CHICAGO -- One loss last week sent the Blackhawks toppling from the No. 1 spot in ESPN.com’s power rankings, though they didn’t fall far. They check in at No. 2 as Chicago and Boston flip-flopped.
The Hawks had a furious third-period comeback attempt against the Pittsburgh Penguins last week but lost that game, 3-2, before beating the Montreal Canadiens, 5-1 to close out their pre-Christmas schedule. Boston, meanwhile, left a lasting impression with an 8-0 drubbing of the Florida Panthers before hitting the holiday. The Bruins have won 20 of 23 games so it’s hard to argue their right to the top spot.
The Blackhawks deservedly continue to top central division teams though the St. Louis Blues aren’t going away. The Blues are up to No. 5 in the rankings while the Detroit Red Wings dropped to No. 7 due to some problems on the road. That could be good news for the Hawks, they play Detroit twice at the United Center in the span of 10 days coming up.
A win on Monday and the Hawks would become the first team in the NHL to reach 50 points, another good reason they are near the top of the power rankings.