NHL Power 5: March 19

A new week of Power Rankings, a new team atop of the charts. Pittsburgh has been playing some of the best hockey in the league in the past month. They have been overshadowed by Chicago because of the start they got off to. They currently sit five points behind the Blackhawks for best record in the league but have played two more games. If there is anyone I’m willing to bet can catch them for the President’s Trophy, it’s the Penguins.

1.  Pittsburgh (LW: 2)- Sweeping Boston in their two-game set last week helped propel the Penguins to No. 1. They’ve been able to get scoring from Chris Kunitz in the absence of Evgeni Malkin a couple weeks ago. He’s been putting up some insane numbers, including being second in goals, points, and he’s also fourth in assists. Their defense is still a question mark, but they have held the opposition to 2.20 goals per game during the run. This week they take on Washington, New York Islanders and Philadelphia.


2. Anaheim (LW: 1)- Their five-game winning streak was stopped at the hands of the St. Louis blues in overtime. They also have 10 straight games with a point. This could be a statement week for the Ducks as they have five games at home, including two against San Jose, two against Detroit and Chicago sprinkled in there. If they want to become a contender, I expect no less than seven points.

3. chicago (LW: 3)- Most power rankings online still have the Blackhawks at No. 1. It’s fair to say they are among the best teams in the league. But they are still down here because recently the Ducks and Penguins are playing better (and have earned more points over their last 10 games). They rebounded back from the losses to Colorado and Edmonton with a shootout win over  Columbus and an 8-1 thrashing at Dallas. Another light week as they strangely don’t play over the weekend. After playing Wednesday’s game they don’t have another game until Monday.
4. Montreal (LW: 5)- Staying Alive by the Bee Gees is the theme this week for the Canadiens. They are hanging in the East standings alongside giants Pittsburgh and Boston. They’ve played less games than the other two, so it will be interesting to see how they stack up once they have played the same amount of games. They have rattled off five straight wins and a 7-1-1 record in their past nine and a 13-1-3 mark since being drilled 6-0 by the Maple Leafs on February 9. This week they square off with Buffalo twice at home with a road date on Long Island sandwiched in between.

5. Minnesota (LW: NR)- Before the season they were everyone’s team to beat. Everyone was bowing down to the altar that is the Minnesota Wild. This week they check in at No. 5 with four wins in their last five games. The only loss was to Anaheim when they failed to hold onto a 1-0 lead after two periods. In addition, The Wild haven’t lost to a team not named Blackhawks or Ducks since Feb. 23. Not too shabby by my standards. This week they face Detroit, San Jose, and Dallas. The game against the Red Wings will be 45 1/2 hours after the start time of their game at Vancouver. That’s difficult to travel that distance in such a short time span, which is something only Western teams experience.

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