With just 11 games left in the regular season, the Chicago Blackhawks find themselves with an incredible opportunity this week, as they will take on the Nashville Predators in a series of three games against one of their biggest rivals for a Central Division playoff spot.
The Blackhawks currently trail the Predators by just two points for that final spot, and they also have a game in-hand on their rivals.
Here is an update on the Central Division playoff picture heading into the season’s home stretch.
While the top three teams in the division are locked in a tight battle for the top spot, the battle for the fourth spot involves three teams, including the Blackhawks.
Here’s where things stand heading into Monday’s action:
4 Nashville 49 points
5 Chicago 47 points
6 Dallas 46 points
The Blackhawks have a game in-hand on the Predators, with Nashville only having 10 games left in their season. The Stars have three games in-hand on Nashville, with 13 games remaining.
The Blackhawks are set to take on Nashville in the first of three straight games on Monday, heading down to Bridgestone Arena for the final time this season.
After Monday’s game, the Blackhawks and Predators will then head to Chicago, with two more games set for Wednesday and Friday nights.
The Blackhawks do have two more games against the Stars on May 9 and 10 to wrap up the regular season.
As for Dallas, they will start a four-game series of contests against the Detroit Red Wings on Monday. They have one game remaining against the Predators, set for May 1, and then the aforementioned final two games against the Blackhawks.
The Blackhawks have been less than thrilled to encounter the Predators so far this season, losing all five games against Nashville and getting just two out of a possible 10 points.
If the Blackhawks can manage to win two out of three games, they would potentially be in a tie with Nashville coming out of the series, and would still have the game in-hand after the conclusion of the series Friday.
Anything less than that would put the Blackhawks in a bit of a bind, as they still have a total of six games left against Tampa Bay, Florida and Carolina, the top three teams in the Central Division.
Heading into that stretch needing to make up points would be a tall task for the Blackhawks, who have been trying to find more consistent form in recent weeks.