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Blackhawks finish atop Super 16

by Dan Rosen /

The Stanley Cup Playoffs are right around the corner, and the races are getting tighter and more heated with less than two weeks remaining on the schedule.

It's no different in the Super 16 power rankings, as the Chicago Blackhawks again reign supreme but positioning throughout is tightly contested. Outside of the slumping Minnesota Wild falling out completely this week -- they have lost three in a row and six of seven -- there's not much movement in the rankings.

How is each team shaping up with 13 days left in the regular season? Let's take a look:

1 1 Chicago Blackhawks: The Blackhawks went .500 in the last week of the season, but they could have gone winless and they still would have finished atop the final Super 16 of the season. They were the best team in the League from start to finish and have the Presidents' Trophy to prove it.
2 2 Pittsburgh Penguins: They went into the final period of the season locked in a 3-3 tie with the Carolina Hurricanes and came out 20 minutes later with an 8-3 win, their 23rd victory over their final 27 games. Like Chicago, it wouldn't have mattered what Pittsburgh did in the final week; it was going to finish No. 2.
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St. Louis Blues: St. Louis climbed from No. 8 two weeks ago to finish third in the Super 16 power rankings because it went 12-3 in April and won three in a row last week by a combined 10-3. T.J. Oshie is expected to be back for the playoffs.
4 6 Washington Capitals: Alex Ovechkin won the Maurice "Rocket" Richard Trophy with 32 goals, including 20 over the last 19 games of the season. Washington went 15-2-2 in those games to win the Southeast Division and finish third in the Eastern Conference.
5 3 Los Angeles Kings: After losing to both the Minnesota Wild and Detroit Red Wings earlier in the week, the Kings beat the San Jose Sharks on Saturday to clinch the fourth seed in the Western Conference. Dustin Brown has served his two-game suspension so he'll be ready to go for the playoffs.
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Montreal Canadiens: After losing five of six in regulation, the Habs closed the regular season with a pair of resounding victories. They beat the Winnipeg Jets, 4-2, and then dismantled the Toronto Maple Leafs, 4-1. It would appear that they rediscovered their game at the right time.
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Vancouver Canucks: Not only did they lose their last two games, including 7-2 to the Edmonton Oilers, the Canucks are again involved in a goalie controversy. They're not saying if Cory Schneider is healthy enough to start the playoffs, meaning Roberto Luongo could be in net for Game 1. Oh, the irony.
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New York Rangers: For all their inconsistencies this season, the Rangers went 10-3-1 in April and averaged 3.64 goals per game. Derek Stepan had eight goals and 11 assists in April to finish with a team-high 44 points.
9 14 Anaheim Ducks: Jonas Hiller went 2-1 with a .954 save percentage and 1.34 goals-against average over his final three starts. Did he do enough to earn the No. 1 job to start the playoffs? That remains to be seen.
10 NR Detroit Red Wings: The Red Wings opened last week needing four straight wins to make the playoffs for the 22nd straight season. They did it. Henrik Zetterberg had 10 points in the final four games. Pavel Datsyuk had seven in the last three.
11 9 Boston Bruins: It was an emotional finish for the Bruins based on everything that happened in Boston two weeks ago, but they had a chance to win the Northeast Division on Sunday and couldn't do it. They went 1-2-1 in the last week of the season.
12 13 Ottawa Senators: They beat the Bruins on Sunday for the first time in five meetings this season and avoided facing the Penguins in the first round. The Senators, who went 2-2 last week, will instead open against the Canadiens.
13 8 Toronto Maple Leafs: A 5-2 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning played a part in the Leafs drop in the power rankings. They beat the Florida Panthers, 4-0, but finished the season with a 4-1 loss at home to the Canadiens. Defense is still a concern.
14 10 San Jose Sharks: The Sharks lost three out of four, all by one goal, to finish the season and drop into sixth place in the Western Conference. They'll open the playoffs against the Canucks. They were 3-0 against Vancouver this season.
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Columbus Blue Jackets: They did all they could to stay in the playoff race until the bitter end. Columbus won three straight to close the season and eight of its last nine games. The Jackets missed by one point.
16 11 New York Islanders: The Islanders lost all three of their games in the final week of the regular season, but two were in a shootout and the other was by one goal in regulation. They just barely stayed in the Super 16 and now have to open the playoffs against the Penguins.

Just Missed: Minnesota, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Buffalo, Winnipeg


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