While the Blackhawks have been sitting at home during their week-long NHL “bye week,” the St. Louis Blues have all of a sudden moved themselves back into contention, and unfortunately back into our minds.
A January losing streak had the Blues on the brink of possibly blowing it all up, missing the playoffs and giving up on 2017. But after firing Ken Hitchcock and promoting Mike Yeo, the Blues have suddenly caught fire. St. Louis is on a six game winning streak and are 7-3 in their last 10 games.
While the Hawks have been on a bye week, the Blues have moved back into 3rd place in the central division, eight points behind the Hawks and five points clear of Nashville and the wild card spots. The possibility of another Hawks-Blues first round match-up is looking more and more likely by the day.
As of today, the Hawks trail Minnesota by seven points and looked pretty much locked into second or third place. The two teams are finally even (57) in the games played department after it seemed like Minnesota had games in hand all year.
Of course there is still plenty of time left in the regular season, and while the Hawks catching the Wild is not an impossibility, it’s becoming more unlikely as each game passes. Coming off the bye week, the Hawks have games against Edmonton, Buffalo, Minnesota, St. Louis and Pittsburgh. Not an easy slate.
The hope a few months ago was for the Hawks to possibly win the division and draw a much easier wild card match-up in the first round of the playoffs, ultimately avoiding St. Louis or Nashville. For that to happen the Hawks will have to obviously keep winning and also get some help from a Minnesota team that’s looking mighty stout.
Now, a re-energized Blues team looks poised to possibly chase down the Hawks for home-ice advantage. Even though the Hawks rode a five game winning streak into their bye week, it’s important that they keep their foot on the gas coming off the break.
Because the Blues are coming, and I don’t want anything to do with them.