HURRICANES (31-25-9) AT BLACKHAWKS (35-23-6)
TV -- FS-Carolinas (HD); CSN-Chicago+ (HD)
Last 10 -- Carolina 5-3-2; Chicago 7-1-2
Season series -- This is the first and only meeting between the Hurricanes and Blackhawks this season. The Hurricanes won their only meeting last season in a 4-2 decision on Jan. 20 thanks to a spectacular performance by Cam Ward between the pipes. Ward stopped 39 shots in that game to complete a six-day stretch in which he made 129 of 134 saves.
Big story -- The playoffs are within reach for both of these teams, making this match key. The Hawks have won five in a row to move into the top eight in the West with 76 points. Carolina comes to the United Center after a 3-2 OT win against Buffalo on Thursday moved the 'Canes into seventh in the East.
Hurricanes -- With four points on the line in Thursday night's contest with the Buffalo Sabres, who trailed Carolina by just two points prior to the game, the Hurricanes twice overcame one-goal deficits in the second period before Jamie McBain scored the game-winning goal 26 seconds into OT to move the Hurricanes up one rung in the Eastern Conference race.
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"Right now everybody realizes the importance of the situation we're in and it seems like every game is a must-win," Kane said. "I think we're just bearing down, more focused and more concentrated on one game at a time. That's probably been the key to the success."
Another huge component to the Hawks' success has been the scorching play of captain Jonathan Toews who notched two goals, including the game-winner, in Chicago's 6-4 victory over the Calgary Flames on Wednesday night.
Who's hot -- Carolina's Erik Cole has 5 points in as many games and he tied with Eric Staal for the most game-winning goals on the team with seven. .. Toews has 6 goals and 13 points during a seven-game points streak.
Injury report -- There are no injuries to report for the Hurricanes… The Blackhawks announced Monday that defenseman Jordan Hendry will miss the remainder of the season with a torn ACL and Fernando Pisani is day to day with a concussion.
Stat pack -- Staal leads the NHL in total faceoffs taken (1,379) but Toews is the League leader in wins (719).
Puck drop -- "We're not doing it as a streak by any means," Toews said. "We've been doing a great job of taking one game at a time, especially coming back from the All-Star break. It's been since then that we've gradually gotten better every night. It's easy to notice a player when the pucks are going in. I wouldn't say a lot has changed in my game."