The Chicago Blackhawks have six games remaining in the 2013 regular season, and thanks to their most recent nine game points streak they’re in a pretty good spot to re-acquaint themselves with the President.
Well one of them anyways.
The President’s Trophy is presented to the team who finishes the regular season with the NHL’s best record which gives them home-ice advantage all the way through the playoffs. This year winning the trophy carries even more weight due to the absence of cross-pollination between the conferences. Because of the work stoppage at the beginning of the year the schedule was forced to be truncated, and so it was decided that games between out of conference opponents would be eliminated. Thus, if the Hawks manage to make the Stanley Cup Finals, it’ll be versus a team they have never faced and home-ice could be the difference.
With a win on Friday versus the Nashville Predators, the Hawks will lock up the top seed in the Western conference by virtue of being 11 points ahead of the Anaheim Ducks with only five games remaining. A win against Nashville would put the Hawks at 72 points and eight points ahead of the Pittsburgh Penguins who at this time are the only team in the league who could potentially surpass them. This would mean that even if the Pens beat the Montreal Canadiens tonight in Pittsburgh—which is no easy task—they’d have 66 points with five games to play. For arguments sake, we’ll say they win out and finish with 76 points meaning Chicago would only need to go 2-2-1 or better to grab the trophy.
The remaining schedule also leans in favor of the streaking Hawks. Of their last six, Pittsburgh has three games remaining versus potential playoff teams whereas Chicago has only two such match-ups. And both teams split the final games home and away, however the Hawks enjoy the advantage of playing four of the conference’s five worst teams during this stretch.
In essence the trophy is theirs barring a huge meltdown, and considering a two game losing streak has to date been the most worrisome event of the season, you’ve got to figure another meeting with “The Prez” is in the cards.