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NHL Power 5: April 9
- Updated: April 9, 2013
This week we have a new team atop of the Power Rankings. Pittsburgh fell short of the record for most consecutive wins when they fell last week against Buffalo and New York Rangers. They allowed 10 goals in those two games, the same amount allowed in their last 10 games combined. On the bright side they have officially clinched a playoff spot. With the division title likely, they can use the rest of this month to focus on battling Boston and Montreal for best record in the East.
1. Montreal (LW: 2)- This might make me the victim of numerous reader emails but it’s the Canadiens who take the top spot this week. They have won five of their last six games played. They currently have a one-point lead in the division over Boston, a team they have owned this year with a 5-1 record over their Original Six rivals. Who will step up on defense now that Alexei Emelin is out for the season with a torn knee ligament? Tonight begins a stretch of five games in nine days, so there is very little time to rest or think about the game that occurred the night before.
2. Chicago (LW: 3)- Most of the other power rankings around have the Blackhawks as No. 1. They have been playing pretty well as of late, but they haven’t been able to put on a consistent run of results since the undefeated streak ended. I was surprised they didn’t do much at the trade deadline, but if there’s a roster to feel confident in heading to the playoffs it is this one. Although they have clinched a playoff spot, they can’t rest as this weeks opponents Minnesota, Detroit, and St. Louis are all fighting for prime playoff position.
3. Pittsburgh (LW: 1)- Now that the winning streak is over, the Pens can focus on the goals that lay ahead of them: winning the President’s Trophy and having the best record in the East. While there is still no timetable for Sidney Crosby’s return, Pens fans fan breathe easier knowing that he doesn’t suffer from any concussion-like symptoms. I can’t wait to see Jarome Iginla settle in more with Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Chris Kunitz. They will be the team to watch in the playoffs should Crosby return then.
4. San Jose (LW: 5)- The Sharks had a seven-game winning streak come to an end Sunday but still managed to come up with a point in a shootout loss to Dallas and are 8-1-1 in their past 10. In an era of the NHL where goalies are splitting time more than ever, it’s Antti Niemi who accounts for 19 of the teams 20 wins this season. He’s gonna be a finalist for the Vezina Trophy by virtue of playing in 34 of the teams 38 games. They better clinch a playoff spot quickly to give him rest to prevent playoff burnout. This week they begin a four-game road trip that begins in Columbus and takes them to Detroit, Dallas, and Phoenix.
5. Washington (LW: NR)- Take every team and compare their last 10 games played. The Sharks and Capitals have earned 17 points each, most among all teams in the league. The Southeast Division lead has been a game of musical chairs and the Caps now have the lead by two points over the Jets. Is this team finally clicking on all cylinders? Is Alex Ovechkin catching his scoring stride just before the playoffs? He’s tied Steven Stamkos for the league lead at 25. This week they visit Montreal before hosting Carolina, Tampa Bay, and Toronto.