NHL Playoffs 2012: Last-Minute Seeding and Standings Scenarios

Donald Wood@@Donald_WoodFeatured ColumnistApril 7, 2012

OTTAWA, ON - JANUARY 26:  The NHL logo is displayed during Fan Fair as part of NHL All Star weekend at the Ottawa Convention Centre on January 26, 2012 in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

With the 2012 NHL playoffs lapping at the shores of our excitement, it’s time to break down the last-minute seeding and the final standing scenarios.

The playoff participants may be set, but the contention for where the team will land and who they will face off against has come down to the last night of the season.

A schedule full of games across the NHL has every team prepping for the big run towards the playoffs. If you were thinking about watching the NHL at any time, now is the time to enjoy and fall in love.

Welcome to April Madness.

Predicted Matchups

Eastern Conference

1 New York Rangers (109 Pts) vs. 8 Washington Capitals (90 Pts)

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2 Boston Bruins (100 Pts) vs. 7 Ottawa Senators (92 Pts)

3 Florida Panthers (92 Pts) vs. 6 New Jersey Devils (100 Pts)

4 Pittsburgh Penguins (106 Pts) vs. 5 Philadelphia Flyers (103 Pts)

Western Conference

1 Vancouver Canucks (109 Pts) vs. 8 San Jose Sharks (94 Pts)

2 St. Louis Blues (107 Pts) vs. 7 Los Angeles Kings (94 Pts)

3 Phoenix Coyotes (95 Pts) vs. 6 Chicago Blackhawks (99 Pts)

4 Nashville Predators (102 Pts) vs. 5 Detroit Red Wings

President’s Trophy Race

1 Vancouver Canucks (109 Pts) vs. 1 New York Rangers (109 Pts)

Washington at NY Rangers

NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 04:  Henrik Lundqvist #30 of the New York Rangers splashes water on his face during the game against the Boston Bruins at Madison Square Garden on March 4, 2012 in New York City. (Photo by Christopher Pasatieri/Getty Images)
Christopher Pasatieri/Getty Images

With a potential first-round matchup preview helping to add fuel to this fire, the Rangers will look to put their stamp on the President’s trophy and set the tone for the playoffs by beating down the Washington Capitals in New York.

Edmonton at Vancouver

Vancouver is also in the driver seat, with the lowly Edmonton Oilers coming into town. The Canucks need the Rangers to lose in order to have a chance to take the President’s trophy, but they also have to win themselves before any of that even matters. Cross your fingers Canucks fans.

Team Most Likely to Raise the Cup

Philadelphia Flyers

With a serious question in net, the Flyers will depend on their potent offense to make a deep run. If Ilya Bryzgalov comes back healthy and strong, Philadelphia could be looking at a lengthy run.

VANCOUVER, CANADA - MARCH 31: Chris Tanev #8 of the Vancouver Canucks tries to help goalie Roberto Luongo #1 cover up the puck after making a save against the Calgary Flames during the third period in NHL action on March 31, 2012 at Rogers Arena in Vancou
Rich Lam/Getty Images

Vancouver Canucks

The Vancouver Canucks are a powerhouse in the regular season, but they have not had the Stanley Cup success the city of Vancouver needs. If Roberto Luongo finds consistency, the Canucks can be deadly.

Boston Bruins

The defending Stanley Cup champions come into this season after seeing their championship hangover screw up the first portion of the season. Once the team shook the rust off, they played amazing, and they will be a favorite as long as Tim Thomas is in net.

Check back for more on the National Hockey League as it comes, and check out Bleacher Report’s NHL Page to get your fill of all things hockey.

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