Boden: Updated Blackhawk playoff scenarios

Boden: Updated Blackhawk playoff scenarios

Sunday, April 10, 2011
Posted: 12:20 a.m.

By Chris Boden
CSNChicago.com

With Saturday night's results, here's how the Blackhawks' playoff picture looks, depending on what happens on the final day of the regular season Sunday:

A regulation loss to Detroit, coupled with a Dallas regulation or overtime win in Minnesota, results in the Blackhawks being eliminated from the top eight in the West.

The only way the Blackhawks advance if they lose in regulation to Detroit is if Dallas gains only one point (with an overtime or shootout loss in Minnesota), or a shootout win, which gives the Hawks the tie-breaker, by virtue of one more regulationovertime win (38 to 37). Staying in the 8 spot means the Hawks would open versus Vancouver.

If the Blackhawks gain only one point with an overtime or shootout loss, they still clinch on points over Dallas, and would be the 7th seed - tied with Los Angeles with 98 points, but holding a regulation-overtime-win tie-breaker over the Kings. That means they would face San Jose in the first round. The Sharks clinched the second-seed with their win over Phoenix Saturday night.

By the end of Saturday night's action, Phoenix and Nashville remained at 99 points, with 38 regulationovertime victories apiece. Any Blackhawks win Sunday makes them a 5th-seed, facing 4th-seeded Anaheim. It gives them 99 points. If it's in regulation or overtime, they'll have 39. But they own tie-breakers against both, even if they beat the Red Wings in a shootout. They collected eight points to the Predators' six in head-to-head action this season. And while both the Hawks and Coyotes each earned five points against each other in that season series, the Hawks own the next tie-breaker, overall goal-differential.

Those are the scenarios resulting in the defending champs either being eliminated, or facing the Canucks, Sharks or Ducks.

Chris Boden is the host of Blackhawks Pre and Postgame Live on Comcast SportsNet.

Jonathan Toews sets up game-winner as Team Canada wins World Cup

Jonathan Toews sets up game-winner as Team Canada wins World Cup

Jonathan Toews set up the game-winning goal to Brad Marchand as Team Canada rallied back to beat Europe, 2-1, to complete the two-game sweep in the final at the World Cup of Hockey.

After Patrice Bergeron tied the game with a tip-in on the power play late in the third period, Drew Doughty was sent to the box for tripping, giving Europe a power play for a chance to respond.

But midway through the man advantage, the Blackhawks captain retrieved the puck and carried it into Europe territory before dropping it off to Marchand, who snapped home the shorthanded game-winner with 43 seconds remaining in regulation.

It was the second goal in a span of 2:09, helping Canada capture their second straight World Cup title (2004).

Sidney Crosby was named MVP of the tournament after scoring four goals and seven assists in six games. 

Toews was fourth among all players in the tournament with five points (three goals and two assists).

Erik Gustafsson knows landing roster spot with Blackhawks won’t be easy

Erik Gustafsson knows landing roster spot with Blackhawks won’t be easy

Erik Gustafsson looked around the Blackhawks’ room at where fellow defensemen stalls would probably be as the season approached.

“You have Brian (Campbell) back, (Michal) Kempny here, obviously and all the other guys,” Gustafsson said. “It’s going to be tough, but I like it.”

The Blackhawks’ biggest Achilles heel last season was defense, especially after Trevor Daley was traded to the Pittsburgh Penguins. That opened the door for young players, including Gustafsson, to get bigger opportunities. This year the defense should be stronger with Campbell’s return. So for guys like Gustafsson, cracking this lineup just got that much tougher.

During the summer, assistant coach Mike Kitchen talked potential pairings as Duncan Keith-Niklas Hjalmarsson, Campbell-Brent Seabrook, Kempny-Trevor van Riemsdyk. As of now, the team is expecting Keith to be ready for the season opener. Keith has been participating in a practice a day but whether or not he plays in any preseason games is uncertain right now.

If it starts out that way, Gustafsson would be on the outside looking in.

But first things first: Gustafsson is focused on building off experience gained last season — he played 41 games, recording 14 assists — and cleaning up a few errors committed in training camp practices.

“You know all the guys on the team, you know how they want to play over here and in the NHL. Just go out and show them. I didn’t do that [Saturday] but this was the first game,” Gustafsson said. “I felt good with the puck but I have to play more defense in my own zone. Just a couple of small things I have to be better.”

[SHOP: Gear up, Blackhawks fans!]

Nothing comes easy when you’re trying to make an NHL roster but it got that much tougher for a young defenseman with the Blackhawks this season. Hey, that’s the way it is, and players know it.

“Of course it’ll be tougher,” Gustafsson said. “It won’t be easy to take a spot. You just have to go out there, do your best and see what happens.”

BRIEFLY

- Patrick Kane could play in the Blackhawks’ game against St. Louis on Saturday. Assistant coach Kevin Dineen said, “don’t be surprised to see 88 politicking to get in the lineup. Pretty good chance we’ll see him on Saturday."

- The Blackhawks were off on Thursday. Artemi Panarin, Artem Anisimov, Marcus Kruger and Hjalmarsson were expected to join the team at Friday’s practice

- Alexandre Fortin, who signed a three-year contract on Sunday, played 12 1/2 minutes in Wednesday’s loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins. That included about two minutes of power-play time. Dineen wouldn’t mind seeing Fortin in another game. “He showed himself well all camp and I think [Wednesday] we saw some good spurts out there, and we’ll find that consistency in a young player as we move forward.”