NHL Power Rankings: Once Again, Chicago Blackhawks On Top
If you are in any way shocked to hear that NHL.com has placed the Chicago Blackhawks atop the Super 16 power rankings for the fourth week in a row, then I have some beachfront property in Arizona to sell you. Still sitting pretty at first in the Western Conference, the Blackhawks have a 12-0-3 record and seem to be doing pretty much everything right. Also a fun thing to note: since the team traded for Johnny Oduya last season, they have a 24-2-7 record when he’s in the lineup.
However, the Anaheim Ducks have finally been placed as high as I really think they should be–second place, right behind Chicago. On a four-game win streak, the Ducks lead the Pacific Division and aren’t terribly far behind Chicago in the conference. They have an 8-1-1 record in their last 10 games played and their rookie goalie Viktor Fasth was just named second star of the week ending Feb. 17. Part of that is because he’s won all eight of his first eight starts, which has only happened twice before in the history of the league.
Oh, by the way, Fasth was in net when the Ducks managed to beat the Blackhawks 3-2 in a shootout.
The Boston Bruins are still the highest-ranked Eastern team, dropping to third place from second. Part of that may be because of their recent loss to the Buffalo Sabres. Once again, their lack of production on the power play is mentioned, though with the angle of ‘imagine what could happen when they strengthen their power play and play at their very best,’ trying to spin it positively. There has been some weak play from the Bruins lately, but not all of it comes on the man advantage.
Some of the teams on the list jumped up a few spots, like the Montreal Canadiens flying up to eighth place when they were 13th last week. For a short time this past week, the Habs actually led the Northeast Division. The St. Louis Blues leaped up in the rankings too–with a little help from Jake Allen, the goalie who’s helped his team get a win streak going now.
The resurgent Carolina Hurricanes, who now lead the Southeast Division, came up from not being ranked at all and took 12th place. Two other newcomers to the power rankings: the Minnesota Wild (15th) and the Phoenix Coyotes (16th).
While I doubt the Blackhawks will move off of the top of the rankings any time soon–or I’d be shocked if it happens, considering how well they are performing right now–it’s always interesting to see whose stock is going up and whose stars are fading every week.