Blackhawks back in to playoffs, get Canucks

CHICAGO (AP) - Patrick Kane has his playoff haircut, a mullet. Jonathan Toews (tayvz) and Duncan Keith are starting postseason beards.

The three stars of the Chicago Blackhawks are just thankful to have a chance to defend their Stanley Cup title after backing into the playoffs.

The Blackhawks were a dejected bunch Sunday after losing to Detroit and failing to pick up a single point that would have put them in the postseason. A few hours later, Minnesota did them a big favor by upsetting Dallas and giving Chicago the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference.

Now it's time to see what they can do with this second life. The Blackhawks left Monday for Vancouver, where they will face the top-seeded Canucks, the team with the league's best record, in a best-of-seven series beginning Wednesday.