Bruins back on top of NHL Power Rankings

Scott Cullen

11/21/2011 4:57:56 PM

The defending champs have returned to the top of the heap, an eight-game winning streak vaulting them to the top of the NHL Power Rankings for the first time since the pre-season rankings were released.

After starting the season slowly, prompting concerns of a Cup hangover, the Bruins have been unstoppable, winning those eight games by a margin of 41 to 14, giving Boston a plus-25 goal differential for the season, easily the best mark in the league.

There were several teams making big moves up -- and couple falling off the proverbial cliff -- this week.

San Jose moved from ninth to third, racking up an 11-2-1 record in the last 14 games and doing so, most recently, with their big offseason acquisitions (Martin Havlat and Brent Burns) producing less than expected.

One regulation loss in their last 11 games helped lift the Predators from 12th to sixth in the rankings and while it's not news that Predators defenceman Shea Weber is great, that he leads the NHL with a plus-14 rating in ten games this month is noteworthy.

Minnesota's goaltending remains a dominant factor and four straight wins moved the Wild from 17th up to 10th. The Wild have allowed more than two goals just twice in the last 11 games; not so coincidentally, the only two losses Minnesota has suffered in that span.

Exceptional penalty-killing in November and one regulation loss in the last six helped the Montreal Canadiens move from 21 to 15, despite a rash of injuries on the blueline.

The two teams that fell off dramatically were the Washington Capitals and Dallas Stars.

Alexander Ovechkin hasn't managed a point in the last four games, all Capitals losses, while Washington has been outscored 16-5. Changes may be coming and soon if the Caps don't shake out of this tailspin, one that saw them plummet from four to 19 this week.

The Stars have dropped five straight, by a lopsided 21-4 margin, so they dropped from six to 20 in this week's rankings. Tough times in Big D.

Among the other Canadian teams, the Vancouver Canucks linger in 11th, still not asserting themselves consistently, but possibly getting healthier as left winger Mason Raymond nears a return.

Edmonton's blowout win Saturday was enough to move up from 14 to 13, but there were a lot of losses leading up to that point. Likewise, Toronto gained a spot, rom 19 to 18, after Saturday's blowout of the Capitals.

Ottawa moves up from 26 to 23, having a 3-0-1 record in the last four games. Calgary and Winnipeg round out the Canadian contingent in 25th and 26th spot, respectively.

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