By virtue of their 5-1 loss at the hands of the Colorado Avalanche on Tuesday night, the Chicago Blackhawks have officially been eliminated from the Stanley Cup playoff hunt.
The Blackhawks, who last missed the playoffs in 2008, stumbled badly out of the All-Star break, losing nine of their first 11 games and putting themselves too far out of the hunt to mount a serious late-season run.
More recently, the team has lost six of its last seven games, including a 5-3 loss to the lowly Buffalo Sabres over the weekend. Those losses, coupled with the solid play of teams like the Winnipeg Jets and Nashville Predators, helped to ensure that the team won’t be able to reach the postseason for the first time in a decade.
As the losses pile up, the Blackhawks have eight games remaining in the season, and they will be able to play the role of spoiler. Their final six games are all against teams with playoff aspirations, including the St. Louis Blues and the Jets, both of whom the Blackhawks play twice.