With desperation about to set in, the Chicago Blackhawks believe now is the time to string together some wins.
Now the reigning Stanley Cup champions must start trying to do so without their coach.
Hours after Joel Quenneville was hospitalized, the Blackhawks look to avoid a third straight loss overall and at the United Center on Wednesday night against the Minnesota Wild.
Quenneville was in stable condition after being admitted to a hospital with an undisclosed illness early Wednesday morning.
Team physician Dr. Michael Terry says the issue is "not of cardiac nature" and that tests are ongoing. Quenneville started feeling discomfort at home late Tuesday before going to an emergency room.
It's unknown how long he won't be with the team.
"We certainly wish Joel a speedy recovery and we will do everything possible to support him and his family throughout the process," general manager Stan Bowman said.
Bowman added that assistant Mike Haviland will fill in for this game.
Quenneville's absence comes at a time when the coach knew just how badly his team needed to get hot in order to defend its Cup title. Chicago (28-22-6) is 11th in the West, four points out of the eighth and final playoff spot with 26 games left.
"We're looking for our own run," Quenneville told the Blackhawks' official website before falling ill. "Every game is huge, every game is important."
The Blackhawks, coming off shootout losses at Dallas and Phoenix to conclude a 2-2-2 road swing, have lost six of eight. They're returning to the United Center for the first time since falling 4-2 to Minnesota on Jan. 25.
"We have a lot of character," rookie goaltender Corey Crawford said. "We need the points."
After Tuesday's 4-1 loss to Vancouver, the Wild (30-21-5) remained ninth in the conference. They are three points ahead of Chicago and one behind eighth-place Calgary.
Minnesota overcame a 2-1 first-period deficit last month to drop Chicago to 16-13-0 at home. The Blackhawks were 29-8-4 at the United Center in 2009-10.
The Wild, meanwhile, have won 12 of 17 on the road.
Chicago plays six of its next nine at home but has been outscored 8-3 in its last two games there. The challenge in the offensive zone could get tougher if Patrick Kane is unable to play after dealing with the flu this week.
Though Kane didn't score in Saturday's 3-2 loss to the Coyotes, he had four goals and three assists the previous three games. Kane has two goals with six assists in his last seven versus Minnesota.
Despite losing four of five, Crawford is expected to start Wednesday. He stopped just 18 of 22 shots last month in his first career start against the Wild.
Havlat has that goal and three assists in six games versus Chicago since leaving as a free agent in 2009. However, he was held without a point for the second straight contest Tuesday as the Wild had their three-game winning streak snapped with their third loss in 12 games.
"We had a nice little winning streak and now we lost," coach Todd Richards said. "We have to regroup and come out (Wednesday) and try to start another winning streak."
Though Minnesota outshot the Canucks 29-14, it was stymied after totaling 11 goals the previous three games.
"It's definitely frustrating. We've been playing so well," Wild defenseman Clayton Stoner said.
Minnesota's Cal Clutterbuck scored Tuesday, giving him four goals in three games.
AccuScore has powered more than 10,000 simulations for every NHL game on ESPN.com, calculating how each team's performance changes in response to game conditions and opponent's abilities. Each game is simulated and the game is replayed a minimum of 10,000 times to generate forecasted winning percentages.