Updated: January 26, 2015, 1:29 PM ET

Hawks back to work


By Pierre LeBrun (posted Jan. 26, 2015)

The Chicago Blackhawks responded to last week's Power Rankings demotion very well. The Winnipeg Jets continued to be one of the best stories in the NHL. The St. Louis Blues are just awesome. The Toronto Maple Leafs? Aye, oy and other words we can't use.

Rk(LW)TeamRec
1
St. Louis
29-13-4
Hopefully for the Blues, the All-Star break didn't dull their momentum. Ken Hitchcock's men were 7-0-1 rolling into the break. They take on their division leaders, Nashville, on Thursday night to open the second half.
2
Anaheim
31-10-6
Another team that just keeps rolling, 7-1-0 in January and a busy week ahead with road games in Vancouver and San Jose, and a juicy home date with Chicago.
3
Chicago
30-15-2
I pushed my preseason Cup pick down to eighth last week in the rankings so that I could wake them up. It worked. You're welcome, Hawks fans. Now comes a tough six-game road trek though L.A., Anaheim, San Jose, Minnesota, Winnipeg and St. Louis.
4
NY Islanders
31-14-1
Bring on the Rangers, baby, bring on the Rangers. Perfect way to open the post-All-Star break part of the season.
5
NY Rangers
31-14-1
This is the team that comes up the most when I ask Western Conference team execs about the Eastern club that scares them the most.
6
Nashville
30-10-5
They have lost two of three games since Pekka Rinne was shelved, although the Predators deserved a better fate last week in Montreal before the break. Still, the question remains: Where will this team be when Rinne finally returns?
7
Tampa Bay
30-14-4
I am mesmerized when I watch this team play by the team speed they bring shift after shift. They come at teams in waves, and it's overwhelming on some nights.
8
Montreal
29-13-3
Went into the break with wins over the Islanders and Predators. And yet still people question this team, in part because of what the analytics say. When Carey Price is in goal, it doesn't matter what the analytics say. Hart Trophy winner? At this point, maybe.
9
Detroit
27-11-9
The Red Wings have not missed a single beat since losing goalie Jimmy Howard, winning five straight heading into the All-Star break. They open post-break with road games in both Florida markets before hosting the Islanders on Saturday.
10
Winnipeg
26-14-8
How do you not love this team? Five straight wins as the Jets continue to defy expectations. Great team chemistry, solid goaltending, terrific coaching, everything you want in a blue-collar squad that could be a dangerous first-round foe. They begin the post-break slate at Pittsburgh with yet another chance to make a statement.
11
Boston
25-16-7
Dropped two of three games heading into the All-Star break. Tough game coming up next in Long Island on Thursday night.
12
Pittsburgh
26-12-8
Played the Blackhawks tough in an overtime loss just before the All-Star break, but overall there's something off about the Penguins' game over the past few weeks.
13
Washington
24-13-9
Three straight losses to enter the All-Star break. Busy week ahead with Columbus, Pittsburgh and Montreal on the docket.
14
Vancouver
26-16-3
Decent 3-2-0 road trip before the All-Star break and now a six-game homestand to open things up post-break. It begins with a big one Tuesday night versus the first-place Anaheim Ducks.
15
Calgary
25-19-3
Went an impressive 4-1-0 before the All-Star break on a road trip, which took them through Vancouver, Arizona, San Jose, L.A. and Anaheim. The post-break slate begins with a gimme at home versus the NHL's worst team, Buffalo.
16
San Jose
25-17-6
The Sharks are such a funny team this year, you never know what youre going to get. They lose to Calgary and New Jersey but then beat the Kings just before the All-Star break. Flip a coin with this team, folks.
17
Los Angeles
20-15-12
Can you believe the Kings went into the break winning only twice in 11 games (2-4-5)? I mean, when is this Kings nightmare going to end and when are the real Cup champs going to turn it on?
18
Colorado
20-18-10
The Avs went 5-2-2 in their final nine games before the break to creep within three points of a playoff spot. Give them credit, just two months into the season it seemed impossible to even talk playoffs.
19
Dallas
21-18-7
Oh baby, tough go to start the post-break slate with road games at Montreal, Ottawa and Winnipeg. The Stars can't afford too many losing streaks from here on in.
20
Florida
20-14-10
The All-Star break couldn't come soon enough for the Panthers, who lost four straight before the schedule was paused. They begin things this week with home games versus Detroit and Columbus before a Saturday road game at New Jersey.
21
Minnesota
20-20-6
The Wild need to get on a serious win streak to salvage this season. They begin the post-break slate with a three-game trek through Edmonton, Calgary and Vancouver.
22
Ottawa
19-18-9
The Senators are 10 points out of a playoff spot and pondering what went wrong. Management truly felt they were a team capable of competing for a wild-card spot.
23
Columbus
20-22-3
Fantastic job as All-Star weekend hosts by a hockey market that more people need to realize is for real. Love this place.
24
Carolina
16-25-5
I'm not sure it's what's best for the Hurricanes at this point, but they went 6-2-1 this month before the break.
25
Philadelphia
19-22-7
Will be curious to see how aggressive GM Ron Hextall is before March 2 in terms of beginning his long-term moves.
26
Toronto
22-23-3
If most Leaf fans had their way, judging from the call-in shows, Toronto would lose every single game the rest of the way to get a better shot in the draft lottery. And maybe they're right to want that.
27
New Jersey
17-22-8
It is not in Lou Lamoriello's DNA to want to lose games, but it's what is best for his franchise right now.
28
Arizona
16-25-5
Six losses in a row before the break. The road trip continues now through Philadelphia, Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal and Columbus.
29
Edmonton
12-26-9
Said an NHL scout the other day: "They're a more structured team now under Todd Nelson. I see growth there."
30
Buffalo
14-30-3
Nothing like a franchise-record 11-game losing streak to put on pause during the All-Star break!

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