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.
- Agent: Subban hasn’t told me to make him NHL’s highest-paid D 13
- Devils sign Greene to five-year, $25M extension 9
- Subban seeking $8.5 million in arbitration, versus the Habs at $5.25 million 41
- Marchand on Plekanec: ‘I hate him. I can’t stand him’ 52
- Gettin’ paid: Gardiner inks five-year, $20.25M extension with Leafs 15
- Report: Trottier to join Sabres’ coaching staff 19
- Blues sign former eighth overall pick Mueller 31
- Trotz plans to let Johansson, Kuznetsov, and Burakovsky compete for time at center 45
- Eric Staal has surgery to repair ‘core muscle injury’ 6
- After not seeing ‘eye-to-eye’ with Carlyle, Reimer will compete for No. 1 gig 16
- Cashing in: Rangers sign Brassard to five-year, $25 million deal (63)
- Marchand on Plekanec: ‘I hate him. I can’t stand him’ (54)
- Trotz plans to let Johansson, Kuznetsov, and Burakovsky compete for time at center (45)
- Subban seeking $8.5 million in arbitration, versus the Habs at $5.25 million (42)
- Richards: If not for the cap, half the league would want to play for Hawks (36)