Less than seven weeks remain in the NHL regular season following the Olympic break. At this point, the playoff picture is starting to become clearer.
Teams currently riding high in their respective standings are well positioned to make the playoffs. There's less certainty for those clubs jockeying for the lower playoff berths.
Many factors will decide where the current contenders finish this season. Players who participated in the Winter Olympics could struggle to regain their form. Clubs that were surging before the Olympic break could have difficulty regaining their momentum. Several teams have roster weaknesses, which, if unchecked, could affect their final placement in the standings.
Here's a look at the top eight teams in each conference (starting with the Western Conference), brief reviews of their best- and worst-case scenarios and projections as to where they could finish in the standings.