Everything surrounding the Blackhawks' precarious playoff position — from the injuries to Dave Bolland and Troy Brouwer to the absolute need to get two points against the St. Louis Bluesto a still-stagnant offense — likely were factors in the decision to allow Patrick Sharp back in the lineup on Wednesday night at the United Center.

Would Sharp have returned from his knee injury if it had been Game 40 and not Game 80 of the Hawks' season?

"Game 40? Probably not," coach Joel Quenneville said after the Hawks rallied to defeat the Blues 4-3 in overtime.

Sharp was sorely missed by the Hawks, who went 3-3-1 in seven games without him. Their offensive production declined, their power play struggled and their lines were changed often.

Against the Blues, Sharp took 26 shifts, played 19:37, assisted on Marian Hossa's second-period goal and had a game-high seven shots on goal. That would be an impressive line for most players, but Sharp still has even better in him.

"It would be nice to practice," Sharp said. "I thought it was a good start. Hopefully, I'll do better [tonight]."