<
>

No surprise in NHL Power Rankings

10/26/2010

ESPN.com’s weekly Power Rankings have been released, and as you would expect after a weekend of losing, the Chicago Blackhawks have dropped a couple of places from the week before landing in 10th.

It doesn’t help that Friday and Saturday losses were to division rivals, one of which -- St. Louis -- has climbed back in front of the Hawks at No. 6. The Blues have only one loss in regulation and are coming off a pretty good home weekend sweep of their own: Chicago and Pittsburgh, on back-to-back nights. That’s the last two Cup winners.

But the story of this week’s rankings are not the Hawks or the Blues, but who sits at the top. Two more Central division teams lead the way. The Detroit Red Wings, at 5-1-1, are predictably off to a good start and once again the Nashville Predators are doing what they always do -- hang around.

At 5-0-3 the Predators are right behind Detroit in the rankings and right behind the Hawks in one goal games played. Seven of eight for Nashville have been decided by one goal. Their record? 4-0-3. The Hawks have played eight of ten decided by a goal and they're just 4-3-1.

That makes four Central division teams in the top 10 and it makes repeating as division winner that much harder for Chicago.

Behind the league’s leading scorer, Steve Stamkos, the Tampa Bay Lightning jumped from 12th to third in the rankings while quietly the Dallas Stars are off to a good start to land in fourth. The Penguins round out the top 5.