The St. Louis Blues and Chicago Blackhawks have been two of the top teams in the NHL all season, but a late-season slide by both will result in one of them being out of the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs after the first round.
St. Louis and Chicago each finished with at least 107 points, but both finished behind the upstart the Colorado Avalanche in the Central Division. The Blues and Blackhawks will stage the second opening-round series in Stanley Cup Playoffs history where both teams have at least that many points. The San Jose Sharks and Nashville Predators also had at least 107 in 2007.
The Blues were in position to not only win the Central but the Presidents' Trophy as the top team in the NHL as recently as April 3, but six straight losses to end the season left St. Louis in second place in the division. There is uncertainty about what the roster will look like for Game 1, because six regulars were out of the lineup at the end of regular season.
When healthy, the Blues were a defense-first machine that could score a lot of goals when needed. Coach Ken Hitchcock's philosophy combined with the talent and depth general manager Doug Armstrong assembled looked like a team primed to challenge the Blackhawks for division and NHL supremacy.