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Scoreboard Watching: It’s Over. Go Home.

Chicago Blackhawks

It must have been love
But it’s over now
It must have been good
But I lost it somehow

Yeah, the Stanley Cup playoff chase is done for the Chicago Blackhawks.

With wins by the Nashville Predators and Dallas Stars last night, the Blackhawks fell seven points behind the final spot in the Central Division playoff chase and five points behind the Stars in fifth-place based on points. Chicago is as close to the Predators, who are pulling away from the Blackhawks, as they are to the Detroit Red Wings, who are closing the gap.

Central Division Standings:

x- 1. Carolina Hurricanes (31-10-7) – 69 points
2. Florida Panthers (31-14-5) – 67 points
3. Tampa Bay Lightning (32-14-2) – 66 points
4. Nashville Predators (27-21-2) – 56 points
5. Dallas Stars (21-15-12) – 54 points
6. Chicago Blackhawks (22-21-5) – 49 points
7. Detroit Red Wings (17-25-8) – 42 points
8. Columbus Blue Jackets (15-25-10) – 40 points

The Carolina Hurricanes clinched the first playoff Central Division spot last night, and it’s likely that the Florida Panthers and Tampa Bay Lighting will follow suit in the next few days.

Chicago takes on the Lightning on Tuesday night to close their season series. The Blackhawks have eight games remaining this season and all eight are against teams ahead of them in the standings, having finished their season series’ against Detroit and Columbus. Five of the final eight games this season are at the United Center.

I think it’s time the Blackhawks play as many young players and rookies as possible in the final eight games, and it’s time to start looking deeper at the 2021 NHL Draft class, where the Blackhawks will have three picks in the first two rounds. At least that’s exciting.

Author: Mario Tirabassi

Mario Tirabassi is a writer for Bleacher Nation. You can follow him on Twitter @Mario_Tirabassi.