in sixth place facing either San Jose, L.A., or Phoenix.

If they win in regulation, they would clinch the fifth seed and face the Predators, with the first two games being played in the music city.

So now the debate begins, who do you want the Blackhawks to face in the first round of the playoffs?
Why fans are afraid of Nashville-
The Preds won the season series 4-1-1, which included back-to-back games before the all-star break and a 6-1 blowout on March 25.

Pekka Rinne saved 90 percent of the shots he faced against the hawks this season while giving up less than three goals per game.

Why fans should want to play Nashville-

The Blackhawks put up five goals on Rinne March 31.

They have also recorded at least a point in 15 of their last 17 games. That means they are playing well, and they have momentum on their side heading into the postseason.

And, its a nice short 90 minute flight to Nashville.

You really want to head West in the first round? Do you think L.A., San Jose or Phoenix are going to lie down for the Hawks?

Goaltender Jonathan Quick of the Kings has played VERY well against the Hawks this season - 3-1 record, giving up LESS than a goal per game with two shutouts.

This is only the second trip to the playoffs for the Kings in the last nine seasons, and you dont think their fans would be hyped up to host the first two games of the series?

And by the way, its a nice four-hour and 20-minute plane ride to L.A. That wont be fun for the Blackhawks if this series goes seven games resulting in three trips out west.
San Jose?
Did you see the Sharks-Kings game on Thursday night? That was intense. Even though the Blackhawks had the Sharks number in 2010, you cant assume the Hawks would skate into the Shark tank again and take the first two games, and Niemi has looked good of late, winning six of his last eight.
Phoenix?

Mike Smith had a 54-save shutout earlier this week, his third straight. So its safe to say hes trending up as the postseason nears.

Against the Coyotes this season, the Blackhawks have one win in four games.

Be careful what you wish for, Blackhawk fans. The bottom line is you should be rooting for your team to win every game.

You want the Blackhawks to reach the 100 point plateau, you want them to beat a rival and make the Red Wings head West for the first round.

It all makes sense, but if you really are cheering for them to lose tomorrow, turn in your Blackhawks fan card and your jersey because there are plenty of people who will be happy to take that from you and jump on board with the real fans.

Five Things to Watch: Blackhawks collide with Avalanche tonight on CSN

Five Things to Watch: Blackhawks collide with Avalanche tonight on CSN

Watch as the Blackhawks take on the Colorado Avalanche tonight on CSN and streaming live on CSNChicago.com. Coverage begins at 7:30 p.m. with Blackhawks Pregame Live. Then stick around after the final buzzer to watch Blackhawks Postgame Live for highlights and analysis.

Click here to watch the game or download the NBC Sports App, your home for live streaming coverage of the Blackhawks.

Five Things to Watch:

1. Keep it simple.

There is no team in the league that scores fewer goals per game (2.00) and allows more goals per game (3.32) than the Avalanche, who are 4-18-1 in their last 23 games, including 1-7-0 in their past eight. The Blackhawks need to keep it simple, get bodies in front of the net and take advantage on special teams against a team that ranks in the bottom-seven in both the power play and penalty kill.

2. Will Jonathan Toews' success against Colorado continue?

It's been a tough year for the Blackhawks captain, who has only seven goals and 21 points in 37 games, including three points in his last seven. Earlier this season he went 13 consecutive games without a goal, and snapped that on Dec. 23 against Colorado in a 2-1 overtime loss. He recorded a season-high seven shots on goal in that game, and has scored a goal in each of his last four contests against the Avalanche. They seem to be his slumpbuster, so perhaps he'll come through again.

3. Marian Hossa's impact.

In the first meeting of the season, Hossa scored two goals in a 4-0 win over Colorado. In the second, the Blackhawks were without him after he was sidelined with an upper-body injury, and fell 2-1 in overtime. The Blackhawks are nearly at full strength this time around, with Marcus Kruger the lone injured player who's recovering from an apparent hand injury.

4. Nathan MacKinnon.

After a solid showing at the World Cup of Hockey last fall, MacKinnon was considered a strong candidate to have a breakout season with a new head coach that preaches an up-tempo style of play, right up MacKinnon's ally. But he hasn't reached that level yet, with 28 points in 41 games. Not bad, but not great by his standards as the No. 1 overall pick in 2013. He scored the overtime winner and added an assist in last month's victory against Chicago at the United Center.

5. Short shifts.

This will be the third meeting of the year between the two teams, but the first one in Colorado. Due to the high altitude in the Mile-High City, expect Joel Quenneville to distribute the minutes more evenly throughout their four lines and intstruct the Blackhawks to be short with their shifts, no longer than 40 seconds.

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Blackhawks' rough weekend 'a little bit of a wake-up call'

Blackhawks' rough weekend 'a little bit of a wake-up call'

Patrick Kane was summing up the Blackhawks' weekend, one that didn't go well in terms of points.

"Good way to kind of judge ourselves, where we're at," he said Sunday night. "Might be a little bit of a wake-up call to see how good we really are."

Well, in a way, it is. You can't really compare Friday's loss to Washington and Sunday's loss to Minnesota on performance; the Blackhawks didn't show up for the first game and were much better in the second. Nevertheless, it was the same result in each. The Blackhawks' lengthy hold on first place in the Western Conference ended, with the Wild taking over following Sunday's 3-2 victory.

It's not a sound-the-alarm situation, but the Blackhawks are certainly cognizant of the missed opportunity last weekend and that they came up short against the league's best.

Artem Anisimov agreed with Kane's assessment.

"We just need to play better. All four lines need to play better in all areas of the ice. Just be better in the little things," Anisimov said. "Back check, put stick in the right position, box the guy out, short shifts. All little things need to be better."

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Many of the little things that were absent against the Capitals were back against the Wild. But coach Joel Quenneville wasn't happy with mistakes made on goals allowed, especially the first two. And while Kane and the second line were a consistent scoring threat against the Wild, the other three lines weren't. It's a problem that's plagued the Blackhawks a good deal this season, even when they were stringing together victories.

There is no reason to think that, because of this weekend's results, the Blackhawks are going to falter against strong teams. They've done well against others already this season. They beat Montreal earlier this season, when the Canadiens were healthy and steamrolling everyone. They beat the New York Rangers when the Rangers and former Blackhawks backup goaltender Antti Raanta were on their respective hot streaks.

Still, Kane's analysis is correct: This should get the Blackhawks' attention. The Wild have beaten the Blackhawks in eight consecutive regular-season games now and will face them three more times this season. They have two more meetings with the Edmonton Oilers, who beat them soundly in November.

The Blackhawks' long reign atop the Western Conference standings is over. They’re currently second in the Central Division, with an eight-point cushion over the St. Louis Blues. The Blackhawks have done fairly well this season. But this weekend was a reminder that they can be better.

"The game (on Friday) was kind of like a shock to the system thinking maybe you're one of the top teams in the league, or being able to compete with one of the top teams, and we obviously got thoroughly outplayed. We came back (Sunday night). It was pretty even in chances. We might've even had more so, just kind of didn't pull it out," Kane said. "But (when) you've played two of the better teams in the league and lose, there's got to be room for improvement, right?"