The Blackhawks did their part to show everyone they’re serious about defending their Stanley Cup title, scoring three goals in the first nine minutes of the game and holding on for a 4-2 win over their Central Division rival Detroit Red Wings, in a game that meant little to the Wings because they clinched the division title earlier this week.
The Dallas Stars, the only team that can still take the eighth and final Western Conference playoff spot from the Blackhawks, defeated the Colorado Avalanche 3-2 Friday night, and are still alive going into this Sunday’s final regular season games.
The Blackhawks’ path is simple: they need only one point Sunday to clinch the spot. If they get the game to overtime, they’re in. If they win Sunday, they’re in. The only way the Stars get in is by winning Sunday while the Blackhawks lose.
So the Hawks control their destiny. The game Sunday has been moved to an 11:30 a.m. CDT start on NBC.