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Penguins still at top of game as playoffs approach

by Dave Lozo
With just two weeks remaining in the regular season, it's still the Pittsburgh Penguins and everybody else.

The mighty Pens showed they were human for a brief moment this past weekend when they lost 8-4 to the Ottawa Senators. But it was just a blip on the radar screen, as they responded the following night with a 5-2 beating of the New Jersey Devils.

The top of the Super 16 remains virtually unchanged, but the Boston Bruins, Buffalo Sabres and Los Angeles Kings are on the rise in the bottom of the power rankings.

Here's this week's rankings, which, as always, are not as important as the real standings.

1 Pittsburgh (47-22-6) 1 Marc-Andre Fleury has one regulation loss since Feb. 15 and two regulation losses since Jan. 11. During that stretch, he is 22-2-2 and has allowed two goals or fewer 17 times.
2 St. Louis (47-20-9) 2 The Blues have allowed 139 goals in 76 games, putting them well on their way to breaking the record of 164 goals in 82 games set by the 2003-04 New Jersey Devils.
3 Philadelphia (44-23-8) 3
Following a 5-2 drubbing by the Rangers on Feb. 11, the Flyers fell to 13-9-5 at Wells Fargo Center. Since then, they are 10-2 at home and outscoring opponents 40-21.
4 Chicago (42-26-8) 4 Goaltender Corey Crawford was looking pretty sharp before being yanked after allowing four goals on 15 shots vs. Nashville on Sunday. Before that, he allowed eight goals in his previous 5 starts.
5 N.Y. Rangers (47-21-7) 6 Marian Gaborik needs 3 goals in the Rangers' final 7 games to reach 40 for the third time in the past five seasons. He has 101 goals in 213 games as a Ranger.
6 Nashville (44-24-8) 5
In his first three NHL games in nearly four years, Alexander Radulov has 1 goal and 2 assists. More notably, he topped the 20-minute mark in ice time the past two games, something that didn't happen in his last 47 games before his KHL sabbatical.
7 Vancouver (45-21-9) 7
Don't count the Canucks out of the Presidents' Trophy race. Six of their final seven games are home. Their final four games are against the Flames (twice), Ducks and Oilers.
8 Dallas (41-29-5) 9
While the Canucks enjoy the comforts of home, five of the Stars' final seven games are on the road. They close with a home-and-home with the Sharks, a trip to Nashville and a home date with St. Louis.
9 Boston (44-28-3) 13 In the latest edition of "Hey! The Bruins are back!" they have won four of five and do genuinely look back. Tim Thomas allowed six goals in his last four starts and the Bruins look hungry for the No. 2 seed in the East.
10 Buffalo (37-29-10) NR Heading into Tuesday's ultra-important showdown with the Caps, the Sabres have outscored opponents 17-5 during their four game win streak and are 9-2-2 in March.
11 Los Angeles (37-26-12) 12 The Kings had their six-game winning streak snapped by Boston on Saturday and will embark on a season-defining four-game road trip that starts in Vancouver tonight.
12 New Jersey (42-28-6) 8 The Devils have lost four of five, and that's not a good thing. Or is it? They look primed for the No. 6 seed, which arguably brings a more favorable matchup in the first round than finish fourth or fifth.
13 Colorado (40-31-6) 10 Time is running out on the Avs, who dropped two straight and have just five games left. A regulation loss in San Jose tonight could be devastating in their pursuit of the No. 8 seed.
14 Detroit (45-25-5) 14 It wasn't exactly a thing of beauty, but the Wings' 5-4 win against the Hurricanes on Saturday ended a six-game slide. Nicklas Lidstrom is back, and a home-and-home with Columbus awaits this week.
15 Ottawa (38-28-10) 11
About a minute ago, the talk was about the Sens pushing for a No. 2 seed in the East. Suddenly, they are only two points clear of ninth place and are no longer a sure bet for the playoffs.
16 San Jose (38-27-10) 16 It's tough to pin the blame for the Sharks' uneven season on Joe Thornton, especially lately. In his last 27 games, he has 6 goals and 24 assists -- and, over a briefer sample, 2 goals and 10 assists in his last 10 games.
If you have any problems, questions, anger or praise for this list, you can let me know on Twitter: @davelozo

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