Blackhawks News

Chicago Blackhawks: Best and Worst Case Playoff Scenarios

By Tim Lively
Mar 11, 2016; Dallas, TX, USA; Chicago Blackhawks center Jonathan Toews (19) and head coach Joel Quenneville watch their team take on the Dallas Stars during the third period at American Airlines Center. The Stars defeat the Blackhawks 5-2. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 11, 2016; Dallas, TX, USA; Chicago Blackhawks center Jonathan Toews (19) and head coach Joel Quenneville watch their team take on the Dallas Stars during the third period at American Airlines Center. The Stars defeat the Blackhawks 5-2. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports /
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Second Round

Worst Case Scenario: Minnesota Wild

So assuming that the status quo of the NHL standing carries into the postseason, should the ’Hawks get past St. Louis, they would play the winner of the Stars-Wild series, and while fans are often blindly attracted to the prospect of having home-ice advantage, the best- and worst-case scenarios in the potential second round of the playoffs for the Blackhawks are somewhat counterintuitive.

While playing Minnesota gives the ’Hawks home ice, getting knocked out of the postseason by the ’Hawks the past three years has given the Wild a larger desire than any team in the NHL to push past Chicago in the playoffs. Add to this Duncan Keith’s major match penalty against Charlie Coyle, the regular-season sweep of the Blackhawks by the Wild this year and the new coaching of John Torchetti. All this makes the Minnesota the most dangerous team the ’Hawks could potentially come across in the postseason.

Furthermore, the Wild have been quietly earning their playoff chops year by year, and the second round is where they will be looking to fully capitalize on their experience and make up for the pain of so many previous first- and second-round exits in the past. Needless to say, should they get past Dallas, they’ll be a handful for any team they encounter in the second round, but outright hell-bent against the Blackhawks.

Best Case Scenario: Dallas Stars

The Stars are wrapping up a historic regular season, and their postseason expectations are deservedly high. While Dallas will likely go all out to prove itself in the first round, should the Stars advance, their mindset will be altered, potentially to their detriment.

Keep in mind, the Stars’ playoff appearance record over the past few years has been spotty at best. Also keep in mind that playoff experience is something that goes a long way, especially in the later rounds. It takes a lot of postseason exposure for players to obtain the mental discipline needed to keep their minds focused on present games, and not what can potentially lie down the road. This is the largest advantage the Hawks would have over the Stars should they meet in the second round, and if they properly exploit it, they’ll be able to bring down this green juggernaut.

Next: Western Conference Finals Matchups

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