Home ice advantage guarantees you absolutely nothing in the playoffs. But it certainly helps, and in the Blackhawks’ case has been mighty useful in the past eight years.
Through this era the Hawks have been pretty much lights out in a series where they have home ice. The only exception is 2014, where it took a missed offsides call and overtime in Game 7 to lose a home ice series.
Since 2009, the Hawks are 11-1 in playoff series where they have home ice advantage. When you put them in front of the home fans, and allow Q to get his matchups, things have turned out OK.
Of course there have been exceptions to this rule. The Hawks have been able to find success in many series where they don’t have home ice. Most notably in 2015 where they won series vs. Nashville, Anaheim and Tampa as the lower seeded team.
So it is possible, obviously, for this team to win on the road. That’s not the point here. My point is winning the Presidents’ Trophy this year, and clinching home ice throughout, would greatly aid the effort at winning a fourth Cup in eight years.
The Hawks currently sit fourth place overall in the league with 100 points. They’re behind Washington (102), Pittsburgh (101), Columbus (100), and ahead of Minnesota (94) and New York (94). The three teams in front of them all have 10 games left, while the Hawks have nine. So there’s a more than reasonable opportunity for the Hawks to finish strong and sneak past those teams.
Many people equate winning the Presidents’ Trophy with a “curse.” Teams like the 2011 and 2012 Canucks, the 2009 Sharks, and every Capitals team ever have helped push that narrative. But it’s just that, a superstition that really means nothing. A handful of teams have finished best in the league regular season and gone on to win the Cup. The 2008 Wings and 2013 Hawks are two prime examples.
In the last month we’ve seen the Hawks turn the jets back on after a lackluster January and February. They’ve vaulted themselves right back to controlling the division and in contention for the best record in the league.
My hope is that their focus won’t wane over these last few games. I’d love to see them finish strong and steal home ice advantage for the entirety playoffs. It’s not necessary, but it would certainly be helpful.