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Playoff Watch: 'Hawks can only wait, watch Dallas

Posted on: April 10, 2011 12:59 am
Edited on: April 10, 2011 3:46 pm

WHO CAN CLINCH: The Chicago Blackhawks left the Dallas Stars plenty of room to seize the final playoff spot in the Western Conference.

The ‘Hawks trailed throughout their nationally televised finale against the Detroit Red Wings, a team that had clinched a playoff spot several days ago but looked to avoid a skid heading into the postseason. Chicago pulled within a goal midway through the third period on a Duncan Keith tally, but was unable to take advantage of two Red Wings penalties over the closing five minutes as Detroit seized a 4-3 victory at the United Center on Sunday. 

Now, it will be up to the Dallas Stars. A victory tonight over the Minnesota Wild in regulation or overtime will allow the Stars to clinch league’s final playoff spot. Afterward, they can thank Columbus Blue Jackets GM Scott Howson, who pushed for the tiebreaker rule change last offseason. Had the first tiebreaker remained all wins -- including in the shootout -- the Blackhawks would have already clinched a berth. 

The Stars, with any sort of victory that doesn’t come via a shootout, would match the Blackhawks regulation and overtime wins (38) -- the new tiebreaker -- and the Stars would get the nod in the second, a better head-to-head record. 

That would also mean the Chicago Blackhawks the first teams since the 2006-07 Carolina Hurricanes to miss the playoffs a season after winning the Stanley Cup. 

ALREADY IN:  Vancouver, Montreal, Nashville, Los Angeles, Phoenix, Anaheim, Buffalo, Pittsburgh, Boston, Philadelphia, San Jose, Tampa Bay, Detroit, New York Rangers and Washington.      

GAME OF THE NIGHT: Dallas Stars (42-28-11) at Minnesota Wild (38-35-8), 6 p.m. ET, NHL Network

The Dallas Stars have won all three meetings and the only close game was a 4-3 decision on Dec. 4. The Stars got the help they needed from Detroit, so now the Pacific Division has a chance to become the first to get all of its teams into the playoffs.

"We definitely want to finish out strong no matter what, but I would be lying if I said the Chicago game won't have a bearing on our game,'' said Stars forward Jamie Langenbrunner told Mike Heika of The Dallas Morning News. ``Honestly, it means everything. We want to be playing for the playoffs.'' 

Another thing that will be interesting to watch is if the game reaches overtime. As mentioned above, a shootout win does the Stars no good. So, could we see Dallas goalie Kari Lehtonen pulled for an extra attacker at some point in OT? 

GOLF WATCH: Either Chicago or Dallas will be heading to the course. (See above). Calgary, Carolina, Toronto, Atlanta, St. Louis, New Jersey, Minnesota, Ottawa, Florida, New York Islanders, Columbus, Colorado and Edmonton are already mathematically eliminated.   

-- A.J. Perez 

Photo: Getty Images
Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: December 16, 2011 6:51 pm
This comment has been removed.

Post Deleted by Administrator

Since: May 28, 2007
Posted on: April 10, 2011 8:48 pm

Playoff Watch: 'Hawks can only wait, watch Dallas

didn't have to beat detroit last year!swept the team that beat them golf,gonna beat canucks again,go hawks!!!!

Since: Jan 8, 2008
Posted on: April 10, 2011 5:23 pm

Playoff Watch: 'Hawks can only wait, watch Dallas

Congrats on the cup last year Chicago, remember, you never beat Detroit for it....

Enjoy golfing this summer....

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