After being outscored a combined 14-4 by Calgary and Edmonton over the weekend, maybe they should feel fortunate to drop only two spots in the rankings to No. 3.
The Hawks were flying high just a few games ago, winning four straight by a combined total of 13 goals but all that came crashing to an end in the span of 24 hours from Friday night to Saturday.
The Hawks are still a good team but if they want to stay an elite one -- and in the top 5 in the power rankings -- they’ll have to play better defense. At times this season they have looked lost in their own end and any NHL coach will stress defense over offense.
Surging hard are the St. Louis Blues. Up to No. 11 from No. 21, they are playing the kind of defense new coach Ken Hitchcock demands and it’s paying off. They are 4-0-2 under Hitchcock and only five points behind the Hawks with two fewer games played.
It doesn’t get any easier for Chicago on their current six-game road trip. The San Jose Sharks have taken over the top spot in the rankings and will host the Hawks on Wednesday. It’s simple, if the Hawks play better defense in their own end they’ll remain among the best teams in the league. But right now that’s easier said than done.
Jesse Rogers covers the Blackhawks for ESPN 1000 and ESPNChicago.com.