Hawks clinch Central after Wings loss
CHICAGO -- The Chicago Blackhawks have clinched first place in the Central Division for their first division title in 17 years.
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The Blackhawks locked up the Central when the Detroit Red Wings lost 4-3 at Philadelphia in Sunday's early nationally televised game minutes before Chicago took the ice and captured a 4-1 win over the Calgary Flames.
"I think it's big," Blackhawks defenseman Dustin Byfuglien said. "It's a big step for this organization. It's not just us in here [locker room]. It's everything. And it's something we had been working on and pushing for, for a while. We're glad to take it."
The Blackhawks earned their last division title in 1992-93, when they finished atop the Norris Division with a 47-25-12 record and 106 points.
"It's a good, major accomplishment for us," Chicago coach Joel Quenneville said. "Detroit's been on top for several years now, and I think that was a big hurdle for us organizationally to get over and achieve.
"It's a step you have to take, but there are bigger things to accomplish."
The Blackhawks entered Sunday's game with 103 points, three behind Western Conference-leading San Jose.
"It's definitely nice but to me, I don't think it really matters," Hawks defenseman Duncan Keith said. "At the end of the day, it's nice to get home-ice advantage, and it shows we worked hard all year, but we know that in [the] playoffs anything can happen. It's not going to make it any easier in the playoffs, and we know that."
ESPNChicago.com's Jesse Rogers contributed to this story.
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