Blackhawks’ closing playoff hopes extinguished for good with loss to Lightning


The Blackhawks’ final remaining playoff hopes, current solely in implausible situations getting into the day, died quietly Tuesday.

A 7-4 loss by the hands of the Lightning, tying a neat bow on yet one more eight-game season sequence through which the Hawks received simply as soon as — identically to their Predators sequence — snuffed out the final flame.

Hawks coach Jeremy Colliton had subtly admitted earlier Tuesday that he knew the playoffs had develop into unrealistic. However he nonetheless hoped his crew may keep alive a bit longer to check the crew’s many younger gamers in strain conditions.

“Our hope coming in…is that we could possibly be aggressive and play significant video games for so long as potential and naturally do it with a lineup stuffed with younger guys, which we’ve delivered there,” Colliton stated.

“The longer we will keep within the race, the higher for everybody. It’s quite a bit simpler to organize for all these video games, particularly with no followers, if the video games imply one thing within the standings. That’s one thing we wish to get a win tonight to increase it just a bit extra, understanding the scenario we’re in.”

Colliton sadly received’t get his want. The Hawks are nonetheless mathematically alive, however no sane human can have a look at both the standings — the place the Hawks nonetheless path the Predators and Stars by massive margins — or the Hawks’ 9-15-0 document since March 6 and see any potential route.

Colliton additionally referred to as on the Hawks to “go down preventing” and so they did do this to an extent Tuesday, slicing a 6-2 deficit to 6-4 to make the sport semi-interesting late.

It clearly wasn’t sufficient, although. The Hawks started Tuesday with a 0.8% playoff likelihood, per MoneyPuck; after the loss, it would take a microscope to learn their up to date odds.

A lot of the night time was spent all the way down to 4 defensemen. Adam Boqvist left through the second interval with a serious-looking proper wrist damage after being spun into the ice by an Erik Cernak hit and didn’t return.

Connor Murphy, in the meantime, missed 17 minutes as a result of penalties for preventing Cernak, who’d waited impatiently for the duel since tempers first flared between the 2 groups in early March.

Goalie Kevin Lankinen was pulled for the second time in 4 video games after permitting eight objectives on 11 first-period photographs. Ridden more durable than the Crimson Line over the season’s second half, Lankinen has lastly faltered currently, posting an .866 save proportion over his final 9 appearances.

On the ahead finish, Mike Hardman made his NHL debut and Dylan Strome reentered the lineup after two eye-opening video games as a wholesome scratch, but it surely didn’t significantly matter. Nothing does anymore this season, not less than relating to wins and losses.

The Hawks nonetheless have some issues they’ll use their seven now-meaningless remaining video games to study. Do Strome, Nikita Zadorov, Adam Gaudette and others match transferring ahead — and in that case, the place? What number of minutes of expertise can they offer their plentiful first- and second-year gamers? Will Collin Delia ever begin in objective once more?

However probably the most vital query — “Can they make the playoffs?” — was answered for good Tuesday.

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