With their 5-2 victory over the Colorado Avalanche, a win that set a franchise record for road wins (23), the Hawks moved into first place in the conference, and a tie in points with the San Jose Sharks.
Both teams have 111 points, and have played 81 (of 82) games. Couldn’t both teams finish with 113 points, you ask? The answer is yes.
I’m not going to break down the NHL tie breaking scenario. I don’t have to. All you need to know is that the Hawks hold ALL TIE BREAKERS over the San Jose Sharks.
The Hawks will clinch the number one seed for the playoffs if the Sharks lose to Phoenix in regulation Saturday night. If the Sharks win or take a point, the Hawks will have to beat Detroit Sunday at the United Center.
The Hawks control their own fate in this scenario. Obviously, the number one seed, and home ice throughout the Western Conference Playoffs (the Washington Capitals would have home ice in a Stanley Cup Final series) would be helpful, especially as it would guarantee the Hawks don’t have to face the Red Wings in the first round of the playoffs.
A San Jose loss tomorrow would be ideal. With the number one seed locked up, the Hawks could rest a couple of guys Sunday, and maybe even give Cristobal Huet a start before the playoffs begin.