Needing just one point to assure themselves of an eighth straight trip to the playoffs, the Chicago Blackhawks are likely more concerned with avoiding falling into a wild-card spot.
The Blackhawks look to continue turning around their rough stretch by capitalizing on their final meeting with the collapsing Vancouver Canucks on Sunday night.
Chicago (43-25-7) is 13 points clear of ninth-place Colorado and the postseason cutoff with seven games remaining. Since the Blackhawks hold the tiebreaker with the Avalanche, one point will be enough to put them back in the playoffs.
Chicago is also trying to maintain its hold on third place in the Central Division, sitting just two points ahead of Nashville, which occupies the first wild-card spot in the Western Conference.
This wasn't a concern as recently as three weeks ago when the Blackhawks were vying for the top spot in the conference, but a 1-4-2 stretch all but ended those hopes.
They started to turn things around Saturday, beating Calgary 4-1 in the opener of this four-game trip with three coming against teams outside of the playoff race.
''We've lost a ton of ground here and trying to get a win was the most important thing,'' coach Joel Quenneville said. ''We've still got to be better, but we found a way to win, which was nice.''
That sense of urgency isn't lost on Andrew Ladd, who had two goals and one assist Saturday to give him eight points in 12 games since being re-acquired in a trade with Winnipeg last month.
''We know where we're at in terms of the standings,'' Ladd said. ''Nashville's right on our heels and St. Louis is pulling away. We understand this road trip is a big road trip for us.''
Chicago beat the Canucks 4-0 at home on Dec. 13 behind 30 saves from Corey Crawford, who isn't on this trip due to an upper-body injury. Scott Darling is 2-2-1 with a 2.28 goals-against average during a stretch of five straight starts.
He made 31 saves against the Flames and Quenneville could give him the nod on consecutive days for the first time.
Darling could be poised for another impressive performance since the Canucks (27-34-13) are on the verge of their first eight-game losing streak since January 2009. They've been outscored 21-5 over their last seven games (0-6-1) and have been shutout in four of the last five.
Vancouver mustered a season-low 15 shots in Friday's 4-0 loss at St. Louis. Frustration seems to be mounting for coach Willie Desjardins, who has a roster that includes 10 players 23 years old and younger.
“We are young for sure … Sure you learn from it, but there's a point where you want to quit learning and you want to just play. You want to do it,” he said.
Daniel Sedin leads the Canucks with 27 goals, his highest total since netting 30 in 2011-12, but he's only scored once during the slide.
He had a hat trick and an assist against the Blackhawks in November, giving him 69 points in 73 career matchups – including playoffs.
Henrik Sedin averages a point in 37 lifetime home meetings with Chicago after tallying a career-high five in a 6-3 victory Nov. 21.