Chicago Blackhawks: Win in Tampa puts team 6 points out
By Ryan Fedrau
For the first time since 2009, the Chicago Blackhawks have beaten the Tampa Bay Lightning on the road during the regular season.
With the Chicago Blackhawks losing 11 of their last 14 games coming into tonight, many fans expected another loss by the Blackhawks. I have been very vocal with my belief in this team. That belief showed in tonight’s 5-2 win against the Lightning.
The Lightning is in second place in their division. They’re just a few points away from clinching another Stanley Cup Playoffs appearance. With this win for the Blackhawks, it can give the team some confidence as they will stay in Florida for their game on Saturday.
With the Blackhawks facing another team in the playoff hunt, they’ll need to be on their A-game. The Panthers already beat the Blackhawks in Chicago this season. It’s time for the Blackhawks to return the favor.
I’m still not convinced but I have hope in the team. They’ll need to put a few games together before I’ll consider them a true contender for the eighth seed. They have 18 games left and they’re just six points behind.
Besides the Predators, the other two teams with 70 points have played more games than the Blackhawks. That gives them a few games to catch up on them. Even with the Predators starting to gain some ground, the Blackhawks will play them again this season.
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This will be the Blackhawks’ last chance to make a bid for the playoffs. They need to start winning games again. Their next 10 games are very important. I believe they’ll have to win seven or eight of them to remain in the hunt.
They play the Wild twice, which are must-win games. After that, they’ll have the Predators one last time. They’re done playing the Jets and Coyotes. So, they’ll need some help on that end with those teams losing.
Let’s not write the Blackhawks off just yet. Of their next four games, they have three very winnable games. The biggest challenge will be the Oilers. If they can catch the Oilers at the right time, they might steal a few games in a row.
If they win five or six straight, they’ll become a playoff hopeful again. It’ll be interesting to see if they get close again. I mean, they sold a couple of solid players. How would they fare in the playoffs?
Before the hate comments come in, I’m not saying they’ll make the playoffs. I’m just saying, it’s not time to write them off yet. We’ll know for sure after their next four games if they’ll be in the hunt or not.
UPDATE: 9:45 PM
With the Jets and the Predators both winning, the Blackhawks are back to being eight points out of the playoffs.