Playoff update: L.A. looms as difficult foe

Every day between now and the end of the regular season on Saturday I'll update you on the playoff race as it pertains to the Blackhawks.

Monday was a light day in the NHL but that doesn't mean the Western Conference race wasn't affected. When the Los Angeles Kings beat the Edmonton Oilers, 2-0, it opened up a two-point lead for them in the Pacific Division.

As the No. 3 seed, the Kings would face the No. 6 seeded Hawks if the playoffs began today. The Hawks beat the Kings in their first matchup of the season, but Los Angeles won the next three. The Hawks and Kings are both idle on Tuesday but there is plenty of action that will affect the standings.

The Nashville Predators, who play in Minnesota, are tied with the Hawks with 98 points. Even if Nashville fails to gain a point they'll still be ahead of the Hawks because of tie-breakers.

Phoenix is two points behind the Kings and host Columbus on Tuesday while San Jose faces off in Dallas, both those teams are chasing the Kings and Coyotes.