Power Rankings: Hawks crack Top 10

CHICAGO -- The Chicago Blackhawks are finally closing the gap on their Western Conference and Central Division foes in newly released Power Rankings from ESPN.com.

After several weeks on the outside of the top 10, the Hawks check in at No. 8, just behind the Detroit Red Wings (No. 7) and the Nashville Predators (No. 6). Their huge come-from-behind win over the St. Louis Blues last week set them up nicely for two more wins against weaker competition. Dallas and Washington may or may not be playoff bound, but they looked inferior to the Hawks in losing rather easily 4-1 and 5-2. Or maybe the Hawks looked that much better.

By getting off to hot starts in both games -- they led 2-0 early -- the Hawks proved the wins weren’t of any flukish variety, a label that might apply to a team scrambling for a late win or a point in the standings. It wasn’t long ago that Hawks had that label attached to their style of play. They made an emphatic statement on the ice last week and moved up three places in the rankings for doing so.