CHICAGO - It's still February, but tomorrow could be the Blackhawks biggest game of the season, so far.
There's no real risk of the Hawks missing the playoffs.
They currently have a nice 11-point cushion over Nashville for second place.
However, if they want a shot at overtaking Minnesota for first, time is running out.
"I think they have three games in hand. Obviously, I think we play them a few more times, but these games are huge. [It's] a four point game. It would be nice to come out with two tomorrow," explained Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane.
"If you look back to the weekend where we played these guys - we played Washington a few nights before that - everyone was talking about those being some pretty big tests. We didn't really answer the call that time," remarked Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews. "Obviously, it wasn't our best week the way we were playing. But, I think the way we're playing right now on the road going into tomorrow's game we can really get excited for this game and try to redeem ourselves with a solid road effort."
"Or keep [the Wild] honest, too," noted Blackhawks head coach Joel Quenneville. "You want to finish first. You want to win as often as possible. You want to push the team ahead of you if you're not there, but certainly there's a gap there we're looking to close. So, it's meaningful in a lot of ways."
Heading into their game against Winnipeg tonight, Minnesota holds a four point lead over the Blackhawks.