CHICAGO -- Despite a good run without captain Jonathan Toews, the Chicago Blackhawks remained No. 8 in ESPN.com’s weekly power rankings released on Monday. It’s the same position they held a week earlier.
Solid wins over the Columbus Blue Jackets and Vancouver Canucks were apparently negated by a disastrous 6-1 defeat to the Nashville Predators on Sunday. Even so, only one team, the Boston Bruins, passed the Hawks in the rankings. Boston moved from No. 12 to No. 7.
And for the first time in months the Hawks were ahead of the Detroit Red Wings. Detroit dropped to No. 9 from No. 7 based on a stretch of losing 8 of 9 before beating the Carolina Hurricanes over the weekend. The St. Louis Blues and Nashville are still the cream of the Central Division as they hold the No. 2 and No. 4 spots, respectively, in the rankings.
At the beginning of the season it would have been hard to imagine the Blues and Predators ahead of the Hawks and Red Wings with just two weeks remaining in the season, but that’s how the rankings look as teams are down to just a handful of games. The Hawks still have a chance at home-ice advantage in the first round which would undoubtedly put them ahead of both Nashville and Detroit.
They passed one rival, but can they pass another one? Nashville is 4-1 against the Hawks this season and that home ice, along with the final pre-playoffs rankings, might come down to their series finale on Saturday.