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Blackhawks take over No.1 in NHL Power Rankings

Scott Cullen
1/6/2014 5:24:56 PM
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The defending champion Chicago Blackhawks have returned to the number one spot in the TSN.ca NHL Power Rankings, their first time in the top ranking since the preseason.

The Blackhawks have one regulation loss in their past 16 games and their surge, combined with a few injuries to the division-rival St. Louis Blues, gives Chicago top spot ahead of St. Louis and the Anaheim Ducks, who have lost once in their past 14 games. It's tough sledding to crack the top tier.

Getting healthier, with the returns of centre Evgeni Malkin and defencemen Brooks Orpik and Kris Letang, the Pittsburgh Penguins move up from seven to four.

Further down the list, the Toronto Maple Leafs move up from 20 to 16, going 4-1-2 in their past seven games, though that one -- a 7-1 home loss to the New York Rangers Saturday -- was particularly ugly.

The Leafs are one spot ahead of the rising Ottawa Senators, who have a 5-1-1 record in the past seven games, jumping from 25 to 17.

Despite losing centre Eric Staal to injury, the Carolina Hurricanes, winners of four straight, climb from 26 to 22.

Heading the other way, the Los Angeles Kings were unceremoniously dumped from top spot, having lost five of their past six games and sending goaltender Martin Jones back to the AHL.

The Tampa Bay Lightning sink from 14 to 21 after goaltender Ben Bishop, my midseason Vezina pick, suffered an upper-body injury.

Injuries have ravaged the lineup of the Minnesota Wild, as left winger Zach Parise, centre Mikko Koivu, defenceman Jared Spurgeon and goaltender Josh Harding are all on the injured list and that results in a drop from 15 to 23.

The New Jersey Devils, having lost Patrik Elias to injury again, sink from 19 to 26.

Among the rest of Canadian teams, the Vancouver Canucks fall from five to seven, a couple of spots ahead of the Montreal Canadiens.

The Winnipeg Jets gain a couple spots, from 16 to 14, while the Calgary Flames drop from 23 to 27 and the Edmonton Oilers remain at 28.

Scott Cullen can be reached at Scott.Cullen@bellmedia.ca and followed on Twitter at http://twitter.com/tsnscottcullen. For more, check out TSN Fantasy on Facebook.



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