With a slim two-point lead over the Nashville Predators, the Chicago Blackhawks will look to win their second game in a row on Sunday night as they take on the Vancouver Canucks.
The Blackhawks, who had lost six of their previous seven games going into Saturday's tilt with the Calgary Flames, were able to get a big night out of Andrew Ladd, who scored two goals, and Andrew Shaw tallied the game-winning goal as they took down a 4-1 victory.
The win kept the Hawks ahead of the Predators in the race for third place in the Central Division, but there is still more work that needs to be done. The Hawks currently trail the Dallas Stars and St. Louis Blues by six points in the Central Division standings, and with just seven games remaining, every point is critical if the Hawks want to secure home-ice advantage in the first round of the postseason.
Unfortunately, the team still has to overcome some significant obstacles before they worry about the other teams in their division. Goaltending has been an issue as Corey Crawford has been out while battling an injury, but Scott Darling has held down the fort recently and will once again man the crease in Sunday's game against the Canucks.
The Blackhawks' power play unit has also been faltering badly, leading to an overall scoring drought. The team has failed to score on its last 22 power play attempts, including two failures during Saturday's victory. Head coach Joel Quenneville has tried to reconfigure lines and use different players among the two groups, but nothing has seemed to work as one of the team's best areas has become a weakness in recent games.
Finally, the Blackhawks will be looking to get Patrick Kane going again as the season draws to a close. Despite having an assist in Saturday's win, the winger has managed to notch a point in just three of his last eight games, and with Artem Anisimov and Artemi Panarin both struggling to make an impact on offense, the pressure is mounting on Kane to get his issues figured out.
Fortunately for the Blackhawks, the Canucks are fading even faster than the defending champions. Already eliminated from the playoffs, the Canucks boast one of the league's worst scoring offenses, a bottom-ten defense, and a poor-performing power play as they look to prevent the Blackhawks from clinching a playoff berth on Sunday night.
Puck drop is scheduled for 7 p.m. Central time, and the game will air on WGN.