The Blackhawks are still well outside the playoff picture and looking in. But after Friday's 2-1 overtime win against the Nashville Predators that saw Alex DeBrincat score two goals, Corey Crawford make 42 saves and Duncan Keith pass 600 NHL points, they're closer to the window and feeling good about themselves again.
"I think we're only six points out so anything can happen, obviously," Blackhawks forward Dylan Strome said. "We were way more than that I think like a month ago or a month and a bit ago, I think we were 10 or 12 out.
"Positive things to look at: we've had a little bit of a slump here but still six points out. That's three games and I think we have a couple in hand. We have to find a way to get some points back and I thought we've been playing a little better as of late and we just got to keep it going on this tough road trip."
The Hawks will face the Dallas Stars (third in the Western Conference) on Sunday afternoon, the St. Louis Blues (first in the West) on Tuesday, the Tampa Bay Lightning (second in the Eastern Conference) on Thursday and the Florida Panthers (three points shy of second wild card spot in the East) on Saturday before returning to the United Center to take on the Anaheim Ducks (second to last in the West) the following Tuesday.
"Yeah it's a big road trip," Strome said. "Three really, really good teams and Florida has been playing really well too. It's a big road trip, I feel like we've been saying the last couple road trips... obviously the Canadian one didn't go very well, but we still played decent so I guess you can take some positives from that.
"It's the time of year when you got to start winning games. Dallas then St. Louis and then the Florida trip. Some good teams, teams that are fighting for position as well. Got to go into every game like life or death."
Blackhawks head coach Jeremy Colliton felt Saturday's win was big, but the Blackhawks still need to stick to the game plan.
"We needed something good to happen," Colliton said. "Ultimately, what we need to do is play hard, take care of our details, our team. I’m saying similar things that I do whenever we meet in here, but that’s because it’s what’s important and what we need to focus on. The other stuff, it’s going to sort out."