OK, now it's a must win for the Hawks

Last night's overtime loss in Montreal will be memorable for a lot of reasons.  It will be memorable for Corey Crawford, who returned home and stood on his head in front of his family and friends.  It will be memorable for PK Subban, who's overtime winner clinched a playoff spot for the Habs, and it will be memorable for Jonathan Toews, who's overtime penalty put the Canadiens on the eventual winning powerplay (more on that later).  Most of all, it may be memorable for the Blackhawks, because it could be the one point that got away...the one that costs them a playoff spot. 



Jonathan Toews and PK Subban battle for the puck in Montreal

When every point matters, every play counts.  Jonathan Toews took a penalty.  Yes, it was a penalty.  SOME (read SOME) of the flag waving members of the media will swear otherwise, but it was a penalty.  The 4 on 3 powerplay seems almost impossible to kill, and it was last night.  Toews was trying to make a play, and the stick went in the wrong place. 

There is a silver lining to last night's loss.  If the Hawks play the way they did last night, they'll be in the playoffs.  They played desperate, they played hard, and came up short because of a penalty of effort.  If not for Carey Price, who absolutely stole the 2nd point from the Blackhawks, Hawk fans would be breathing easier. 

Tonight's win in St. Louis is the biggest game since last season's Cup Final Game Six.  The Dallas Stars, who beat Columbus last night 3-0, have 91 points with 3 games remaining.  The highest point total they can finish with is 97.  As of right now, the Hawks hold the tie breaker (non-shootout wins) over the Stars.  Assuming it stays that way, the Hawks, who have 93 points, need to take 4 of the available 6 points to get in the playoffs.  That will be easier said than done.  The Blues always play the Hawks tough, and if they DO get past the Blues, the Hawks two remaining game are against the Red Wings.  A couple weeks ago, I said I wanted the Hawks / Wings rivalry to return.  No better way than two huge games to end the season. 

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