The NHL regular season is coming to a close. Most teams have two games left before the playoffs start on April 16. For a few weeks now, the Chicago Blackhawks have held the third spot in the Central Division behind the St. Louis Blues and the Colorado Avalanche. For a while, the Blackhawks have expected their first round opponent to be the Avalanche. The Blues had been on top of the division looked seemingly unstoppable. That being said, fans, media, and even head coach Joel Quenneville have been preparing to play the Avs in the first round. The Blackhawks and the Avs had deemed catching the Blues a far-fetched notion, with the Hawks only goal being to gain home ice advantage by passing the Avs for second in the Central. Now the script has flipped. Last night, the Avalanche tied the Blues in overall points (111) and now sit in first place. The Blackhawks are still in third, but their opponent has changed. Either team would be a tough matchup in the first round.
The St. Louis Blues are on a four game losing skid. Their captain David Backes is out until the playoffs at least. Veteran Brenden Morrow and youngster T.J. Oshie are also day to day. With the Blues recent struggles, they have dropped to the second spot in the division, and if the playoffs started today, they would match up with the Hawks in the first round. The Blues have beat the Hawks 3 times this season. Two of those wins were shootout wins. The Blackhawks have won twice in the series in the two most recent games.
The Colorado Avalanche after taking first in the division, are looking good recently. They would be a scary matchup. Matt Duchene is out through the first round, but P.A. Parenteau just returned from his injury. At this point, it looks like they are going to keep the top spot with their run and the Blues skid.
Both match ups would be tough, but since the Blues are on this losing streak, with all the injuries, and the fact that they are now second in the division, they would be the easier first round matchup.