The Blackhawks were 46 seconds away from beating the Detroit Red Wings in regulation, the fifth playoff seed, and meeting the Nashville Predators in the playoffs.
Viktor Stalberg and Andrew Shaw had both scored earlier in the game to put the Blackhawks up 2-0. As has happened too often this season, however, they let the lead slip away in the third period.
First, Johan Franzen scored to make sure the Blackhawks were the only team not to have a shutout in the regular season this year. The tying goal for the Red Wings came from (who else?) Pavel Datsyuk after Jimmy Howard was pulled in the final minute of the game.
Therefore, no matter what happened after the game went into overtime, the Blackhawks were locked into the sixth seed. But why let the Red Wings have the satisfaction of winning their last home game after they nearly knocked the Blackhawks out of the playoffs last year?
After a tense overtime, Patrick Kane scored the lone shootout goal while Corey Crawford stopped all three Red Wings attempts, stealing another point for the Blackhawks. So, even though the game turned somewhat meaningless at the end, it was still nice to see a win for the ‘Hawks at Joe Louis Arena.
So now, we all wait to see who the Blackhawks will face in the playoffs, because the Pacific Division is a hot mess. At this point, the Blackhawks could see the Phoenix Coyotes, the Los Angeles Kings, or the San Jose Sharks, depending on various outcomes of games later on tonight.
I’d rather be waiting to see who the Blackhawks will meet in the playoffs over last year’s panic about maybe not getting into the playoffs at all.