Kings’ loss puts the Blackhawks in the playoffs for a ninth-straight year

CHICAGO – When you’ve won three Stanley Cups since 2010, little accomplishments that happened on Sunday night could slip past with little notice.

If you are wondering what happened, that’s OK. It happened kinda late on Sunday night.

Following the Blackhawks’ comeback win over the Avalanche on Sunday night at the United Center, the Kings lost to the Flames 5-2 in Calgary.

That officially clinched a spot for Joel Quenneville’s team in the 2017 NHL Playoffs, making it nine-straight seasons that the Blackhawks have reached the postseason. To be fair, many Blackhawks players or fans may not have paid much mind to the accomplishment since the team’s win Sunday gave them 99 points on the season – the most in the Western Conference.

Still, it’s a major accomplishment for longtime fans of the franchise who just a decade ago were going through one of the worst stretches in team history. From the 1997-1998 season through the 2007-2008 season, the Blackhawks made the playoffs just one time. The only time the team got in the postseason in 2002, the only lasted for a single round and then missed the playoffs the next six seasons.

The start of this current playoff streak has ushered perhaps the most successful era of the franchise. Since the 2008-2009 season, the Blackhawks have won three Stanley Cups and in two other seasons made the Western Conference Finals.

Quenneville’s team may end up with home ice advantage throughout the playoffs if they can continue their current pace. Right now they sit seven points ahead of Minnesota in the division and hold an eight-point advantage over Pacific Division-leading Sharks.

This recent playoff streak is the third most in Blackhawks history, with the team making 28-straight appearances from 1969-1970 through 1996-1997. From 1958-1959 through 1967-1968, the team went to the playoffs ten straight seasons.