After Colorado’s win over Edmonton on Tuesday night, Chicago was officially eliminated from Stanley Cup playoff contention and will miss the postseason in back-to-back years for the first time since 2007-08. Prior to 2018, the Blackhawks won three Stanley Cup championships during their nine-year playoff run.
Chicago started this season 3-0-2 with veteran backup goaltender Cam Ward while No. 1 starter Corey Crawford worked his way back after a 10-month absence with a concussion. The Blackhawks then went 3-4-1 before head coach Joel Quenneville was fired Nov. 6 amid a five-game losing streak and Jeremy Colliton was promoted from the AHL as his replacement.
Colliton’s tenure didn’t start well.
The Blackhawks lost three straight before his first NHL coaching win Nov. 14 in a 1-0 home victory over the Blues at the United Center. Then the Blackhawks went 2-2-1 before trading center Nick Schmaltz to the Coyotes in exchange for center Dylan Strome and winger Brendan Perlini, in a deal involving three former first-round draft picks.
The additions didn’t result in wins right away as Chicago lost eight straight and 10 of 11. The 10th loss hurt even more with Crawford suffering his second concussion in less than a year Dec. 16 in Chicago.
With Ward and rookie Collin Delia, the Blackhawks went 5-1 to close out 2018. The Winter Classic ended in familiar fashion with a Chicago loss that started a 1-4-3 stretch before a seven-game win streak had people thinking the team could contend for a playoff spot.
Those hopes were brought back down to earth after a 6-3 loss Feb. 12 in Boston against a playoff-caliber Bruins team. The Blackhawks went back-and-forth with wins and losses before rattling off five straight from March 7-16 before its recent 2-5-1 stretch that saw them fall out of playoff contention.