The New York Rangers have spent much of the season leading the Eastern Conference, but their grip on the top seed has become tenuous.
Three more games against opponents outside playoff position may provide a vital chance to cushion their advantage.
The Rangers look to maintain their first-place status when they face the Minnesota Wild for the only time this season Tuesday night at Xcel Energy Center.
New York's lead - as large as 10 points earlier this month - has been whittled to one by red-hot Pittsburgh. Each team has seven games to play in the regular season, including a meeting in Pittsburgh on April 5.
The Penguins open a home-and-home set against the last-place New York Islanders on Tuesday.
"I don't want to talk about the Penguins. I'm tired of talking about them," captain Ryan Callahan said. "It's about us now."
The Rangers (47-21-7) are two points behind St. Louis, which hosts Nashville, in the race for the Presidents' Trophy, while having a game in hand.