Blackhawks clinch spot in 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs

Chicago will play in the postseason for the ninth consecutive season.

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.