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Stanley Cup Final

No easy road for Hawks

Thursday, 03.03.2011 / 12:25 PM

By Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer / Countdown to the Playoffs

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Countdown to the Playoffs
No easy road for Hawks
The Chicago Blackhawks are finally looking like a solid playoff team, but while their six-game winning streak has allowed them to leap from 11th to fourth in a matter of a few weeks, they are still not even close to being out of the woods. Their 76 points is only three more than the ninth-place Ducks and 10th-place Predators. The Wild are just four points back in 11th.
 
The rest of the Blackhawks' schedule is statistically the most difficult in the League. Their opponents have an average winning percentage of .586 and of Chicago's 18 games remaining, only 11 are on the road. San Jose's remaining opponents also have a .586 winning percentage, but the Sharks will play 12 of their final 18 games on home ice.
 
Let's break it down for the Blackhawks:
 
Record against teams left on schedule: 12-10-3
 
Games vs. Western Conference playoff contenders: 8
 
Games vs. teams ahead of them in Conference standings: 4
 
Games vs. Eastern Conference playoff contenders: 6
 
Games vs. teams with more than 76 points: 8
 
Biggest challenge: Three games left against Detroit
 
Biggest challenge II: Two games left against Tampa Bay
Quote of the Day

For our team, as a group, we've never been this far before, and so it's just more lessons learned, and sometimes you have to go to the school of hard knocks to find out what works and what doesn't. We've got a young group. They've played some unreal hockey here to get us this far, and we showed if we're not going to play the proper way, a really, really good hockey team is going to beat you, and that's what they did. It's a lesson learned.

— Lightning coach Jon Cooper after Rangers win in Game 6 forced a Game 7 that will be played at Madison Square Garden on Friday