BLACKHAWKS (48-20-6) at PANTHERS (32-30-11)
7 p.m. ET; NHLN, FS-F, WGN, NHL.TV
Blackhawks team scope
Entering play Saturday, the Chicago Blackhawks are eight points ahead of the Minnesota Wild, who are second in the Central Division and Western Conference with one game in hand. "The division is where we're concentrating on, and we'll see what happens outside of that," coach Joel Quenneville said Thursday. "That's our focus." Chicago did not hold a morning skate Saturday. The Blackhawks likely will start goalie Corey Crawford, who has been on a hot streak lately. Crawford has eight wins in his past 11 starts (8-2-0; 26 goals allowed). He has made at least 40 saves in three of his past five starts, including 42 saves in a 3-2 shootout win against the Dallas Stars on Thursday after allowing four goals on 10 shots in his previous start. Crawford's impressive stretch has coincided with the Blackhawks run of 18 wins in their past 22 games (18-3-1). Forward Jonathan Toews, who has seven points (three goals, four assists) on a six-game point streak, has also helped fuel that run with 22 points (nine goals, 13 assists) in his past 18 games. Quenneville needs one win for 850 in his NHL coaching career.
Panthers team scope
The Panthers will be without defenseman Aaron Ekblad for a second straight game. Ekblad sustained a sore neck against the Carolina Hurricanes on Tuesday, which was his first game back from missing four games with a concussion sustained March 11. Coach Tom Rowe said Ekblad would not travel on the upcoming four-game road trip. "He's feeling good but we're not going to rush him. [We will] be more patient with him," Rowe said. "I have had a ton of experience with those types of injuries. I usually give those guys two or three days of practice and I wish I had done that. It's no one's fault but my own." The Panthers will attempt to keep their Stanley Cup Playoffs hopes from dimming further with a win. Florida (75 points) is seven points behind the New York Islanders and Boston Bruins for the second wild card from the Eastern Conference. The Tampa Bay Lightning, Carolina Hurricanes and Philadelphia Flyers are also ahead of the Panthers. Florida has lost 11 of in its past 15 games (4-10-1).
Blackhawks projected lineup
John Hayden -- Jonathan Toews -- Richard Panik
Artemi Panarin -- Ryan Hartman -- Patrick Kane
Nick Schmaltz -- Marcus Kruger -- Marian Hossa
Dennis Rasmussen -- Tanner Kero -- Jordin Tootoo
Duncan Keith -- Niklas Hjalmarsson
Johnny Oduya -- Brent Seabrook
Brian Campbell -- Trevor van Riemsdyk
Scratched: Michal Kempny, Andrew Desjardins, Tomas Jurco, Michal Rozsival
Injured: Artem Anisimov (lower body)
Panthers projected lineup
Jonathan Huberdeau -- Aleksander Barkov -- Jaromir Jagr
Jussi Jokinen -- Vincent Trocheck -- Reilly Smith
Thomas Vanek -- Nick Bjugstad -- Jonathan Marchessault
Shawn Thornton -- Derek MacKenzie -- Colton Sceviour
Keith Yandle -- Jason Demers
Michael Matheson -- Alex Petrovic
Mark Pysyk -- Jakub Kindl
Scratched: Michael Sgarbossa, Denis Malgin
Injured: Roberto Luongo (lower body), Aaron Ekblad (neck)
Luongo will not return Saturday after last playing March 2 against Philadelphia. He could start a game on the upcoming road trip for the Panthers, Rowe said.
Kane has 21 points (13 goals, eight assists) in his past 14 games. He leads Chicago with 81 points, which are six behind Edmonton Oilers forward Connor McDavid for the NHL lead, entering play Saturday. … Barkov has nine points (four goals, five assists) in his past eight games. ... Marchessault has seven points (six goals, one assist) in his past eight games.