Playoffs Power Rankings: Blackhawks down while Penguins, Predators, Blues are way up

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There were more than a few surprises during the first week of the playoffs -- and a thus a lot of movement in the playoff power rankings:

1. (Last week: 3) Pittsburgh Penguins

Rookie Jake Guentzel rocks. The injury-riddled Penguins have pushed a very good Columbus Blue Jackets team to the brink with three consecutive wins -- thanks largely to the previously unheralded 22-year-old's four-goal, one-assist outburst.

2. (8) St. Louis Blues

The Blues might not be the better team in their first-round matchup with the Minnesota Wild, but they have the hottest goaltender on the planet in Jake Allen, who has stopped 114 of 117 shots to give the Blues a commanding 3-0 series lead.

3. (12) Nashville Predators

How many of you had the Predators shutting out the powerful Chicago Blackhawks twice in a row at the United Center to start this series? GM David Poile, you don't count. This series has been the surprise of the playoffs so far. Kudos to Pekka Rinne for his strong play in net to pace the Preds.

4. (4) Edmonton Oilers

Did you wonder whether Connor McDavid and the Oilers would wobble after they lost their first playoff game since 2006, in overtime? Well, you shouldn't have. Edmonton has rebounded for two consecutive wins -- including a gritty 1-0 shutout on Sunday in San Jose -- to take a 2-1 series lead.

5. (5) Anaheim Ducks

The Calgary Flames haven't won in Anaheim since Lord Stanley was in diapers (OK, they've actually just lost 29 consecutive games there, but still). So it's no surprise that the Ducks are up 2-0 in this series -- even if they are hurting on defense and have been outplayed for long stretches.

6. (10) Montreal Canadiens

The Canadiens are another team that rebounded impressively after dropping the playoff opener. Alexander Radulov, playoff hero. Who would have guessed?

7. (1) Washington Capitals

This series has been lightning-fast, with the Toronto Maple Leafs evening things with a double-overtime goal in Game 2. But the Caps are still loaded -- and a force to be reckoned with -- as the series shifts to Toronto knotted at 1-1.

8. (16) Toronto Maple Leafs

Too young to compete? Don't tell the Leafs, who have earned this spot after a split in Washington. Defensive issues and lack of production from Auston Matthews are concerns for Toronto.

9. (15) Ottawa Senators

The Sens continue to push back when adversity strikes, and their comeback win thanks to Dion Phaneuf's overtime winner on Saturday was yet another example. A tip of the stick to Senators winger Clarke MacArthur for his perseverance.

10. (14) Boston Bruins

The Bruins are banged-up, and they'll need goalie Tuukka Rask to improve if they are to get the better of the never-say-die Senators.

11. (11) New York Rangers

The Rangers' surprisingly tepid effort in their Game 3 loss at home is a concern. And some offense would help take the pressure off Henrik Lundqvist to be perfect between the pipes.

12. (9) San Jose Sharks

The compromised offense -- and health -- of key contributors Joe Thornton and Logan Couture are major reasons the Sharks have fallen behind an Edmonton team that seems to grow more confident by the day.

13. (13) Calgary Flames

Will the Flames take solace in the fact that they played well in Anaheim, or does the fact that they couldn't take advantage of their strong play suggest this series will be over in a hurry? Over to you, Calgary.

14. (2) Chicago Blackhawks

Hello? Anyone home? The Hawks scored zero goals to start this series at home and now head to Nashville, where the crowd will be rocking. I still don't think anyone believes this is over, though.

15. (7) Columbus Blue Jackets

The Blue Jackets' discipline has been an issue, as they have yet to find an answer to the Penguins and face being swept. Columbus needs more in net from regular-season star Sergei Bobrovsky.

16. (6) Minnesota Wild

Three goals in three games? No wonder Minnesota's frustration is in the red zone. The Wild are staring at an improbable first-round sweep at the hands of goalie Jake Allen and the resilient Blues if they don't get it together.