As of right now, the Blackhawks are in a tight race coming down to the last game of the season with both the Anaheim Duck and Dallas Stars. The Ducks hold the 7th seed while the Hawks hold the 8th seed. Both teams have 97 points. The Stars are sitting just behind the Hawks and Ducks with 95 points. All three teams have a game remaining. The Ducks take on the Los Angeles Kings tonight at 9:30 central, all eyes should be on this game. However, if all three teams somehow end up with 97 points (which would mean a Ducks’ loss tonight and a Blackhawks’ loss tomorrow followed by a Stars’ win), the 7th and 8th seeds will end up going to the teams who meet the sufficient tiebreaker procedures. Here’s how they work:
The first tiebreaker is basically the greatest amount of games won, called ROW (wins in regulation plus overtime; shootout victories are excluded). As of right now, the Ducks have the most ROW with 42 compared to the Hawks 38 and the Stars 37, clinching them a playoff spot no matter what. They’re going to finish either 6th, 7th, or 8th no matter what happens tonight.
A Dallas win and a Hawks loss would put both teams at 97 points and 38 ROW, therefore resorting to the second tiebreaker, head-to-head points. Therefore, the Hawks would need at least to get to overtime against Detroit in their final game of the season to put them ahead of Dallas by one point. Dallas holds the second tiebreaker against the Hawks, as they have six points (three wins head-to-head) while we have only three points (one win and an overtime loss).
A final observation: If the Hawks do in fact lose to Detroit in game 82, Dallas would have to win in either regulation or overtime. If their game with the Minnesota Wild goes to a shootout and they win, they would have the same amount of points as the Hawks (97), but would still have 37 ROW to our 38. Good lord, this is going to be an epic regular season conclusion!