Blackhawks eliminated from playoff contention after loss to Avalanche

CHICAGO, IL - MARCH 20: J.T. Compher #37 of the Colorado Avalanche and Brent Seabrook #7 of the Chicago Blackhawks battle for the puck in front of goalie Anton Forsberg #31 in the first period at the United Center on March 20, 2018 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Chase Agnello-Dean/NHLI via Getty Images)

CHICAGO – The idea of the unthinkable was already imbedded into the fan base’s mind long before Tuesday night rolled around.

‘Just get it over with’ might have been the thought of some fans who understood a few weeks back that this was going to happen. Others might not have wanted to accept it quite yet, though a substandard 2018 season probably had most ready for the worst.

Indeed on Tuesday night, in their ninth-to-last game of the season, the Blackhawks nearly decade-long playoff streak came to an end.

A 4-1 loss to the Avalanche at the United Center officially eliminated the team from playoff contention. For the first time since 2008 and the first time in the Joel Quenneville era of the team, there will be no postseason hockey on the West Side.

The defeat dropped their record to 30-35-9 with eight games to go.

It brings an end to a string of nine-consecutive playoff berths, the third longest in the history of the franchise. Included in that run were three Stanley Cup titles along with two other appearances in the Western Conference Finals. The streak of postseason appearances is the third longest in franchise history behind the team’s run of ten-straight from the 1958-1959 season through the 1967-1968 season.

The record remains 28-straight years from the 1969-1970 season through the 1996-1997 season, which is the second-longest in the history of the NHL.

Tuesday’s game was like many other this season – a bit of hope early but in the end not enough for victory. Brent Seabrook’s goal in the first gave the Blackhawks the early lead but Colorado took control with three second-period goals. The Avalanche, who are in a fight for the playoffs, would add a pair of goals late in the third period to bring the inevitable elimination to the Blackhawks.