Sharks just ahead of Blackhawks in NHL Power Rankings

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TSN.ca Staff
11/30/2009 3:16:12 PM
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Just when it looked like the San Jose Sharks were going to fall off their perch at the top of the TSN.ca NHL Power Rankings, they rallied to turn back the threat from their primary challengers, the Chicago Blackhawks.

When the Blackhawks stormed into San Jose last Wednesday and, on the strength of three shorthanded goals in under eight minutes, defeated the Sharks 7-2, the rankings were all set for a new number one.

"This is humbling," Sharks coach Todd McLellan said after the game. "When you're not prepared to play and you're not alert, those things can happen, especially when you're playing, perhaps, the top team in the NHL."

But then the Sharks turned around and won their next two games, and brought right winger Devin Setoguchi and defenceman Rob Blake back from injury, while the Blackhawks dropped two games in Southern California, giving the Sharks a reprieve.

Continuing their surprising climb, the Atlanta Thrashers moved into fourth spot this week.  They're playing with fire, allowing a lot of shots against, but the league's highest-scoring team is getting great goaltending to back up their high-powered attack.

Making a move into the Top Ten, the Pittsburgh Penguins are much healthier than they've been in recent weeks and, coming off Saturday night's blowout of the Rangers, Crosby and Co. are poised to challenge the teams at the top.

On the second page of the rankings, the Anaheim Ducks made a big move up to 20th spot, on the heels of an undefeated week and the apparent resurrection of Jean-Sebastien Giguere as a quality starting goaltender.

Heading in the other direction, the Detroit Red Wings continue to struggle and have dropped into the second half of the rankings.  The Colorado Avalanche, New York Rangers and Columbus Blue Jackets are also headed south on the rankings this week.

The Philadelphia Flyers, who have now lost five of six, also suffered a big drop in the rankings, barely clinging to a spot in the Top Ten after climbing as high as third.

On the Canadian front, Calgary holds the highest ranking, sixth, a couple of spots better than the now-healthy Vancouver Canucks.

There's little competition for the struggling Carolina Hurricanes in 29th spot, particularly since the next two -- Toronto and Minnesota -- have shown relative signs of life lately.

For more on the TSN.ca NHL Power Rankings, check out On the Fly on the NHL Network Tuesday evening.

Johnson checks Hossa (Photo: The Canadian Press)

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(Photo: The Canadian Press)
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