Monday, November 14, 2011
Power Rankings: Hawks make their move
By Jesse Rogers
The Blackhawks have turned things around quicly to climb the Power Rankings.
CHICAGO -- And Just like that, the Chicago Blackhawks have taken over the No. 1 spot in ESPN.com's weekly Power Rankings.
After decent but inconsistent play for the first month, the Hawks climbed the ladder over the last week, moving up from a comfortable No. 6 ranking.
They surged to the top after three consecutive wins at the end of a grueling stretch of seven games in 11 days. That's impressive, and so is how they won the games.
No longer are the Hawks squeaking by with overtime/shootout victories or blowing leads only to come back and win. They are doing it the right way, with a diverse attack.
In each of the last three games they've jumped out to leads and either held firm or extended them. In fact the last three wins have each been by three goals. That's how you take over the No.1 spot and impress the rest of the hockey world. Getting points is one thing but dominating play turns heads, and the Hawks have been doing just that.
What's remarkable is the quickness of the turnaround. In losing three in a row just before winning three, the Hawks struggled in almost every phase of the game but that changed almost overnight. Line combinations were jumbled as was the personnel on the power play and things began to click. And the defense seemingly had an epiphany remembering they can contribute on offense. It's transformed the Hawks, but the hold on the No. 1 spot is a precarious one.
Other teams near the top -- like Pittsburgh (2) and Dallas (4) -- have probably been more consistent from the start of the season until now, but the rankings are based on the previous week and the Hawks dominated the final four days to take over at the top.