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NHL Power Rankings, 1/27

01.26.10 at 10:30 pm ET

No 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.

1. (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.

2. (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.

3. (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.

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.

5. (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.

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

7. (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.

8 . (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.

9. (10) 30-18-5 The Coyotes rallied from a two-goal deficit for a big win in Detroit Tuesday.

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.

11. (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.

12. (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.

13. (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.

14. (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.

15. (11) 26-20-6 The bad times continue for the Flames, who have lost seven straight. Talk about underachieving.

16. (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.

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.

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

19. (23) 25-24-4 The Canadiens had a two-game winning streak snapped with a loss in Florida Tuesday.

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.

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).

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

23. (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.

24. (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.

25. (24) 23-21-8 The Thrashers ended a two-game losing streak with a 2-1 victory over Anaheim Tuesday.

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.

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.

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

29. (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.

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

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