Here are four takeaways from the Blackhawks' 4-3 shootout win over the St. Louis Blues at the United Center on Wednesday:
1. Spoiler again
The Blackhawks last season didn't have much to play for down the stretch. But they had two matchups against the Blues, who were in the thick of a playoff race, and they played spoiler.
The Blues missed out on the final wildcard spot in the Western Conference by one point, and you can look at the April 4 game vs. Chicago as the one that got away. Duncan Keith scored the game-winning goal with 8.5 seconds left in regulation to prevent the Blues from picking up at least a point and possibly a second.
The Blues tried doing their part to get revenge on the Blackhawks by rallying from two goals down to tie it with 38.9 seconds left. But the Blackhawks got the important second point to keep the Blues in the third position of the Central Division with two games remaining.
"All of these next few games here we're playing big division games against good teams," Brandon Saad said. "It's a good challenge for us regardless if we're eliminated or not. Kind of a character win and finish out the season the right way."
2. Hitting career marks
Even though the Blackhawks were eliminated from playoff contention on Tuesday night, that won't stop them from trying to finish out the season strong.
After opening the scoring in the first period, Jonathan Toews established a new career high in goals (35). Patrick Kane recorded the primary assist and later ended a 10-game goal drought with a goal to also set a new a career high in points (107).
Alex DeBrincat, Kane and Toews became the first Blackhawks 35-goal trio since the 1987-88 season — Steve Larmer (41), Denis Savard (44), Rick Vaive (43), according to NBC Sports Chicago's stats guru Christopher Kamka. That's the one big bright spot of the season.
"They're great players, but I probably knew that," coach Jeremy Colliton said of Kane and Toews. "Just they compete hard. They love to play, they love to win, they want to be the guys counted on in big situations and those are the kinds of guys you want to coach. Every night there's countless plays that you feel pretty happy to have them on your bench."
3. Playing for pride
The Blackhawks won't be participating in the playoffs for the second straight season. They're frustrated and disappointed about that. But it's still a prideful group that won't just lie down in the final week.
It's easy to lose sight of the big picture after being so accustomed to winning and coming up short of the ultimate goal, but Kane tried putting the final few games into perspective and what they're playing for.
"We're playing in the NHL, we're playing hockey," Kane said. "As a kid you dreamed of playing in the league and being an NHL hockey player, so don't think about the big picture right now, just enjoy the game, play hard, try to put forth a good performance. Show the fans we appreciate them coming out and try to get a couple wins."
4. From Frozen Four to NHL debut
The first time Dennis Gilbert skated on the United Center ice, he was participating in the 2017 Frozen Four with Notre Dame as a Blackhawks defenseman prospect. His team fell short of the national championship game, but Denver coach Jim Montgomery — now head coach of the Dallas Stars — said following a 6-1 win that sophomore Gilbert was the best blue liner on the Fighting Irish.
That was on April 6. Two years later and Gilbert found himself back on the same ice surface making his NHL debut for the Blackhawks.
"About two years ago now to the day," Gilbert said. "Hopefully I can take my time, look back on that a little bit. It was a pretty full barn that night. I'm sure it'll be a little more loud, a little more nerve-wracking tonight. It's always cool to play on that ice."
Gilbert was partnered with Connor Murphy on the third pairing in his debut. He had a game-high six hits and one blocked shot in 12:46 of ice time.Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Blackhawks easily on your device.