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Hawks become second team to earn playoff berth

NHL.com @NHL
The Chicago Blackhawks became the second team to clinch a spot in the 2010 Stanley Cup Playoffs, marking the franchise’s second consecutive postseason berth.

Despite being routed 8-3 at Columbus on Thursday night, the Hawks were assured of a postseason berth when the New York Islanders beat the Calgary Flames 3-2. The Flames are ninth in the West and can't get enough points to pass Chicago.

The 2010 Stanley Cup Playoffs will mark the first time in 13 years the Blackhawks will make consecutive postseason appearances.  Chicago leads the Western Conference and is second in the overall standings with 99 points. The Blackhawks have a 10-point lead in the Central Division and are closing in on their first division title in 17 years. They also on the verge of consecutive 100-point seasons for the first time since 1970-71 and 1971-72.

Last season, the Blackhawks finished the regular season as the fourth seed in the Western Conference, marking the first time since 2002 the club saw postseason action and the first time since 1996 the franchise had home-ice advantage in a playoff series. Chicago reached the Western Conference Finals for the first time in 14 years before losing to Detroit.
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