Victory on Sunday seals post season berth for Chicago.
Despite being on the cards for weeks, the Chicago Blackhawks finally sealed their involvement in the Stanley Cup play-offs on Sunday, following a 5-3 win over the Nashville Predators.
The Blackhawks became the first team in the NHL to do so this season, with the win ensuring that they can finish no lower than seventh place in the Western Conference.
Andrew Shaw, Brandon Saad and Patrick Kane were all on the score-sheet at the United Center on Sunday, and despite the Predators taking an early third period lead, Chicago were too strong down the final stretch.
The Blackhawks stand at 29-5-4 for the season so far, and sit five points above nearest rivals Anaheim in the West, but Coach Joel Quenneville revealed after the game that this is just a minimum requirement of his side this year.
“We’re very happy with what we’ve accomplished, but we still want to keep trying to get better in games. We’d like to finish as high as we can, that’s a priority as well, but that’s what the motivation is,” he told reporters as quoted by NHL.com.
With just ten games remaining in the regular season, the Blackhawks will be looking to finish the campaign off on a positive run as they bid for Stanley Cup glory. Despite a play-off spot being secured, they will still want to avoid any dip in form in order to ensure home-ice advantage.
Their blistering start to the season made headlines as NHL records tumbled, but both Quenneville and his players know that that will count for little if their season were to end prematurely in the play-offs.