04/03/2009 11:06 PM - From chicagoblackhawks.com: (link)
The Chicago Blackhawks have clinched a spot in the 2009 Stanley Cup Playoffs, marking the franchise’s first postseason berth since 2002 and second in 11 years, as a result of the team’s 3-1 victory over the Nashville Predators in front of 21,628 fans at the United Center on Friday night.
The Blackhawks currently hold the fourth seed in the National Hockey League’s Western Conference with 95 points (42-24-11) through 77 games. Chicago’s 95 points is the franchise’s most since the 2001-02 club, the last to reach the playoffs, earned 96 in 82 contests (41-27-14). The 2007-08 Blackhawks finished with 88 points (40-34-8), three shy of the eighth and final playoff spot.
“We feel fortunate to have clinched a berth in the 2009 Stanley Cup Playoffs,” Blackhawks General Manager Dale Tallon said. “It is a testament to how hard our entire organization has worked this season and it is a great first step towards one of our many goals as a team. We would like to thank our fans for all of their support so far this season and we look forward to much more excitement at the United Center this spring.”
The Blackhawks have guaranteed themselves a finish no lower than the sixth seed in the Western Conference when the first round of the 2009 Stanley Cup Playoffs begins the week of April 13, with dates, times and opponents to be determined.
After a day off, the Blackhawks look to make it three straight wins when they face off against the Columbus Blue Jackets at Nationwide Arena on Sunday at 4:00 P.M. The game can be seen on Comcast SportsNet and heard on News/Talk 720 WGN Radio.