NHL Power Rankings: Blues suddenly red-hot

St. Louis Blues goalie Brian Elliott watches as a puck bounces off the crossbar while Los Angeles Kings' Kyle Clifford skates by.
April 11, 2013, 12:00 PM

The St. Louis Blues’ Western-best five-game winning streak defies some odds. Their current run includes back-to-back 1-0 shutouts, four road wins, and a defeat of the NHL-best Chicago Blackhawks.

St. Louis has been all kinds of streaky this season and could pose a serious threat come playoff time if Brian Elliott (or Jake Allen or Jaroslav Halak) gets in the zone.

Who cares if they only have two guys (household names Chris Stewart and Patrik Berglund) with more than nine goals?

Here are the latest Sportsnet.ca Power Rankings:

RANK

TEAM PREV

1

The first team to secure a playoff spot is enjoying yet another winning streak, and the highest-scoring team in the West is benefitting from great goaltending. Two of those three W’s were 1-0 shutout affairs. Oh, and did you hear? Patrick Sharp is healthy again.

1

2

The Penguins have regained their winning ways and have already clinched the Atlantic, previously believed to be the hardest division to win. James Neal (concussion) is out, which is scary news, but with Neal and Sidney Crosby back for the playoffs, look out.

2

3

The Ducks enjoyed a nice home stand, taking four of five and all but securing a playoff berth – if there was any doubt. Bad news for whoever draws the 7 seed: Leading scorer Ryan Getzlaf (lower body) is good to go.

3

4

Patrice Bergeron skated for the first time Tuesday since suffering a concussion. The Bruins, winners of five of six, have been cruising anyway, but they’ll need him back for April 30.

4

5

No more coin flipping. As long as he’s healthy, the Canucks have been giving Cory Schneider — two shutouts in his last four outings — those Bryzgalov-like minutes he’s always wanted. Vancouver has six points’ worth of breathing room from the Wild as they embark on a season-long road journey.

6

6

The Habs are led by a guy was signed late (P.K. Subban, 32 points) and brought in late via trade (Michael Ryder, also 32 points). Reliable backup Peter Budaj was re-signed this week at a reasonable $1.4 M-per-season rate. If you aren’t thinking Marc Bergevin is a finalist for GM of the Year, you should be.

5

7

Wait a sec. When did the Blues – five-game winning streak, kids — start playing like contenders again? When Brian Elliott patiently worked through his mini slump and started owning that cage. Back-to-back 1-0 shutouts is the brand of hockey that Coach Hitchcock dreams about.

18

8

Five wins in seven attempts makes everyone (sort of) forget that Joffrey Lupul may or may not be concussed and Jake Gardiner is a healthy scratch again. Even better: There are no shootouts in the postseason.

9

9

Yes, the Caps are red-hot, as the headlines tell you, but in their streak of seven games with a point, only one of those was earned against a team (Montreal) above them on this list.

17

10

Incredible at home, the Sharks’ four-game road trip got off to a shaky start when they were blanked by Sergei Bobrovsky’s Blue Jackets 4-zip.

7

11

All eyes are on Ovechkin and Stamkos. But the most prolific scorer in the West, Jeff Carter, has 23 goals, only three fewer than the East’s beasts. Regarded for their defence and goaltending, the Kings actually rank third in scoring in the West.

8

12

Isles alumnus Butch Goring: “It’s one thing to win big games and another to play like a winner. Isles playing like a winner.” The last time the Islanders were four games above .500? Feb. 28, 2008. Points in five straight.

19

13

Let me get this straight. The Stars trade away their captain (Brenden Morrow) and their leading scorer (Jaromir Jagr) and they get… better? By consecutively defeating the Ducks, Sharks and Kings, Dallas is still an eight-spot hopeful.

27

14

The Wild have likely lost Dany Heatley (shoulder surgery) for the season. They’ve also lost four of their last five games.

12

15

The NHL’s leader in GAA and save percentage has finally returned, but even Craig Anderson hasn’t been able to stop the skid. A season-worst five-game losing string.

10

16

As Ilya Bryzgalov answers questions about a potential amnesty buyout, his former backup, Sergei Bobrovsky, is busy chasing a Vezina and a playoff spot in Columbus

16

17

This version of the Red Wings is too thin to succeed if not running on all cylinders; their postseason streak is in danger. Darren Helm, Todd Bertuzzi, Mikael Samuelsson and Damien Brunner can’t get back to 100 per cent fast enough.

15

18

A team cannot survive on Rick Nash alone. The Rangers are scrambling to make the playoffs while scoring the fourth-fewest goals in the East, and playing without Marc Staal (eye) is not helping. Henrik Lundqvist deserves all the credit he gets.

16

19

“Don’t bury us yet,” scream Andrew Ladd’s Jets, who put together consecutive 4-1 victories over the Flyers and Sabres. Ladd himself scored to end a 13-game goal drought.

23

20

The Oilers’ season-high five-game winning streak has been supplanted by a four-game losing skid in which they mustered just two goals. Bright side: another lottery awaits.

11

21

It is time to call it: The Flyers will not qualify for the postseason. Losses to the very beatable Jets and Isles have sealed the team’s fate, and you can add Nicklas Grossman (concussion) to an injury list nine players long.

13

22

It took until April, but the Coyotes assembled a three-game winning streak and a perfect home stand against the Kings, Wings and Avs. Too bad they now hit the road.

26

23

Steve Ott asked Buffalo fans to stop booing this week because it created negative energy. Hmm… not sure this quite qualifies as a chicken-or-the-egg scenario. The good news is, leading scorer Thomas Vanek is back in the lineup.

24

24

Ex-Senator Ben Bishop outdueled Craig Anderson this week, but Steven Stamkos’s lead on the Rocket Richard Trophy has now been completely closed by the red-hot Alex Ovechkin.

20

25

The only Eastern team with fewer wins than the Devils’ 15 is Florida, with 13. Overtime and shootout losses will only get you so far. And with Ilya Kovalchuk out, the Devils are working on an ugly eight-game skid.

21

26

They’ve all been tight, one-goal victories, but the Panthers have scraped together wins in four of their last five. Spring has been kind to the East’s cellar dwellars.

25

27

Tough drawing the Blackhawks three times in 15 days, but the Preds – losers of four in a row – cannot score for the life of them. Shea Weber and David Legwand lead the team in points.

22

28

Best cure for a five-game skid? A date with the Avalanche. Unfortunately for Calgary, the Flames drew the Canucks next.

29

29

Quick: If the Hurricanes – losers of 13 of their last 14 — and Avalanche were to face off right now, who would win? Thanks to intra-conference-only play, we will be saved such a snoozefest.

28

30

“Look at that! It’s like the Eiffel Tower, only, y’know, smaller.” – Random Avs player, pulling up to Paris, Las Vegas

30

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