The 2012 NHL playoffs are right around the corner. With about nine to 10 games remaining, the final standings of the teams heading into the playoffs are starting to become clearer.
The Western Conference had its moments of changes in the standings. The St. Louis Blues are at the top and already clinched a playoff spot.
Here are the predictions for what the final standings will be for the Western Conference at the end of the season.
The Dallas Stars will barely beat the Phoenix Coyotes to earn the eighth seed for the 2012 playoffs. Dallas has been playing really well so far this March, fighting along with two of their division rivals for the top spot.
They will have a tough battle toward the end for the No. 3 seed and division title. It will be a spot they will lose, but they will happily take a shot into the playoffs and for the Stanley Cup as a No. 8 seed.
They've been fighting hard and long the past several weeks, and they will need to fight even harder because even a loss or two could change the outcome.
For a majority of the players on the Colorado Avalanche, this will either be their first or second time heading into the playoffs. With seven games left, Colorado's playoff dreams look threatening If they keep winning and finish their games strong, they will finish second in their Northwest Division for sure.
This is a young team fighting for their spot in the playoffs, and they aren't giving up easily, as proven with five of their last six games having gone into either overtime or a shootout.
They'll make it in this year.
The Nashville Predators have been having a roller coaster of a ride up and down the top eight standings. They've been winning some, they've been losing some. Lately, the wins and losses haven't been consistent.
The Predators will have to win more games than they lose in their remaining games, and their opponents won't be easy. They'll drop from the No. 4 seed and finish sixth.
March has been a good month for the Chicago Blackhawks, where they won all but two games.
They have the experience on the team to know that it's crucial to finish strong in the stretch run for the playoffs. It'll probably come down to the last game of the season, where they'll battle the Red Wings for either the fifth or fourth seed.
While they may be behind the Wings and the Predators now, they will surpass one of them for the fifth seed when the season ends.
I may be a bit bias because I'm a Red Wings fan, but Detroit will fight their way back to a No. 4 seed.
Injuries, moving around of the roster and goaltending has been a problem for this team as of late, as they dropped from being No. 1 in the conference down to No. 5. However, with Pavel Datsyuk back with the team, he may be just what they need to boost their esteem and rise back up in their remaining games. Captain Nicklas Lidstrom may be ready to return this weekend, and it'll be a good thing if he does.
Detroit is known for fighting through hell during tough times, and the Wings will do just that.
They may not be kings of the Western Conference, but they will be kings of their division.
The L.A. Kings have been on fire as of late, winning their last five games. Even in the games they have lost lately, it wasn't without a tough fight. Their confidence in themselves is growing and they won't waver in their remaining games.
It'll be interesting to watch the last two games of their season against the division rival San Jose Sharks, hopefully giving them a boost in the end.
They will win the division, earning the No. 3 seed.
This is the team that was among several predictions to win the Stanley Cup earlier this season, and their chances are still pretty good.
Vancouver will finish at the top of their division, no doubt. Not to mention the fact that they have five straight home games of their remaining 10 games on the schedule.
This is the end, where it is a fight to the finish line, and Vancouver will beat out their division, clinching the No. 2 seed before the season is even over.
This shouldn't be a shocker. The St. Louis Blues are the most likely contenders to finish in first the past several weeks. They are currently six points ahead of Vancouver and if the Blues start a winning streak, they'll clinch the No. 1 seed soon enough.
Four of their 10 remaining games are at home, and the Blues shouldn't show any signs of slowing down. As they've won four of their last seven games, the Blues are almost in a position where Vancouver will be on their heels.
While they will finish as the No. 1 seed, don't count on them to make it too far into the playoffs.