Blackhawks: The Events Leading to a 2011 Playoff Berth

Marian Hossa, Chicago Blackhawks (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Marian Hossa, Chicago Blackhawks (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /

On April 10th, 2011, the Chicago Blackhawks lost 4-3 in a must-win game to the Detroit Red Wings. Even after losing this game, they snuck into the playoffs.

Sometimes, all it takes is a lucky break to get into the Stanley Cup Playoffs. That’s how the Chicago Blackhawks found themselves in the 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs. After winning the Stanley Cup in 2010, Chicago lost a lot of key players due to Salary Cap restrictions.

Going into April 10th, 2011, the Blackhawks were in a ‘win and you’re in’ the playoffs situation. After getting up 1-0 early by a Michael Frolik goal, Chicago was down 3-1. They wouldn’t catch back up, losing 4-3 in regulation.

After losing against the Red Wings, it seemed like the season was over for Chicago. Losing a must-win game on home ice should have put an end to this struggling season. Luckily for Chicago, the Wild beat the Stars 5-3. The Stars had the tiebreaker over Chicago, so that loss gave the Blackhawks a playoff berth.

Going into the playoffs, the Blackhawks had no right to be there, or so it seemed. They fell 3-0 in the series against the Canucks. The team started slow and couldn’t seem to get anything going. After losing Game 3, the Blackhawks turned the whole series around, winning the next three games.

In Game 7 overtime, the Blackhawks would lose 2-1. The fairytale playoff berth wasn’t enough to come back down 3-0 in a series. The weird thing is, it didn’t have to be that way.

If Chicago would have won that game, they wouldn’t have had to worry about facing the Canucks in the first round. They would have faced off against the Sharks, a team they swept in the Western Conference Finals a year prior.

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There’s no telling what would have happened, but it’s interesting to think about.