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NHL Power Rankings, 1/27

01.26.10 at 10:30 pm ET

pr_header2No changes among the six-pack atop or the five at the bottom of our rankings, but plenty of shuffling in the middle of the pack as the fight for playoff spots begins in earnest.

San Jose Sharks1. (1) 35-10-8 The Sharks bring a five-game winning streak into a super elite contest against the Blackhawks Thursday. They also have outscored the opposition 26-7 during the five wins. Get ready, Hawks.

Chicago Blackhawks2. (2) 35-13-4 The Blackhawks head into San Jose for that Thursday battle with the Sharks with wins in four of their last six prior to a contest in Edmonton Tuesday night.

Washington Capitals3. (3) 34-12-6 Thoughts of being a legitimate Stanley Cup contender are growing in D.C., as the Caps have won seven straight. Alex Ovechkin had a nine-game points streak — with seven goals and 13 assists — end in a 7-2 win on Long Island Tuesday.

New Jersey Devils 4. (4) 34-16-1 The Devils managed to end an 0-for-23 stretch on the power play during a 4-2 win over the Islanders Saturday. Zach Parise ended a five-game goal-scoring drought and now has three goals in his last two games.

Minnesota Wild5. (5) 30-14-7 Say what you want about the Bruins struggles, but the Sabres went 1-3-1 during a West Coast trip last week, a poorer showing than the B’s 1-1-1 trek through California. Hey — it’s something.

Colorado Avalanche6. (6) 30-15-6 Six wins a row for the Avalanche. A great story that’s getting even better.

Vancouver Canucks7. (8) 32-18-2 OK, we were slow to catch on. But it’s a bit surprising to see Henrik Sedin now leading the league in scoring. The Canucks have won five straight, and Sedin has contributed four goals and eight assists during the winning streak. Yeah, that’s good.

Pittsburgh Penguins8 . (9) 33-20-1 The Penguins showed that when push comes to shove, they can still grind out some tough wins, such as a 2-1 victory in Philadelphia Saturday. Goalie Marc-Andre Fleury returned after missing four games with a finger injury to make 28 saves in a 4-2 victory over the Rangers Monday.

Phoenix Coyotes9. (10) 30-18-5 The Coyotes rallied from a two-goal deficit for a big win in Detroit Tuesday.

Los Angeles Kings 10. (11 ) 30-19-3 The young Kings passed a big test with a win in Detroit Saturday. They’ll arrive at the TD Garden for game four of key five-game road trip Saturday.

Nashville Predators11. (7) 29-20-3  A resilient Predators squad may have hit a wall — a 4-2 loss in Columbus Tuesday was Nashville’s fourth straight defeat.

Detriot Red Wings12. (14) 25-18-9 The Red Wings need to make the best of home games against Phoenix and Nashville before embarking on a five-game road trip later this week.

Ottawa Senators13. (13) 29-21-4 A prior weakness has become a strength, as Senators goalie Brian Elliott was named the NHL’s First Star for the week that ended Sunday. Elliott went 4-0, including a pair of wins against the Bruins, while posting a 1.25 goals-against and a .957 save percentage.

Philadelphia Flyers14. (17) 26-22-3 A 2-1 loss to Pittsburgh Sunday temporarily derailed the Flyers’ climb back among the top eight in the East. Look for them to remain among the playoff eight.

Calgary Flames15. (11) 26-20-6 The bad times continue for the Flames, who have lost seven straight. Talk about underachieving.

Anaheim Ducks16. (21) 24-22-7 OK, how many of you thought the Ducks were dead? Yet, there they are, 8-2 in their last 10 games entering play Tuesday, and knocking on the playoff door.

Dallas Stars 17. (20) 22-19-11 The Stars hope to have top forwards Brenden Morrow and Jere Lehtinen back when they host Calgary Wednesday. The two missed a three-game road trip during which Dallas went 1-2.

Boston Bruins 18. (15) 23-20-8 A four-day break should be just what the Bruins need to regroup and get their act together.

Montreal Canadiens19. (23) 25-24-4 The Canadiens had a two-game winning streak snapped with a loss in Florida Tuesday.

New York Rangers 20. (19 ) 24-22-7 After getting shut out in consecutive losses, the Rangers finally scored two goals Monday … but still dropped a 4-2 contest to Pittsburgh.

Minnesota Wild 21. (19) 25-23-4 The Wild ended a four-game losing streak beating Columbus Saturday. Steady forward Andrew Brunette has a three-game point streak (1 goal, 2 assists).

New York Islanders22. (18) 23-22-8 Tough sledding for the Islanders, who dropped a 7-2 contest to the Caps Tuesday.

St. Louis Blues23. (25) 23-21-8 Disappointing second-year forward Patrick Berglund ended a 13-game goal-less steak with a tally against Calgary Monday. A resurgent effort by Berglund could help the Blues’ chances for getting in the playoff mix.

Florida Panthers24. (22) 23-21-9 The Panthers were having some serious goal-scoring issues, with just one goal in their last four games before finding just enough offense for a 2-1 win over Montreal Tuesday.

Atlanta Thrashers25. (24) 23-21-8 The Thrashers ended a two-game losing streak with a 2-1 victory over Anaheim Tuesday.

Tampa Bay Lightning 26 . (26) 21-20-10 Tampa Bay has won three of four, with the Lightning power play clicking for five goals over the four games.

Columbus Blue Jackets 27. (27) 21-25-9 They are struggling, but the Blue Jackets were slick enough to grab a win in Boston. On Tuesday, they also beat Nashville.

Toronto Maple Leafs28. (28) 17-27-10 The Leafs’ winless streak reached four with a 5-2 loss to Los Angeles on Tuesday.

Carolina Hurricanes29. (29) 16-28-7 We said it here first — the Hurricanes were not the worst team in the league. Now, the facts back us up.

Edmonton Oilers30. (30) 16-28-6 Officially the bottom of the barrel.

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