The Pittsburgh Penguins gained a little bit of breathing room and continue to sit in first place in this week’s edition of NHL Power Rankings at The Wife Hates Sports.

The movement over the last week was far from dramatic, with only two teams falling into the “Movers and Shakers” category (where each either rose or fell three or more spots in the poll).

With less than two weeks in the regular season, the aforementioned first place Penguins continue to play solid hockey, with the Canucks, Rangers, Bruins and Blues rounding out the top five.  St. Louis, despite holding the highest points total in the NHL, dropped two spots to fifth.

Here’s how the teams fell into place, with the “Movers and Shakers” featuring an explanation for its rise or fall, along with the upcoming schedule for the top five teams, and how each team is lined up over the next seven days.

sidney-crosby-pittsburgh-penguins-star

Sidney Crosby recently returned to the ice, and the Pittsburgh Penguins – sitting alone on top of this week’s NHL Power Rankings – haven’t skipped a beat

The Wife Hates NHL Power Rankings: March 26, 2012

*Stats and figures as of Sunday evening, March 25, 2012

1. Pittsburgh Penguins – 47-22-6 – 100 points (141 points) – Last Week: #1

Upcoming Week: vs NYI, @ NYI, @ BUF, vs PHI

2. Vancouver Canucks – 45-21-9 – 99 points (133 points) – Last Week: #2

Upcoming Week: vs LAK, vs COL, vs DAL, vs CAL

3. New York Rangers – 47-21-7 – 101 points (129 points) – Last Week: #4

Upcoming Week: @ MIN, @ WIN, vs MON, vs BOS

4. Boston Bruins – 44-28-3 – 91 points (128 points) – Last Week: #6

Upcoming Week: vs TB, vs WAS, @ NYI, @ NYR

5. St. Louis Blues – 47-20-9 – 103 points (124 points) – Last Week: #3

Upcoming Week: vs NAS, @ CHI, vs COL

6. Philadelphia Flyers – 44-23-8 – 96 points (113 points) – Last Week: #5

7. Nashville Predators – 44-24-8 – 96 points (98 points) – Last Week: #8

8. Detroit Red Wings – 45-25-5 – 95 points (98 points) – Last Week: #7

9. Chicago Blackhawks – 42-26-8 – 92 points (76 points) – Last Week: #10

10. New Jersey Devils – 42-28-6 – 90 points (75 points) – Last Week: #9

11. Dallas Stars – 41-29-5 – 87 points (70 points) – Last Week: #12

12. Los Angeles Kings – 37-26-12 – 86 points (69 points) – Last Week: #14

13. San Jose Sharks – 38-27-10 – 86 points (65 points) – Last Week: #13

14. Phoenix Coyotes – 37-27-13 – 87 points (64 points) – Last Week: #15

15. Ottawa Senators – 38-28-10 – 86 points (61 points) – Last Week: #11

Ottawa posted a monstrous 8-4 win over the top-ranked Penguins on Saturday evening, but the rest of the week – and last two weeks, for that matter – have been a bit of a struggle.  In three games prior to the win over Pittsburgh, the Senators managed just two goals, including a 5-1 loss to Montreal, a team buried at the bottom of the Eastern Conference.  On top of that, a once solid playoff cushion is getting rather tight, as the Senators hold just a two-point edge over the Capitals and Sabres, and currently sit in the 7th spot in the East.

16. Colorado Avalanche – 40-31-6 – 86 points (47 points) – Last Week: #16

17. Florida Panthers – 36-24-15 – 87 points (46 points) – Last Week: #17

18. Washington Capitals – 38-30-8 – 84 points (39 points) – Last Week: #19

19. Buffalo Sabres – 37-29-10 – 84 points (36 points) – Last Week: #22

The red-hot Sabres (7-1-2 over its last ten games) are this week’s biggest mover, jumping three spots.  Buffalo has won four straight games, outscoring its opponents 17-5 during that span.  The Sabres currently sit in the 9th spot in the Eastern Conference, but with a win over Washington on Tuesday night, Buffalo would jump back into the 8th slot.

20. Calgary Flames – 34-27-15 – 83 points (22 points) – Last Week: #18

21. Winnipeg Jets – 35-32-8 – 78 points (9 points) – Last Week: #20

22. Toronto Maple Leafs – 33-34-9 – 75 points (7 points) – Last Week: #23

23. Montreal Canadiens – 29-34-13 – 71 points (7 points) – Last Week: #21

24. Carolina Hurricanes – 30-31-15 – 75 points (1 point) – Last Week: #24

25. Edmonton Oilers – 31-36-9 – 71 points (1 point) – Last Week: #27

26. Anaheim Ducks – 32-33-11 – 75 points (-1 point) – Last Week: #25

27. Tampa Bay Lightning – 34-33-7 – 75 points (-10 points) – Last Week: #26

28. New York Islanders – 31-33-11 – 73 points (-18 points) – Last Week: #29

29. Minnesota Wild – 31-34-10 – 72 points (-25 points) – Last Week: #28

30. Columbus Blue Jackets – 24-44-7 – 55 points (-78 points) – Last Week: #30

* All stats per NHL.com and ESPN.com

Note: RED = Falling 3+ spots from last week, GREEN = Rising 3+ spots from last week

The Wife Hates Sports’ NHL Power Rankings system has a method to its madness, attempting to be different and not just rank by popularity and record.  It mixes a secret formula of six completely different categories, meshed into a points system.  The categories don’t just include team results regarding record, but how each team has performed recently, as well as incorporating some statistics on both a team’s offense and defense, too.

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