NHL Power Rankings: Week 26 | Hockey | CBC Sports

Hockey Night in CanadaNHL Power Rankings: Week 26

Posted: Wednesday, March 28, 2012 | 05:26 PM

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Goaltender Antti Niemi prepares to make a glove save for the San Jose Sharks, who have won three games in a row to jump into playoff contention. (Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images) Goaltender Antti Niemi prepares to make a glove save for the San Jose Sharks, who have won three games in a row to jump into playoff contention. (Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

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Three straight wins have propelled the Sharks from the dangerous territory of not making the playoffs to third in the Western Conference and up seven spots in our weekly NHL power rankings.

The Pittsburgh Penguins missed a step this week with a loss at home to the New York Islanders, but the St. Louis Blues keep blanking opponents. So they get the nod to move into top spot of our weekly NHL power rankings.

Blues head coach Ken Hitchcock has quite a decision to make on who will be his starting goaltender in the playoffs. Jaroslav Halak has the experience in taking the Montreal Canadiens to the Eastern Conference final two years ago. Elliott has performed in only four NHL postseason games, but has the better regular-season stats in nine less starts. Elliott is 23-9-3 with a 1.48 goals against average and .943 save percentage to Halak's numbers of 25-11-6, 1.90 and .927

Which team do you think is No. 1?

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St. Louis Blues 1. ST. LOUIS BLUES (48-20-9) Halak and Elliott have combined to match the modern day record of shutouts for a team in a season, set by Tony Esposito and Chicago back in 1969-70. (Last Week: 2)
Pittsburgh Penguins 2. PITTSBURGH PENGUINS (47-23-6)They're dealing with another injury to defenceman Kris Letang, and were surprised at home by the New York Islanders this week. (Last Week: 1)
New York Rangers 3. NEW YORK RANGERS (48-21-7) Wins in four of their past five games have the Rangers giving the Blues a run for the Presidents' Trophy. (Last Week: 3)
Vancouver Canucks 4. VANCOUVER CANUCKS (46-21-9)Three wins in a row since losing Daniel Sedin to a concussion and losing in Chicago have cooled the concerns in British Columbia. (Last Week: 6)
Philadelphia Flyers 5. PHILADELPHIA FLYERS (44-24-8)Now they're dealing with a fractured foot injury to goalie Ilya Bryzgalov. He's day-to-day and the Flyers hope the prognosis is accurate.(Last Week: 4)
6. CHICAGO BLACKHAWKS (42-26-9) They have lost defenceman Duncan Keith to a five-game suspension and still don't have captain Jonathan Toews back in the lineup.(Last Week: 5)
Nashville Predators 7. NASHVILLE PREDATORS (44-25-8) Nashville Predators (44-25-8) Alexander Radulov has a goal and three points in the four games since his return, but the Predators have gone only 2-2-0 since his return.(Last Week: 7)
Boston Bruins 8. BOSTON BRUINS (45-28-3) The Stanley Cup champs are playing much better these days as evident by their three-game win streak. (Last Week: 10)
Detroit Red Wings 9. DETROIT RED WINGS (46-25-5) The Red Wings have been getting healthier with the return of Nicklaus Lidstrom and may get back Johan Franzen on Wednesday. (Last Week: 12)
10. NEW JERSEY DEVILS (43-28-6) The shootout kings, 12-4 in the penalty-shot competition, are just three more shootout wins shy of the Oilers record from 2007-08. (Last Week: 11)
Florida Panthers 11. FLORIDA PANTHERS (37-24-15) The Panthers continue to inch closer to their first playoff berth since 1999-2000. (Last Week: 9)
Buffalo Sabres 12. BUFFALO SABRES (38-29-10) On Feb. 17, they were in 14th in the East, 10 points back of the eighth-place Leafs. After a 14-2-3 run, they're now eighth, 11 points ahead of the 14th-place Leafs. (Last Week: 17)
13. SAN JOSE SHARKS (39-27-10) Three wins in a row have propelled the Sharks from the dangerous territory of not making the playoffs to third in the Western Conference. (Last Week: 20)
Dallas Stars 14. DALLAS STARS (41-20-5) The Stars need to get their act together after they have dropped four of their past six games. (Last Week: 8)
Ottawa Senators 15. OTTAWA SENATORS (39-28-10) The streaky Senators have trended upwards again, but they need a strong finish here to secure a playoff spot. (Last Week: 15)
16. PHOENIX COYOTES (37-27-13) We feel sorry for this bunch. The speculation has begun about a possible relocation for this franchise. They have dropped three of four. (Last Week: 16)
Los Angeles Kings 17. LOS ANGELES KINGS (37-27-12) All of sudden they can't score again. They have been blanked in 10 games, which ties them with the Islanders for the most this season. (Last Week: 13)
18. COLORADO AVALANCHE (40-32-6) The heat may be getting to this young team. They have lost three in a row to Phoenix, Vancouver and San Jose. (Last Week: 14)
Washington Capitals 19. WASHINGTON CAPITALS (38-31-8) Nicklas Backstrom is on the verge of a return, but it may be too late after an embarrassing loss to Buffalo at home on Tuesday.(Last Week: 18)
Calgary Flames 20. CALGARY FLAMES (35-27-15) They kept alive their slim playoff hopes with a win over Dallas this week, but they have to keep piling up the points. (Last Week: 19)
Winnipeg Jets 21. WINNIPEG JETS (35-33-8) A 6-4 loss to the Senators at home on Monday have pushed the Jets to the brink of being mathematically eliminated from the playoff race. (Last Week: 27)
Carolina Hurricanes 22. CAROLINA HURRICANES (31-31-15) The Hurricanes have won five of seven outings to keep themselves in the playoff mix, even if the possibility of a postseason berth is remote. (Last Week: 22)
Anaheim Ducks 23. ANAHEIM DUCKS (32-33-11) A loss to the Sharks at home on Wednesday would eliminate the Ducks from playoff contention.(Last Week: 23)
Tampa Bay Lightning 24. TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING (35-34-7) Steven Stamkos is providing some late season excitement for Tampa Bay with five goals in three games to reach 55. (Last Week: 25)
New York Islanders 25. NEW YORK ISLANDERS (32-33-11) The Lady Byng campaign has started for Matt Mouson. He has 34 goals, 64 points and only six penalty minutes.(Last Week: 24)
Edmonton Oilers 26. EDMONTON OILERS (31-36-9) Their late-season success has been tempered by the news that Taylor Hall is out for the rest of the season to undergo shoulder surgery. (Last Week: 27)
Toronto Maple Leafs 27. TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS (33-35-9) For seven years in a row this team hasn't made the playoffs. Enough said.(Last Week: 26)
Montreal Canadiens 28. MONTREAL CANADIENS (29-34-14) Last in the East, we wonder if the 15th spot will be up for grabs when the Leafs visit Montreal on final day of the regular season. (Last Week: 29)

29. MINNESOTA WILD (31-35-10) The Wild's second-half blahs have continued with three losses in a row. (Last Week: 28)

Columbus Blue Jackets 30. COLUMBUS BLUE JACKETS (24-45-7) They're finishing the season with a whimper, having lost six of their past eight outings. (Last Week: 30)

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