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NHL Power Rankings: Week Seven

Some NHL teams have caught fire in the last week, while others have turned ice-cold. Find out what happened to your team this week’s NHL Power Rankings, presented by sportswriters Mike McMahon and Lenny Rowe.

1. Chicago Blackhawks (24-3-3, 51 points) (#1, Week Six): sharpHawks

The Hawks have finally lost, proving that they are not invincible. Still, there is little reason to doubt this team. They are second in the league for goals per game (3.27), and have the second lowest goals against (2.10). This team scores by committee, with all four lines contributing each night. It’s always a great show watching Chicago, and that will continue this week when they face the Kings on Monday. — Lenny Rowe

2. Anaheim Ducks (22-3-4, 48 points) (#2, Week Six):

The Ducks are 7-0-3 in their last ten with the biggest win coming over the Blackhawks. With both Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry now locked up longterm, this team can now focus solely on their play on the ice. Anaheim will face off twice with both the Red Wings and Sharks this week before a Friday night showdown with Chicago for most likely the top spot in these rankings. — Mike McMahon

3. Pittsburgh Penguins (23-8-0, 46 points) (#5, Week Six):

I guess Billy Madison won’t have to send these penguins back to the South Pole. This team is on an outstanding ten game win streak. It is also worth mentioning that this team has done so without Evgeni “Geno” Malkin in the lineup. Geno is rumored to make his return this weekend, along with injured blue-liner Kris Letang. That is a very scary thought. Last week, I said the Pens would need to play tighter defense to keep winning games, which they have of late. The Rangers are creeping up, but Pittsburgh has the Atlantic Division on lockdown right now. — LR

4. Montreal Canadiens (20-5-5, 45 points) (#3, Week Six):

Their five game winning streak was snapped by the lowly Sabres in overtime on Tuesday night, but that is of little concern for the rejuvenated Canadiens. One of the bigger surprises in the Eastern conference this year, the Habs can prove that they are legit cup contenders this week with games against Pittsburgh, Boston, and the Rangers — MM

5. Boston Bruins (20-6-3, 43 points) (#4, Week Six): 

Two tough losses for the Bruins have the bandwagon “Trade Tuukka” and “Fire Claude” hashtags starting up on Twitter. Though both options are not feasible and a bit extreme, the “fans” need to direct ire somewhere. This is justly so, considering the B’s play in the final frame of games. The Bruins have not played well in the third period, winning 64% of games when leading after two. To put that in perspective, they have the third-worst rank in that category along side Edmonton (60%) and Colorado (54%). The April 3rd trade deadline is fast approaching, and it will be interesting this team looks when the dust settles. With Calgary basically out of contention for the playoffs, maybe the Bruins could scoop up Jarome Iginla? — LR

6. Los Angeles Kings (17-11-2, 36 points) (#16, Week Six): RobertoLuongoKings-IanLindsayPNG1lw

Two big games are coming up for the Kings next week, playing against the Canucks, with whom they are tied with in the Western Conference on Saturday and playing in Chicago on Monday. The Kings have struggled on the road with only a 5-8-1 record this season. The Chicago game will be a close indicator on what the Kings will look like in a playoff-like environment on the road. — MM

7. Ottawa Senators (16-9-6, 38 points) (#9, Week Six):

Despite all the injures, this team somehow keeps winning games. The Sens are getting outstanding netminding from Robin Lehner (.946 SV%, 1.90 GAA), while the 6’7″ Ben Bishop has been decent enough in relief. There is no indication that Craig Anderson is set to return anytime soon, which is a serious problem. This team will likely make the playoffs, but they rely on their goaltenders far too much. — LR

8. Vancouver Canucks (15-9-6, 36 points) (#8, Week Six):

Neck and neck with the Wild for the lead in the Northwest Division, the Canucks are expecting to end March on a high note after struggling for the majority of the month. Los Angeles will be a tough test for a team that has been struggling to find some consistency from their very talented roster. — MM

