For those wondering, here is the final "what if" postseason situation for the Hawks heading into their regular season finale on Sunday.
Let it be known first that the Hawks could technically finish anywhere between 5th and 9th place. That is remarkable with only one game to go. Missing the playoffs with 97 points would be eerily reminiscent of the 2006 White Sox failing to reach the postseason despite a solid post-championship year.
While the Hawks could still overtake several Western Conference teams if a few things go their way, they have nothing wrapped up yet. Seven teams, by virtue of tiebreakers, do. There is one spot remaining in the dance, and the Hawks and Stars are fighting for the ticket.
For the Hawks to get in, any ONE of the following needs to happen:
-The Blackhawks defeat the Red Wings on Sunday
-The Blackhawks lose to the Red Wings in overtime or a shootout
-The Stars lose to the Wild on Sunday; regulation or OT is irrelevant
-The Stars beat the Wild in a SHOOTOUT.
If you're asking how the hell the Stars winning a shootout would punch the Hawks' ticket, then you need to improve your hockey nerdosity and look at some tiebreak scenarios:
The first tiebreak this season, for the first time ever, is "Wins in regulation or overtime." The Hawks have one more of those than Dallas at the moment, so if Dallas draws even with the Hawks in points but doesn't get that win in regulation or overtime, Chicago remains in control of the tiebreak and makes the playoffs. It would be humorous if the Stars were put in the awkward situation of needing to pull their goalie with 1:30 remaining in overtime, but that's what it could come to.
The second tiebreak is head-to-head points, which Dallas has over Chicago. If it comes to that, the Hawks are toast.
Mathematically, the Hawks' playoff chances stand at 85%. If you're looking to scoreboard-watch this weekend for seeding purposes, root for the Blues (yuck) over the Predators tonight, the Sharks over the Coyotes tonight, and for a bomb to drop at center ice of the Ducks-Kings game.
We should know plenty more about seeding scenarios by the end of the night, so check back in the morning for updated information.
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