When the St. Louis Blues and Chicago Blackhawks face off Thursday at the United Center, both teams will have something major to play for.
The Blackhawks, meanwhile, can become the fifth Western Conference team to clinch a playoff spot. Chicago needs a win, as well as a Phoenix Coyotes regulation loss to the San Jose Sharks, to clinch.
The Blues, Canucks, Detroit Red Wings and Nashville Predators already have clinched playoff spots.
Two more Eastern Conference teams can also punch their playoff tickets Thursday.
The defending Stanley Cup champion Boston Bruins need a victory at home against the Washington Capitals (7 p.m., NHLN-US) to have a chance to defend their title.
A Bruins win also would help the Devils get into the playoffs. If the Devils beat the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Bruins beat the Caps, New Jersey earns its playoff trip. The Devils also can get in by earning one point against the Lightning combined with a Capitals regulation loss to the Bruins.
If the Bruins and Devils get in, they would join the New York Rangers, Pittsburgh Penguins and Philadelphia Flyers in the East playoff picture. All three divisions remain up for grabs.
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