Feb 15, 2015; Chicago, IL, USA; The Chicago Blackhawks players celebrate after defeating the Pittsburgh Penguins 2-1 in a shoot out at the United Center. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports
The Chicago Blackhawks are currently in third place in the Central Division sitting behind division leading Nashville and the hated St. Louis Blues.
The Predators have been on a roll and only a total collapse which doesn’t look very likely will knock them out of the top spot in the Central Division.
The real talk has been catching the Blues and getting into second place in the Central and taking home ice advantage in the first round matchup. The pre-game Pat Foley and Eddie telecast talks have been centered around picking up those all important two points while at home for the stretch run to catch the Blues.
The Hawks are 4 points behind the Blues while the Blues have a game at hand at the moment. The question is how hard should the Hawks be pushing to get to that spot. A wise guy would say they aren’t pushing that hard since they only play about 20 minutes a night since they arrived home for their current homestand which still has netted 6 out of 8 points and a 2-0-2 record with 4 games left on the homestand.
Is home ice that important in the playoffs? For the Hawks during the Jonathan Toews/ Patrick Kane era it really has with the Hawks only losing one series during their tenure with home ice advantage and that was the last series played against the Kings that went to overtime in the 7th game with only a bad bounce off Nick Leddy being the difference.
Starting on the road has been a mixed bag to losing bag with the Hawks losing to the Red Wings, Canucks, and Coyotes before finally breaking the streak against the Blues last spring. So if you look at recent history it sure is important for the Hawks to get above the Blues in the standings if you throw out last year’s thrilling series and comeback down 2-0 to the Blues.
The reason for the question is well one it’s the Blues and they seem to be forever snake bitten in the playoffs and to the Blackhawks for whatever reason seem to have their number when the games mean the most not just now but through most of their teams history, and the fact that the Blackhawks of course won last season in St. Louis without the home ice advantage, but do you really want do that 2 years in a row?
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The Blues are pushing hard for first place to get out of that matchup with Chicago but it sure looks like they are trending towards a head on collision in the middle of April which would be great fun to watch but as always nerve racking.
Are you worried about the Blues or do you have supreme confidence no matter where or when the Blackhawks play in the spring they can win out? Is home ice that big of deal for this team? I think home ice would be great but not pushing so hard that there is nothing left in the tank come April.
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