Over the course of the next two weeks the Chicago Blackhawks will travel 8,519 miles to play six games. But the most important ground they’ll have to cover is in the playoff standings.
Through their first 50 games of the season the Blackhawks sit 10 points behind the Detroit Red Wings in the Central Division and four points behind the Nashville Predators for the playoff seed with a home-ice advantage. But they’re also only five points ahead of the 14th place St. Louis Blues.
“It’s huge,” Blackhawks defenseman Brent Seabrook said the the team’s upcoming road trip. “The rest of our season is such a big part of our season. We have to make up some ground here, every game is going to be so important.”
The Blackhawks have a nice mix of opponents they should beat (Columbus Blue Jackets, 2/1; Calgary Flames, 2/7; Edmonton Oilers, 2/9) and opponents sitting above them in the standings (Vancouver Canucks, 2/4; Dallas Stars, 2/11; Phoenix Coyotes, 2/12)
“It’s going to be a huge battle for us,” Seabrook said. “And we have to be prepared for every single game, every single night and be ready to play.”
With 12 standings points up for grabs for the Blackhawks, the team has to have their eyes set on coming home with, at the minimum, seven points. Anything less and they’ll find themselves in an even tougher spot. But if they can come back to Chicago with eight points or more then things could start turning around for them.