The Chicago Blackhawks are at the beginning of a ten-game stretch in their schedule where they will be taking on teams in the chase for the fourth and final spot in the Central Division playoff race (currently occupied by the Nashville Predators). Chicago went into the ten-game stretch tied with the Predators, but kicked things off by losing to the Predators in regulation. The result knocked them into fifth-place, two points behind Nashville and three points ahead of the Columbus Blue Jackets and Dallas Stars.
Of the nine games left in the stretch, Chicago will take on the Predators three times and will face the Blue Jackets, Stars, and Detroit Red Wings in a two-game set each. Of the final 17 games for the Blackhawks this season, they have 11 against teams in the playoff chase.
Central Division Standings:
1. Florida Panthers (26-9-4) – 56 points
2. Tampa Bay Lightning (26-10-2) – 54 points
3. Carolina Hurricanes (25-9-3) – 53 points
4. Nashville Predators (20-18-1) – 41 points
5. Chicago Blackhawks (17-17-5) – 39 points
6. Dallas Stars (13-13-10) – 36 points
7. Columbus Blue Jackets (14-18-8) – 36 points
8. Detroit Red Wings (13-22-5) – 31 points
Next up for the Blackhawks will be a two-game set against the Stars in Chicago, starting on Tuesday night. The Stars are coming into the United Center at 4-3-3 in their last ten games, with their last outing being a 1-0 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes.
In that loss, Stars head coach Rick Bowness was removed from the game between the second and third periods due to COVID Protocols. While it appears that Bowness and goaltender Anton Khudobin’s positive COVID tests were false and will not hinder the team’s travel plans.
Stars Pr confirms the team will fly tonight to Chicago. Rick Bowness will stay behind in Raleigh in COVID protocol awaiting future testing and results.
— Bruce LeVine (@BruceLeVinePuck) April 5, 2021
Following the two-game set against the Stars, the Blackhawks will face the Blue Jackets, who are also on a rough stretch in their last six games. Those games will be in Columbus on April 10th and 12th. The game on the 12th will be the first after the NHL trade deadline passes at 2:00 p.m. CT earlier that day.
— Brian Hedger (@BrianHedger) April 4, 2021
Chicago is dealing their own struggles, having lost 10 of their last 14 games, all in regulation. The biggest problem and possibly the biggest reason that the Blackhawks may miss the postseason is their play against the Nashville Predators this year. So far, Chicago is 0-3-2 against Nashville, having allowed the Predators to earn all 10 possible points in the process. Chicago has more points earned this season against the Tampa Bay Lightning (3) than they do against Nashville (2).
If the Blackhawks are trying to climb back into the fourth spot in the Division, they’ll need some help from their Central Division foes/friends, and take care of business against the teams they have done well against in 2021. Chicago holds winning records over the Red Wings (5-1-0), Blue Jackets (4-2-0), and Stars (3-1-0) this season.