CHICAGO -- Sometimes it's not hard to figure where the Chicago Blackhawks will rate in ESPN.com’s weekly Power Rankings. Not surprisingly the Hawks, who have lost five straight, dropped to No. 11 after one week of post All-Star break play.
They were No. 9 coming out of the break but dropped out of the top third in the league for the first time since early in the season. Despite a good overall record their defensive woes are glaring and worrisome in a sport where traditionally defense wins in the playoffs. The Hawks rank 25th in the NHL in goals given up per game as well as second to last in the Western Conference in that category.
For weeks the entire Central Division, outside of woeful Columbus, was within a spot or two of each other in the rankings, but the Hawks have fallen far behind Detroit (No. 2), Nashville (No. 4) and St. Louis (No. 5). All those teams play better defense and have better goaltending than the Hawks -- by a wide margin. It’s a reason the Hawks could have trouble in the playoffs, and it’s the reason they are far behind in the weekly power rankings.