Good thing they don't have shootouts in the playoffs, huh? The Blackhawks really stink at them without captain Jonathan Toews in the lineup. For the second straight game, the Minnesota Wild beat the Hawks in a shootout, this time 2-1 Thursday night in St. Paul.
It's also a good thing for the Hawks their failure to take a second point out of this game mattered little in the Western Conference playoff race.
The Nashville Predators will finish ahead of the Blackhawks after their 2-0 win over the Dallas Stars Thursday night. They will have home-ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs if they win their final game against the Colorado Avalanche. They will face either the Hawks or the Detroit Red Wings to open the postseason.
Detroit lost 2-1 to New Jersey Thursday night, but it maintains the fifth spot in the West with 101 points. The Hawks sit sixth with 99 points, but they can move up to fifth if they beat Detroit in regulation on Saturday. The Wings will stay fifth if they either win the game, or lose to the Hawks in overtime or in a shootout. (Yeah, right, like the Hawks are going to win in a shootout. Ha, ha.)
If the Hawks and Detroit both finish with 101 points, Chicago wins the tiebreaker. The first tiebreaker is regulation and overtime wins. If the Hawks do win Saturday, both teams would have 39 such victories. So, it would go to the second tiebreaker, which is head-to-head competition. The Hawks are 3-0-2 against Detroit this year and have already clinched the season series.
For Blackhawk fans, the question is this: Do you want to win Saturday and play Nashville in the first round? Or would you rather lose, take the sixth seed and play whichever team survives the Pacific Division free for all?