I said before that the Blackhawks have the makings of the 2015-16 Penguins before the season began with a mix of promising young talent and proven veterans. They are maybe a year away from making a splash in the playoffs (reaching the conference finals), but the win over Carolina showed that they could potentially take advantage of their situation and finish fourth in their division to qualify for their first real playoff-series since 2018.
The ‘Hawks are a very different team since their games against the Lightning and Panthers. They are an improved team since their games against the Predators. If this continues to go well and get increasingly better as it has been, it is very possible that this team could make a run and finish with the Lightning, Hurricanes, and Stars as the four teams qualifying for the playoffs.
To do this, however, they need to play a full 60-minute effort to pull this off. They took their foot off the gas too many times, leading to a change in momentum. In the second period vs the Hurricanes, they took their foot off the gas and the Hurricanes scored two goals before the Blackhawks began to play again. There is always a five-ten minute lull in their work ethic, and teams always take advantage of it.
I would also like to remind you that Kirby Dach is slated to return before the season is over if everything goes well. His IR is scheduled to be for 4-5 months back in December. He COULD be back in the line-up on April 27, with six games remaining if their schedule goes as it’s supposed to.
With 12 points up for grabs in a close division at the time of Dach’s return, and the team playing at a higher level than it is now, this ‘Hawks team could surprise everyone. Dach could be the equivalent of adding a quality player at the trade deadline to make a final push to the playoffs if his play is at the same level as it was in the postseason of 2020.
This team could very well surprise everyone, myself included, and make the playoffs this season. If not this season, then next season for sure.