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Blackhawks inching way back to the top

11/29/2010
ESPN.com Illustration

ESPN.com's weekly power rankings have the Chicago Blackhawks back near the top.

The Hawks check in at No.4, their highest since opening week. And it's a 10-spot improvement from seven days ago.

Winning four of six on a Western Canada/Southern California trip isn't easy, but the Hawks proved the road isn't a major obstacle for them to overcome.

The Central Division has been on a roll in previous rankings, but this week only Chicago and Detroit are in the top nine.

The Hawks remain behind the Wings, who once again check in at No.1. They took Columbus down a notch by sweeping the Blue Jackets over the weekend. It dropped the previously surging Jackets to No. 10.

The Hawks' own surge moved them past St. Louis Blues, who dropped considerably again, from No. 11 to No. 17. Nashville also was on the move, down from No. 13 to No. 21.

The other team making a big move was Pittsburgh. The Penguins won six in a row to jump from No. 12 to No. 5. The Washington Capitals and Philadelphia Flyers are ranked second and third, respectively.

Despite snapping a 14-game winless streak, the New York Islanders remain safely entrenched at No. 30 to bring up the rear of the rankings.