Having missed a prime opportunity to lock up home-ice advantage in at least the first round earlier this week, the St. Louis Blues need a victory and some help if they want to clinch the Central Division on Thursday night.
Reportedly set to play again without top two scorers Vladimir Tarasenko and Alexander Steen, the Blues will try to earn their second win over the Chicago Blackhawks in five days.
St. Louis (49-24-7) could have pushed its advantage over Nashville to three points in the Central on Tuesday and secured home ice for its first series with the Predators and Blackhawks both losing. Instead, the Blues fell 1-0 to Winnipeg, ending their three-game win streak.
"We'll get back to practice, regroup and get back at it Thursday. There's big points left for us here," forward T.J. Oshie said.
The defeat kept St. Louis one point up on Nashville and three ahead of Chicago (48-26-6) with two games remaining for all three teams. The Blues have one fewer non-shootout win than the Predators, who also won the season series.
Those tiebreakers will be taken out of play with a St. Louis win and Nashville loss in regulation to Minnesota on Thursday, which would give the Blues their third division title since 1986-87 and first since 2011-12. St. Louis, however, is expected to play its fifth consecutive game without Tarasenko, who has 36 goals and 35 assists, and sixth in a row without Steen, tied for second on the team with 62 points.
Both players are day-to-day with lower-body injuries.
The Blues play their final two games at home, though they've lost four of five there. They'll face a Blackhawks team that's looking for its 10th victory in 13 road games as it pushes for home ice in the first round - and still has an outside shot to win the division.
Two points behind Nashville, Chicago also has two fewer non-shootout wins than the Predators and lost three of four in the season series.
The Blackhawks lost control of their own destiny in the race for the second spot with 2-1 home losses to St. Louis on Sunday and Minnesota on Tuesday. They couldn't take advantage of an early lead against the Blues and didn't score until the final two minutes against the Wild, whom they lead by four points for third.
"You want to have good habits and good hockey going into the playoffs," forward Bryan Bickell said. "You don't want to go in on a little losing streak like these two games that we are right now. We just need to bounce back in St. Louis."
Chicago finished with 24 home wins and is among the league leaders with 24 on the road. The Blackhawks will face Jake Allen again Thursday.
Allen made a season-high 38 saves Sunday while David Backes and Olli Jokinen provided the goals in the second period.
The Blues denied the Blackhawks on two power plays and have gone 14 for 14 on the penalty kill in their last five contests. Chicago is 0 for 9 with the man advantage in its four games this month.
Veteran defenseman Kimmo Timonen's status is uncertain because of an undisclosed ailment that kept him out Tuesday.