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Blackhawks, Penguins remain League's top teams

by Dave Lozo /

The Chicago Blackhawks remain the class of the West while the Pittsburgh Penguins continue to reign supreme in the East.

But in this week's Super 16 power rankings, it's once again the Blackhawks who are on top.

The Montreal Canadiens take a tumble, while the Los Angeles Kings are looking like defending champions as the regular season winds down.

Here are the rest of this week's penultimate power rankings:

1 1 Chicago Blackhawks: Just when it looked like Ray Emery was seizing control of the No. 1 goalie duties down the stretch, he suffered a lower-body injury. Corey Crawford has stepped up by allowing eight goals in his past four starts (3-0-1).
2 2 Pittsburgh Penguins: The Penguins lost two straight after winning 15 in a row and were dealing with a rash of injuries. Still missing many of their big guns, they have won six straight and secured the top seed in the Eastern Conference.
3 5
Los Angeles Kings: Jonathan Quick's disappointing season -- at least compared to last season -- is ending on a very strong note. He is 4-0-1 in his past five starts and has allowed nine goals (.931 save percentage) over that stretch.
4 4 Vancouver Canucks: In nine games since the acquisition of Derek Roy, the Canucks are 6-2-1 and on the verge of a third straight Northwest Division title. He has just two goals and three assists, but Roy provides the Canucks center depth few teams have.
5 8 St. Louis Blues: The Blues are 9-3-0 in their past 12 games and Brian Elliott has been at the heart of it. He is 8-2-0 during the run, with a 1.37 goals-against average and .947 save percentage. There still is no timetable for the return of Jaroslav Halak (groin).
6 11
Washington Capitals: The Caps are 9-1-0 in April, and it's largely due to Braden Holtby's stellar play in net. He gave up five goals in a win against the Lightning on April 13, but has allowed four goals in his past three games.
7 3
Montreal Canadiens: Despite five losses in seven games, they remain in the hunt for the Northeast Division title and the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference. They close with three road games -- in New Jersey, in Winnipeg and in Toronto, in a potential first-round series preview.
8 6
Toronto Maple Leafs: In their past four games, the Leafs have been outshot by a combined 157-86. They won twice behind stellar showings from goaltender James Reimer, but the Leafs haven't outshot an opponent since March 28, a span of 10 games.
9 7 Boston Bruins: The Bruins ended a four-game winless skid with a 3-0 win against the Panthers, capping an unimaginably difficult week in Boston. They finish the season with four games in six days, including their home finale against the Senators on April 28.
10 10 San Jose Sharks: Their 4-3 loss to the Blue Jackets on Sunday was just the Sharks' second regulation defeat at home all season. With three games left, however, it seems likely that they will be opening the postseason on the road.
11 14 New York Islanders: Barring a collapse, the Islanders are heading to the playoffs for the first time since 2007. During their current 11-1-2 push, John Tavares has established himself as a Hart Trophy candidate with eight goals, four assists and the shootout winner against the Jets on Saturday.
12 13 New York Rangers: An 8-2-1 mark in April has the Rangers looking pretty secure for a playoff berth. Ranked 30th offensively entering the month, the Rangers lead the League in April goals with 41 goals.
13 15 Ottawa Senators: If the Senators are to avoid falling out of the top eight, it won't be easy. Three of their final four games are against the Bruins, Penguins and Capitals, with the fourth occurring at home against the Flyers.
14 9 Anaheim Ducks: The Ducks ended a four-game winless slide with a 3-1 win in Edmonton on Sunday. Their only two victories since April 8 have come against the Oilers, making the Ducks seem like a vulnerable target for a first-round upset.
15 NR
Columbus Blue Jackets: Their six-game road trip that easily could've broken the Jackets ends in Dallas on Thursday. They're 4-1-0 on the trip, and their game against the Stars could be for a postseason spot.
16 16 Dallas Stars: A 1-2-1 week may have torpedoed their chances at the No. 8 seed in the West, but their final three games include dates with Detroit and Columbus. If the Stars close 3-0, they have a very good chance at the playoffs.

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


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