The Detroit Red Wings are trying to secure the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference. The defending Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks are just trying to get back to the playoffs.
These Central Division rivals both see Monday night's game at Joe Louis Arena as a huge one for their own reasons, and a national television audience will get to watch them battle it out as Versus will televise the 7:30 p.m. start in the United States and TSN2 carries the game in Canada.
The Red Wings (44-22-9) lead the Central and have 97 points, the same as the San Jose Sharks, but are currently seeded second by virtue of having played one fewer game. The Blackhawks (40-26-8) are clinging to the eighth and final postseason spot in the West, one point ahead of the Calgary Flames and two in front of the Dallas Stars. Those teams are both idle on Monday.
In the only other game on Monday's slate, more playoff implications abound as the Anaheim Ducks play host to the Colorado Avalanche at 10 p.m. The Ducks (42-28-5) are coming off a key 2-1 win over the Blackhawks that vaulted them into seventh, one point ahead of Chicago.
Corey Perry scored a pair of goals in the final 20 minutes in that game, giving him an NHL-leading 20 goals in the third period this season. Perry is tied for the League-lead with 10 game-winning goals, which also matches the Anaheim franchise record, as does his 13 goals for the month.