9.  St. Louis Blues (16-11-2, 34 points) (#12, Week Six): 

This team is solid on the power play, converting on 24% of their chances. Problem is, their netminders have been very sub-par. The former brick-wall tandem of Jaroslav Halak and Brian Elliott has crumbled. Meanwhile, 22 year-old Jake Allen has been playing a little better, with a 8-2-0 record and .946 save percentage. As Mike said in the Mid-Season Rankings, the Blues have potential, but their back-end play will cost them. — LR

10. Minnesota Wild (17-10-2, 36 points) (#16, Week Six):

We may be holding the Wild back here just a little bit. I look at the goal totals, and I am really surprised that this team has the record that they do, but I guess good defense wins hockey games. The offense is actually starting to come around a little bit at the hand of Devin Setoguchi who has tallied 8 goals so far in March. Ryan Suter’s assists are climbing. If they can get more consistent scoring from Zach Parise, the Wild will continue to hold steady in the playoff race. — MM

11. Carolina Hurricanes (15-13-2, 32 points) (#10, Week Six):

Let me start off by saying that it will be an absolute battle for the Southeast Division in the final stretch of the season. The Jets (16-12-2) have a two point advantage over the ‘Canes with 34 points, but both teams have very identical records. With Cam Ward out, this team is slowly imploding. In their last four, they have been outscored by a margin of 13-5, also including a comical 4-1 loss to Florida. I don’t know if they can weather this current storm, as the Jets are in a slightly better position in regards to netminding. — LR

12. Detroit Red Wings (14-11-5, 33 points) (#14, Week Six):

The Red Wings will face off twice with the Ducks this weekend and will try to hang on to a spot in the playoff picture.  Detroit will definitely be making noise come the trade deadline and is a very plausible landing spot for Jerome Iginla if Calgary decides to ship out the franchise legend. If that happens, the Central Division will get quite interesting. — MM

13. New Jersey Devils (14-11-6, 34 points) (#15, Week Six):

Martin Brodeur makes his return between the pipes Thursday night against the Canes, and just in the nick of time. Johan Hedberg is great as a backup goaltender, but his numbers have dropped since being thrust into the starting role. They’ll be outside the top ten for a week or so, but if Brodeur is back to top form, New Jersey will be back in the top ten by the end of the season. — LR

14. Toronto Maple Leafs (16-12-2, 35 points) (#7, Week Six):

A five-game losing streak and then a shootout loss to Buffalo brings the Maple Leafs down quite a bit this week, and it will not get any easier for Toronto, who sits 6th in the Eastern Conference. Two games verse the Bruins on Saturday and Monday will be quite the test for the young Maple Leafs trying to prove that they have staying power in the Conference. — MM

15. New York Rangers (15-13-2, 32 points) (#13, Week Six): 

The Pens haven’t slipped, but instead are in the middle of a massive streak. The Rangers are 6-4 in their last ten, so it’s tough to tell where they will finish this season. At any moment, they could turn red-hot. Also at any moment, they could slip out of the playoff picture. — LR

16. Winnipeg Jets (16-13-2, 34 points) (#23, Week Six): Winnipeg Jets goaltender Pavelec makes a save against the New Jersey Devils during the third period of their NHL hockey game in Winnipeg

The Jets currently hold the lead in the Southeast Division that has become incredibly interesting with the Canes losing Cam Ward and the woes of the Capitals. They possess a minus-10 goal differential. They face-off with the Hurricanes twice in the upcoming week and might be able to solidify themselves as the perennial favorite for the third seed out of the East. Blake Wheeler and Andrew Ladd have been playing very well for the Jets team that has a lot of unnoticed offensive talent. Also, with Cam Ward out in Carolina,  Ondrej Pavelec is the best goaltender in the division (YIKES!). — MM

