Analysis

Chicago Blackhawks’ Playoff Window May Be Shut For 2017-18

By Randy Holndoner
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The Chicago Blackhawks are having a horrible year by recent standards, yet find themselves just four points out of a playoff spot.  Could they make it into the playoffs?  Of course.  Are chances slim?  Yes.  Did they blow a golden opportunity to seize points?  Definitely.

The Chicago Blackhawks played eight of 11 games at home this month.  In those home games they went 2-6.  In the last six games at home, they scored more than two goals once.  They were also shut out twice.  In the middle of those six games, they had a bye week.

If there was a time to beat up on opponents and kick themselves up into the standings, it was over the month of January.  Their home record is just 12-10-3.  That ship has now sailed, and they now have a bigger hill to climb.

They have not played a full 60-minute game but of a handful of times this season.  The latest was Thursday’s 5-1 win over the Red Wings.  Is this a sign of good things to come?  It would be nice.

Has coach Joel Quenneville finally found some scoring lines that are clicking?  After changing lines a good 30-plus times this year, lets hope so.  If these lines stay intact and play well, their biggest concern then becomes the chance for injury.

Their defense has been an issue all year and still is.  With Corey Crawford still out, the defense needs to play better in front of Anton Forsberg and Jeff Glass.

So you’re sayin’ there’s a chance

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Of the 33 games remaining in the season, 25 of them are against Western Conference opponents.  The Blackhawks are far from being considered out of a playoff spot.  Being only four points out, there is plenty of opportunity to get back in the race.

The problem with this is that they are 5-7-2 against the Central Division, and 10-11-3 against the Western Conference.  They need to find a way to beat these teams.  They may be just four points out of a playoff spot, but they are chasing four teams in front of them.

There is enough talent on this team to get itself back in this race.  This task becomes a lot harder when you do not have the services of Corey Crawford between the pipes to win these games.

They always say that it is a marathon and not a sprint.  Well, the Blackhawks are in a position now that they will have to start sprinting till the end to get back into the postseason.

They have played just four games in the last two weeks, so fatigue is not an excuse.  They need to be prepared.  They need to communicate.  They need to play the way they know how.

Next: Blackhawks' Fans Interest Level A Roller Coaster

The season is far from over, but the Blackhawks let a golden opportunity slip by.  The window is still open, but they are going to have to grease themselves a bit to slide through.

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