Another season and another Stanley Cup Playoffs berth clinched for the Chicago Blackhawks. On the heels of a thrilling 6-3 win over the Colorado Avalanche, the team booked its ticket to the 2017 postseason Sunday night.
The Blackhawks needed a win over the Avalanche and a Kings loss to the Flames on Sunday to clinch, and that’s what happened. After the Hawks rallied from a 3-1 deficit in the third period against Colorado for their fifth straight win, Los Angeles lost 5-2 to Calgary in a matchup of Pacific Division playoff hopefuls.
Chicago secures its postseason spot in just its 72nd game this season. It’s the earliest the Hawks have earned a playoff spot in their nine-year run in full 82-game seasons.
The Hawks have won three Stanley Cups since 2010, and have reached the Western Conference Final in five of the last eight seasons, including three straight from 2013-15. Chicago lost in the first round of the playoffs in 2011, 2012, and 2016.
With the Hawks’ win and Minnesota’s 5-4 loss at Winnipeg, Chicago holds a seven-point lead for the top spot in the Central Division. The team is also the first Western Conference team to secure a postseason spot. The Washington Capitals clinched a spot Saturday and the Columbus Blue Jackets defeated New Jersey on Sunday for its first trip to the postseason since 2014.