The Chicago Blackhawks retain top spot in the TSN.ca NHL Power Rankings, but they are just barely hanging on ahead of the surging Pittsburgh Penguins.
With a dozen straight wins, and a couple of trade acquisitions, the Penguins are loading up for a playoff run, but their current ranking takes into account the injury absences of centre Evgeni Malkin and defenceman Kris Letang, which are significant enough to prevent the Pens from taking the number one ranking from Chicago, even though the Blackhawks are dealing with some injuries of their own, missing Patrick Sharp and Marian Hossa.
Winners of four straight, the Vancouver Canucks have climbed from 16 to 13, while the Winnipeg Jets jumped from 19 to 15, not so much for last week's results, but more the return of top pair blueliner Tobias Enstrom.
Making the biggest move of the week, the Washington Capitals jumped from 28 to 17, not only because they are 4-1 in their last five games, but they've been bolstered by getting left winger Brooks Laich and defencemen Mike Green and Dmitry Orlov back from injury.
On a five-game slide, the Carolina Hurricanes slip from six to 12; one regulation win in the last nine positions the Sharks as possible sellers and they drop from 15 to 19. Philadelphia has one regulation win in the last eight and Colorado has lost six of seven, so those teams have sunk to 27 and 28 in the latest rankings.
Across Canada, the Montreal Canadiens are the highest-ranked team, at five, just ahead of the resilient Ottawa Senators at six. The Toronto Maple Leafs sneak back into the Top 10, at nine, while the Edmonton Oilers dip from 22 to 24.
The Calgary Flames, still suffering with substandard goaltending, are the lowest-ranked Canadian team, at 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.