Apr 7, 2013, 9:46 PM EDT
Granted, there wasn’t much doubt after the Chicago Blackhawks got off to a 21-0-3 start this season, but now we know for sure: The Blackhawks will participate in the 2013 NHL Playoffs.
They became the first team in the NHL to earn that distinction on Sunday when they secured a 5-3 win against the Nashville Predators.
For a brief time though, it looked like the Blackhawks would have to wait at least a little longer to clinch.
Predators forward David Legwand netted his 11th goal of the season at 6:54 of the third period to give his team a 3-2 lead. However, the Blackhawks were only down for 2:43 minutes before 20-year-old rookie Brandon Saad found the back of the net for Chicago.
Then, appropriately, Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews buried the game winner 55 seconds later.
Chicago is now 29-5-4 this season and don’t have much left to play for. They’ve all but won the first seed in the Western Conference, so the biggest question left is if they’ll get the Presidents’ Trophy.
All the same, the Blackhawks will want to avoid becoming complacent. They still have 10 games and about three weeks left before their season is over and they won’t want to lose any momentum in that time.
Update: The New Jersey Devils lost to the Buffalo Sabres on Sunday, which means the idle Pittsburgh Penguins are the second team to secure their playoff spot.
- ‘Could’ve broken his neck,’ says Vigneault of Byfuglien cross check on Miller 7
- Video: Byfuglien gets away with ugly cross check, penalized late in Jets loss to Rangers 22
- Video: Lucic scores late winner, Bruins deal crushing blow to Panthers playoff hopes 7
- Video: Ovi becomes sixth player in history to record six 50-goal seasons 13
- ‘Almost like a game seven tonight’ for Bruins, Panthers 15
- Report: Warrant issued for Deveaux’s arrest following Swedish league attack 47
- How bad are things for the Kings after Monday? 21
- Lightning clinch playoff berth, but did they lose Hedman? 9
- Blackhawks tease good injury news for Kane 8
- Tough times in Tampa: Garrison out 3-4 weeks after ‘pretty dirty’ Abdelkader hit 22