The St. Louis Blues have returned to the top spot in the TSN.ca NHL Power Rankings, just ahead of the rising Anaheim Ducks and last week's No. 1, Chicago Blackhawks.
The Blues outscored opponents by 20 goals during a recent seven-game winning streak (halted Friday by Vancouver) and are expecting a return from their best player this season, left winger Alexander Steen, who has been sidelined by a concussion.
With goaltender Ben Bishop slated to return from injury, the Tampa Bay Lightning vault up from 21 to 12, their highest ranking since early November (in a related story, Steven Stamkos was injured November 11).
8-2-1 in their past 11 games, the New York Rangers have been climbing after a slow start, and are up to 14 from 18 last week, matching their preseason ranking as their highest for the season.
Seven wins in 10 games has helped lift the Columbus Blue Jackets, from 24 to 17 this week, who have also had their lineup bolstered recently by goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky and right winger Nathan Horton coming back from injury.
Heading the other way, the Dallas Stars have dropped six straight games and fell from 12 to 18, while the Nashville Predators, with one win in the past seven games, are down from 15 to 22.
The Toronto Maple Leafs got thumped but good, outscored 21-7 in a four-game span prior to Sunday's shootout win, and dropped from 16 to 23, while the Winnipeg Jets were outscored 24-14 during a five-game losing streak that cost head coach Claude Noel his job and knocked the Jets down from 14 to 24 in the rankings.
Among other Canadian teams, the Vancouver Canucks remain the highest-ranked, at seven, three spots ahead of the Montreal Canadiens, who are down one spot to 10.
The Ottawa Senators are up one, from 17 to 16, same goes for the Edmonton Oilers, from 28 to 27, and the Calgary Flames are crashing, down from 27 to 29.
Scott Cullen can be reached at Scott.Cullen@bellmedia.ca and followed on Twitter at http://twitter.com/tsnscottcullen. For more, check out TSN Fantasy on Facebook.