San Jose Sharks clinch a 2012 playoff spot with Dallas Stars and Colorado Avalanche loss

The San Jose Sharks have officially clinched a playoff spot tonight, as both the Dallas Stars and Colorado Avalanche lost their respective games.

It is the Sharks eighth straight playoff appearance in a row, the longest standing streak in the NHL besides the Detroit Red Wings.

San Jose joins the Phoenix Coyotes and Los Angeles Kings, who also clinched tonight, as the teams who will round out the final eight in the Western Conference.

The Sharks will play either the Chicago Blackhawks, Detroit Red Wings, Vancouver Canucks, or St. Louis Blues in the first round of the playoffs. If the Sharks lose in regulation tonight they will be locked in to playing either the Canucks or Blues. A win, or a loss in the shootout, means their first round opponent is still up in the air.

Detroit and Nashville is the only series that is decided as of this posting. Home ice has not been determined.

[Correction]: Detroit has not secured the 5th seed. A Blackhawks win in regulation on Saturday would vault Chicago into 5th and push the Wings down to 6th. The rest of this article has been updated.