Blackhawks Vs. Predators: Playoff Teams To Alter West Standings

Mar 21, 2012; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Blackhawks center Andrew Shaw (65) is congratulated by his teammates for scoring the game winning goal in overtime against Vancouver Canucks goalie Roberto Luongo (1) at the United Center. The Blackhawks beat the Canucks in overtime 2-1. Mandatory Credit: Rob Grabowski-US PRESSWIRE

The Chicago Blackhawks (92 points) host the Nashville Predators (94 points) in a game that both fanbases may bizarrely want their teams to lose.

The Chicago Blackhawks find themselves in a bit of an odd position. With seven games to go in the 2011-2012 season, the team is almost assuredly going to make the 2012 playoffs (barring a historic collapse), and right now they are the sixth seed in the Western Conference. The curious thing is that they might not want to go even a single spot higher.

Thanks to the NHL's seeding rules, which dictate that the three division winners are to make up a conference's top three seeds, the Pacific Division leading Dallas Stars currently hold the West's third seed, despite only being tied for the sixth most points in the conference. If the season ended today, the Blackhawks would meet the Stars in the first round, but of course the season doesn't end today, and Chicago (or Dallas) may alter that match up before the season ends.

With a win today over the Nashville Predators, Chicago would tie the Predators for the West's fifth seed, where the winner of the tiebreaker would take on the Detroit Red WIngs. Chicago will be shorthanded today with Jonathan Toews and Duncan Keith out, and if that makes them more likely to lose, it may not be the worst thing in the world.

Game date/time: Sunday, March 25, 6:30 p.m. CT

Location: United Center, Chicago, Ill.

TV: NBC Sports Network

For more on this game, stick with SB Nation Chicago. For more on the Blackhawks, visit Second City Hockey and for more on the Predators vist On the Forecheck. For more news, notes and analysis around the league head over to SB Nation's NHL news hub.

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