Hawks clinch Central after Wings loss

Updated: April 4, 2010, 10:49 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

CHICAGO -- The Chicago Blackhawks have clinched first place in the Central Division for their first division title in 17 years.

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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