Playoff update: Falling Stars

Every day between now and Saturday I'll update you on the playoff race as it relates to the Chicago Blackhawks.

After Tuesday's action in the Western Conference there is a clearer picture of who will qualify for the playoffs. The San Jose Sharks' win over Dallas has separated them from the Stars by three points for the No. 8 seed while Phoenix earned a third consecutive shutout, 2-0 over Columbus, to lead the No. 9 seed by four points. Both those teams also closed the gap on the Pacific Division leading Los Angeles Kings. The Kings have the No. 3 seed thanks to a tiebreaker with Phoenix while the Sharks are one point behind them both.

If the playoffs started today the No. 6-seeded Hawks would face the Kings in the first round, a team they lost three of four from this season. They were shutout twice by Los Angeles as well.

Nashville's 2-1 shootout win over Minnesota on Tuesday vaulted them over Detroit for the No. 4 seed. They lead the Hawks by two points, the Wings are ahead of Chicago by one.

Wednesday's action in the NHL includes a match-up in St. Louis between the Red Wings and Blues. Detroit has played one fewer game than the Hawks and Predators.