The NHL’s Western Conference standings remain incredibly tight. A modest win streak is enough to vault a team into a playoff spot. By contrast, a losing streak of even two or three games can see a squad tumble out of contention. The Minnesota Wild and Chicago Blackhawks are both well under .500, and yet, they are two points from having a Wild Card spot. Eleven teams are separated by eight points, or four wins.
Minnesota has won three in a row with four straight at home beginning Sunday. Chicago has not been quite as successful recently in the win column but they’ve garnered at least a point in the eight of the past nine games. In hockey, a loss in overtime or a shootout still nets a team one point in the standings. Chicago is on the road for five straight including two in games in Winnipeg over the next week.