The Chicago Blackhawks, three-time Stanley Cup champions this decade, invade the BB&T Center on Saturday night looking to fine-tune their game before the postseason begins next month. The Blackhawks (48-20-6), the leaders of the Western Conference with 102 points, are set to play the host Florida Panthers (32-30-11), who are long shots to make this year's playoffs. "Our (Central) division is what we're concentrating on," Chicago coach Joel Quenneville told the media earlier this week.
Two teams vying for the same thing but going in opposite directions will square off in one of the biggest games of the NHL season Saturday night when the New York Islanders host the Boston Bruins at Barclays Center. The Islanders and Bruins enter Saturday tied for the second and final wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference. New York created the deadlock Friday night when it outlasted the Pittsburgh Penguins 4-3 in a shootout.
With points at a premium in the race for playoff positioning in the Eastern Conference, the Maple Leafs -- currently third in the Atlantic Division -- are on a roll. Toronto (35-23-15) will look to extend its winning streak to four games when they travel over the border to take on the Buffalo Sabres at 7 p.m. on Saturday. With 85 points, the Maple Leafs are three points ahead of the Boston Bruins and four points ahead of the Tampa Bay Lightning for the third spot in the Atlantic heading into Saturday's game.