Another new role for the Blackhawks in 2018: Spoilers
CHICAGO – Back around the New Year, this was supposed to be a night in which the Blackhawks would get a chance to decide their playoff fate.
From early in the season through January, the Avalanche and the Blues were right there with Joel Quenneville’s team in fighting for one of the two Wild Card spots in the Western Conference.
But two months and a lot of Blackhawks losses later, it’s only Colorado and St. Louis that enter March with something to play for. Right now the Avalanche are one point out of the last Wild Card spot with the Blues just a point behind them in a race that figures to come down to the end.
As for the Blackhawks? Need we remind you.
With just seven wins since January 10th, the team currently sits 13 points behind the last Wild Card spot as they’re likely headed towards their first playoff-less Spring in ten years. Most fans have come to grips with this reality, and now they get to watch their group play a very different role this spring: Spoilers.
They’ll get the chance starting Tuesday night at the United Center when they face the Avalanche at 7:30 PM. It won’t be the first time the Blackhawks can knock Colorado off their playoff quest since the teams play twice more before the regular season ends: March 20th in Chicago and March 30th in Denver.
St. Louis will also have to face this group of spoilers three times too – the first coming in Chicago on Sunday, March 18th in a nationally televised game. April 4th and 6th will feature a home-and-home with the teams, one in which the Blackhawks could very well knock the Blues out of playoff contention.
Two teams from the Eastern Conference – the Hurricanes and the Islanders – will also face the potential spoilers in the final month of the season. In fact Carolina – who sit two points out of the playoffs – comes to town for the first and only time on Thursday as Scott Darling is expecting to make his return to Chicago. The Hawks travel to Brooklyn on March 24th, facing an Islanders team that currently four points out of the last Wild Card spot.
Meanwhile the Blackhawks start looking towards an official elimination from the playoffs with 16 games to go. At the very least, they can make it so a few of their rivals are taking a seat with them this Spring.