It's been a constant theme the last month or so -- the squeezed-tight standings in the NHL's Western Conference.
Now, though, with the Blackhawks riding a 3-1 record over their last four games, a win tonight would put them in a tie at 70 points with the Predators, either the Wild or the Kings (depending on who loses the game between those two tonight, presuming it doesn't go to overtime), and the Flames.
A couple more wins after that and the Blackhawks could be riding as high as fourth or fifth in the conference. A couple of losses could mean back to 12th place. It's that close.
Coach Joel Quenneville, healthy again and joking that he had, in hockey terminology, "an upper-body injury", will be back on the bench tonight. Nick Leddy, who must know every leaf on I-90 between Chicago and Rockford, was recalled again for tonight's game. No word yet on who will be in goal tonight; Corey Crawford has been there the last two games.
Tonight's game begins at 7 p.m. CST and will be televised on CSN Chicago.