By JEFF BARTL
The Chicago Blackhawks have lived up to expectations so far, sitting atop the Central Division and surging of late.
The Minnesota Wild have greatly exceeded theirs.
Minnesota hosts Chicago on Wednesday night in a matchup of the Western Conference's top teams.
The Blackhawks (18-8-4) improved to 6-1-1 over their last eight games with a 3-2 overtime win over San Jose on Sunday, getting the winning goal from Patrick Sharp in the extra session for the second consecutive game.
Chicago was outshot 33-13 through two periods, but it put 21 shots on goal through the third period and overtime, including Andrew Brunette's goal with 1:06 left in regulation to tie the game with an extra skater on the ice.
Four of the Blackhawks' last five games have gone past regulation.
"We stole it in overtime," said Sharp, who also scored to beat the New York Islanders 3-2 on Thursday. "It wasn't the prettiest game, but it's what we'll have to do down the stretch the rest of ...