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The Chicago Blackhawks and Striking Distance

By Chris Schubert
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Mar 2, 2015; Chicago, IL, USA; The Chicago Blackhawks celebrate their victory following the third period against the Carolina Hurricanes at the United Center. Chicago won 5-2. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

The Chicago Blackhawks haven’t played their best brand of hockey over the course of the last couple of months. It seems as thought that sentiment is expressed at this time every year. There is always one stretch of hockey where this team struggles, and it usually happens when the calender changes years.

But, since we know that this struggle always happens, we know that at some point the team normally snaps out of it and starts getting back to their winning ways. Adding pieces at the trade deadline is certainly one way to jump start that, and Stan Bowman delivered with Antoine Vermette at center and Kimmo Timonen on the blue line.

These two players are supposed to come in and fill some roles that have be slacking this season and to allow Coach Q to have more options when it comes to the playoffs. Although, I would argue that he’s always had options and just hasn’t used them properly.

Look at the where the Blackhawks are in the standings this morning. Still in 3rd, they have made up a ton of ground on both Nashville and St. Louis. They have pulled within 4 of St Louis in 2nd and within 8 of Nashville in 1st.

If the Hawks are able to pull off a win tonight against Edmonton, and let’s face it they should win tonight, they can pull within two points of 2nd and six points of 1st. That seems kind of weird for a team that supposedly is struggling and looks to have conceded the regular season.

Despite all of that, this Hawks team is within striking distance of 2nd place, and most importantly within striking distance of home ice in the 1st round of the playoffs.  Now this Hawks team has its share of issues.

Most notably is the absence of Patrick Kane. Without him, this team is a little different. It makes the task at hand of catching the two teams in front of them that much harder.

Nashville is struggling as of late. The Blackhawks have been able to handle St. Louis in the limited sample we’ve seen.

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The Hawks have a golden opportunity to make up some ground, and take what some were calling a rough season and make a run at 1st place in the division.

By no means is it an easy task, but it starts tonight in Edmonton. Lose here, and the road against gets more challenging. Especially with 11 of their last 18 games coming against those in the playoffs, or within five points of a playoff spot. Two points tonight start the rough road ahead.

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