By Chris Kuc
4:37 PM AKDT, April 10, 2011
The Chicago Blackhawks will have an opportunity to defend their Stanley Cup championship.
Despite falling to the Detroit Red Wings on Sunday afternoon, the Hawks gained a Western Conference postseason berth when the Dallas Stars lost to the Minnesota Wild 5-3 tonight.
The Hawks finished the season with 97 points to finish eighth in the conference and will face the Canucks in Vancouver in Game 1 of the quarterfinals later this week. Dates, times and broadcast information will be released later Sunday by the NHL.
The 2011 Stanley Cup playoffs mark the first time in 14 years the Hawks will make three consecutive postseason appearances. Last season the Blackhawks defeated the Flyers four-games-to-two to capture the organization’s first Stanley Cup since 1961. The Hawks advanced to the Western Conference Final in each of the last two postseasons.
The Hawks were 2-2-0 against the top-seeded Canucks during the regular season, which includes identical 1-1-0 marks at the United Center and Rogers Arena. The Blackhawks outscored Vancouver 12-9 during the season series.
Video below: Patrick Sharp on the playoffs