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NHL Standings 2012: Blackhawks In An Odd Position Heading Into Final Game

The Chicago Blackhawks (44-26-11, 99 pts) currently hold the No. 6 seed in the NHL's Western Conference playoff bracket, but they still have the opportunity to jump up to the No. 5 slot in their final game of the regular season against the Detroit Red Wings (48-28-5, 101 pts). The Hawks own the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Red Wings, but they may actually want to lose in Saturday's game to avoid a first-round matchup against the Nashville Predators, who have given the Hawks fits with their neutral zone traps and grinding style.

If Chicago loses on Saturday, the Red Wings would get home ice against the Predators and the Blackhawks would take on the winner of the Pacific division, which will either be the Los Angeles Kings, San Jose Sharks or Phoenix Coyotes.

Here is a complete look at the Western Conference playoff standings heading into Friday's games:

1 y - Vancouver Canucks 81 50 22 109
2 y - St. Louis Blues 80 48 21 107
3 x - Los Angeles Kings 81 40 27 94
4 x - Nashville Predators 81 47 26 102
5 x - Detroit Red Wings 81 48 28 101
6 x - Chicago Blackhawks 81 44 26 99
7 x - San Jose Sharks 81 42 29 94
8 x - Phoenix Coyotes 80 40 27 93

For more on the playoff race, stick with SB Nation Chicago. For more in-depth coverage of the Blackhawks, visit Second City Hockey. For more news, notes and analysis around the league head over to SB Nation's NHL news hub.