The Pittsburgh Penguins have continued on its torrid pace over the last month and currently sit just one point behind the New York Rangers for the top seed in the Eastern Conference.

In KP’s most recent edition of NHL Power Rankings, the Penguins jump three more spots, and into the top spot.  Following the Penguins and rounding out the top five are the Vancouver Canucks, St. Louis Blues, New York Rangers and Philadelphia Flyers.

The high risers and freefallers of the week also feature a stat line that supports why each team is moving in the direction that it’s currently moving in.

evgeni-malkin-and-the-penguins-are-fired-up

Evgeni Malkin and the Pittsburgh Penguins have been doing a lot of celebrating lately – and for good reason

KP’s NHL Power Rankings: March 19, 2012

*Stats and figures as of Sunday evening, March 18, 2012

1. Pittsburgh Penguins – 44-21-6 – 94 points (138 points) – Last Week: #4

Sunday’s overtime setback against the Flyers was the first loss for the Penguins since February 19th.  As a team, the Penguins currently crack the top ten in goals per game (2nd – 3.1 goals per game), goals against (9th – 2.5), power play percentage (7th – 19.4) and penalty kill percentage (3rd – 89.3).  With Sidney Crosby also recently returning to the ice, Pittsburgh should be considered the current Stanley Cup favorite.

2. Vancouver Canucks – 43-20-8 – 94 points (134 points) – Last Week: #1

3. St. Louis Blues – 46-19-8 – 100 points (124 points) – Last Week: #2

4. New York Rangers – 44-20-7 – 95 points (122 points) – Last Week: #3

5. Philadelphia Flyers – 42-22-8 – 92 points (113 points) – Last Week: #7

6. Boston Bruins – 41-27-3 – 85 points (113 points) – Last Week: #5

7. Detroit Red Wings – 44-24-4 – 92 points (102 points) – Last Week: #6

8. Nashville Predators – 42-22-8 – 92 points (99 points) – Last Week: #8

9. New Jersey Devils – 41-26-5 – 87 points (83 points) – Last Week: #9

10. Chicago Blackhawks – 40-25-8 – 88 points (68 points) – Last Week: #13

Winners of three straight games and 7-2-1 over its last ten games, the Blackhawks saw a solid boost this week.  If not for an abysmal 15-18-3 away record, Chicago would be higher up the list.  Also impressive is Chicago’s victories from last week, knocking off the Blues in a shootout, beating the Stars on the road and trouncing the Capitals at home.

11. Ottawa Senators – 37-26-10 – 84 points (68 points) – Last Week: #11

12. Dallas Stars – 39-28-5 – 83 points (67 points) – Last Week: #10

13. San Jose Sharks – 36-25-10 – 82 points (66 points) – Last Week: #14

14. Los Angeles Kings – 35-25-12 – 82 points (62 points) – Last Week: #15

15. Phoenix Coyotes – 36-26-11 – 83 points (61 points) – Last Week: #12

ray-whitney-on-phoenix-coyotes-bench

Ray Whitney and the Coyotes are fighting for a playoff spot in the Western Conference

The Coyotes are teetering on the edge of the Western Conference playoff picture, as five teams are two points apart, with only two earning spots.  But as the regular season winds down, Phoenix is floundering, with just three wins in the month of March.  This week, the Coyotes have three critical games against teams that are also fighting for a playoff spot, specifically the Stars, Avalanche and Sharks.

16. Colorado Avalanche – 39-30-5 – 83 points (54 points) – Last Week: #16

17. Florida Panthers – 35-23-13 – 83 points (47 points) – Last Week: #18

18. Calgary Flames – 34-26-13 – 81 points (32 points) – Last Week: #19

19. Washington Capitals – 36-30-6 – 78 points (29 points) – Last Week: #17

20. Winnipeg Jets – 34-30-8 – 76 points (20 points) – Last Week: #21

21. Montreal Canadiens – 28-32-13 – 69 points (16 points) – Last Week: #22

22. Buffalo Sabres – 33-29-10 – 76 points (12 points) – Last Week: #20

23. Toronto Maple Leafs – 32-32-8 – 72 points (12 points) – Last Week: #23

24. Carolina Hurricanes – 29-29-15 – 73 points (8 points) – Last Week: #24

25. Anaheim Ducks – 30-32-11 – 71 points (-6 points) – Last Week: #25

26. Tampa Bay Lightning – 32-32-7 – 71 points (-7 points) – Last Week: #26

27. Edmonton Oilers – 28-36-8 – 64 points (-20 points) – Last Week: #28

28. Minnesota Wild – 29-32-10 – 68 points (-24 points) – Last Week: #27

29. New York Islanders – 29-32-11 – 69 points (-25 points) – Last Week: #29

30. Columbus Blue Jackets – 23-42-7 – 53 points (-71 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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