The NHL’s regular season has hit its final week, with five playoff spots still technically up for grabs, along with two division crowns.

Much like last week, only three teams fell into the “Movers and Shakers” department, with the Dallas Stars being this week’s big loser, falling six spots.  On the other side, the Ottawa Senators were the week’s big winner, jumping three spots.

With just a handful of games remaining in the regular season, the Vancouver Canucks – riding a six-game win streak – vaulted back into the top spot, followed by the Boston Bruins, New York Rangers, Pittsburgh Penguins and St. Louis Blues.

Here’s how the teams fell into place, with the “Movers and Shakers” featuring an explanation for each team’s rise or fall:

henrik-sedin-celebrates-with-vancouver-teammates

The Vancouver Canucks return to first in the most recent NHL Power Rankings at The Wife Hates Sports

KP’s NHL Power Rankings: April 2, 2012

*Stats and figures as of Sunday evening, April 1, 2012

1. Vancouver Canucks – 49-21-9 – 107 points (151 points) – Last Week: #2

2. Boston Bruins – 47-28-4 – 98 points (145 points) – Last Week: #4

3. New York Rangers – 50-22-7 – 107 points (140 points) – Last Week: #3

4. Pittsburgh Penguins – 48-25-6 – 102 points (124 points) – Last Week: #1

After holding the top spot in the rankings last week, the Penguins have struggled, losing four of six, including back-to-back losses to the Islanders, where Pittsburgh gave up a combined ten goals.  A 6-4 loss at the hands of its inner-state rivals, the Flyers, and Pittsburgh is floundering heading into the final week of the regular season.  The current standings in the East also are signaling that an opening round grudge match between Pittsburgh and Philadelphia is likely.

5. St. Louis Blues – 48-21-10 – 106 points (121 points) – Last Week: #5

6. Philadelphia Flyers – 46-24-9 – 96 points (117 points) – Last Week: #6

7. Detroit Red Wings – 47-27-5 – 99 points (99 points) – Last Week: #8

8. Nashville Predators – 45-26-8 – 98 points (92 points) – Last Week: #7

9. New Jersey Devils – 45-28-6 – 96 points (87 points) – Last Week: #10

10. Los Angeles Kings – 39-27-13 – 91 points (80 points) – Last Week: #12

11. Chicago Blackhawks – 44-26-10 – 98 points (79 points) – Last Week: #9

12. Ottawa Senators – 41-28-10 – 92 points (79 points) – Last Week: #15

Struggling just a few weeks ago, Ottawa has rebounded to win four straight games, while also clinching a playoff berth.  Over its last four games, the Senators have outscored its opponents 23-12.  Two wins during the recent win streak were also against quality Eastern Conference opponents in Pittsburgh and Philadelphia.  Ottawa has also won three straight road games.

13. Phoenix Coyotes – 39-27-13 – 91 points (71 points) – Last Week: #14

14. San Jose Sharks – 40-29-10 – 90 points (67 points) – Last Week: #13

15. Florida Panthers – 37-25-17 – 91 points (44 points) – Last Week: #17

16. Colorado Avalanche – 41-33-6 – 88 points (42 points) – Last Week: #16

17. Dallas Stars – 42-32-5 – 87 points (39 points) – Last Week: #11

The Stars picked the wrong time to go as cold as the ice the team plays on.  Last week, Dallas dropped three of four games, giving up 14 goals during the stretch.  The struggles led to the Stars relinquishing its division lead to the Kings, while also falling out of the playoff picture entirely.  Heading into the final week of the regular season, Dallas currently sits ninth in the Western Conference, just one point behind the Sharks, who it plays on Tuesday night.  After the rough week, Dallas fell six spots in the rankings, aided by three road losses and a lot of goals against.

18. Washington Capitals – 40-31-8 – 88 points (38 points) – Last Week: #18

alexander-ovechkin-washington-capitals-scorer

Alexander Ovechkin and the Capitals hold a two-point lead over the Sabres for the 8th spot in the East

20. Calgary Flames – 35-29-16 – 86 points (8 points) – Last Week: #20

21. Winnipeg Jets – 36-34-9 – 81 points (7 points) – Last Week: #21

22. Toronto Maple Leafs – 34-36-9 – 77 points (1 point) – Last Week: #22

23. Carolina Hurricanes – 31-32-16 – 78 points (0 points) – Last Week: #24

24. Edmonton Oilers – 32-38-9 – 73 points (0 point) – Last Week: #25

25. Montreal Canadiens – 29-35-15 – 73 points (-2 points) – Last Week: #23

26. Anaheim Ducks – 33-35-11 – 77 points (-4 points) – Last Week: #26

27. Tampa Bay Lightning – 36-35-7 – 79 points (-9 points) – Last Week: #27

28. Minnesota Wild – 34-35-10 – 78 points (-13 points) – Last Week: #29

29. New York Islanders – 33-35-11 – 77 points (-17 points) – Last Week: #28

30. Columbus Blue Jackets – 27-45-7 – 61 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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