17. San Jose Sharks (13-10-6, 32 points) (#11, Week Six): 

The slump continues for this team, with the month of March not going exactly well for San Jose. 4-4-2 in their last ten, the Sharks have a fight on their hands, with seven teams within six points of them. I still think the Sharks are in good shape compared to other teams in the West, and will finish the season in playoff contention. — LR

18. Phoenix Coyotes (13-14-4, 30 points) (#17, Week Six):

The Coyotes are only two points out from the 8th seed in the West but a five-game losing streak has really highlighted this teams struggles; the main one being they cannot find twine. Shutout three times in the recent slide, Shane Doan has been just about there only source of scoring. They have locked up  defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larrson long-term though, which is a positive for the future. — MM

19. Columbus Blue Jackets (12-12-6, 30 points) (#29, Week Six):

The Blue Jackets may have found the spark they were looking for. 7-0-3 in their last ten, they are suddenly in the playoff picture. Not sure if they can keep it up for the rest of the season though. On the bright side, they are making the playoff picture in the West very complicated. — LR

20. Dallas Stars (14-13-3, 31 points) (#18, Week Six):

An 8-1 loss to Chicago really just shows how top-heavy the Western Conference is because the Dallas Stars are just a point back from having the right to face Chicago (or Anaheim) in a seven-game playoff series. — MM

21. New York Islanders (13-14-3, 29 points) (#29, Week Six):

Not out of playoff contention, but the Isles are on the fringe. Five points within the 6, 7, and 8 seeds will make the Isles a team to watch in the coming weeks. With weak third and fourth lines, I would give a slight edge to the Flyers over the Isles to grab the eighth seed. — LR

22. Nashville Predators (12-13-6, 30 points) (#19, Week Six):

3-6-1 in their last ten games yet only two points out of of that coveted final playoff spot in the Western Conference. Are you seeing a theme here? The Predators still cannot score, and the defense that has kept them afloat has been struggling of late. — MM

23. Philadelphia Flyers (13-16-1, 27 points) (#22, Week Six):

Goaltending continues to plague this team, as Ilya Bryzgalov has been widly inconsistent. Don’t write them out of the playoffs just yet, but bells are looming for the Flyers. — LR

24. Edmonton Oilers (11-11-7, 29 points) (#25, Week Six):

The Oilers are hanging on for dear life in the West going just 3-4-3 over their last ten. For a team with a lot of young offensive fire power, Edmonton doesn’t score nearly enough goals. — MM

25. Tampa Bay Lightning (13-16-1, 27 points) (#21, Week Six):

Injures are going to be a problem for a team that relies solely on its offense to win games. Hopefully Steven Stamkos can get 200 goals this season to compensate. — LR

26. Colorado Avalanche (11-14-4, 26 points) (#24, Week Six):

After I boldly predicted a second half push, the Avalanche promptly dropped four straight and are now dead last in the Western Conference. Still convinced this is one of the better offenses in the West, but the defense is not up to snuff and goaltending is atrocious. — MM

27. Calgary Flames (11-13-4, 26 points) (#28, Week Six):

I think it’s time to rebuild in Calgary. Veterans are no longer producing, and the best idea would be offload the deadweight for fresh new faces before the trade deadline. Not out of the playoffs just yet, but losses are piling up. — LR

28. Buffalo Sabres (12-15-4, 28 points) (#27, Week Six):

The Sabres are fresh off a couple big overtime wins against the Canadiens and the Maple Leafs but they are still the bottom feeders in the deepest division in hockey this year. Thomas Vanek has just two goals in March. — MM

29. Washington Capitals (13-16-1, 27 points) (#26, Week Six):

Despite having one of the better goal horns in the NHL, the Caps don’t light the lamp consistently enough. Goaltending is poor and so is their defense. At least they aren’t Florida. — LR

30. Florida Panthers (9-16-6, 24 points) (#30, Week Six):

23-year-old goaltender Jacob Markstrom made 44 saves in a 3-1 win over the Rangers and is another positive sign for the future of the Florida Panthers along with Jonathan Huberdeau. The present though…. well, thats pretty rough. — MM

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