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.
- Report: Blues will stick with Hitchcock ‘barring anything dramatic’ 3
- WATCH LIVE: Lightning at Rangers, Game 5 of Eastern Conference Final 0
- Kesler on wearing down Chicago: ‘No human can withstand that many hits’ 17
- Video: ‘It’s not the ideal situation,’ says OT hero Vermette of being a healthy scratch 5
- From healthy scratch to hero: Vermette scores OT winner for Blackhawks 52
- Video: Ducks score three goals in 37 seconds to take third-period lead 9
- WATCH LIVE: Ducks at Blackhawks, Western Conference Final Game 4 0
- Cooper on replacing Bishop: ‘That is asinine to me’ 25
- Vermette, Teravainen return for Blackhawks in Game 4 15
- Comeback fit for a King: Lundqvist, Rangers even series in Game 4 24
- Reports: Sabres thought they had a deal with Babcock, aren’t happy (174)
- Leafs land Babcock with reported 8-year deal, estimated at $50 million (130)
- Russia to be punished for ‘completely out of order’ actions after Worlds final loss to Canada (91)
- Report: Sabres negotiating with Babcock (82)
- What’s wrong with Lundqvist? (70)