PITTSBURGH, PA - NOVEMBER 23: Head Coach Ken Hitchcock of the St. Louis Blues shouts instructions to his team during a game against the Pittsburgh Penguins on November 23, 2011 at CONSOL Energy Center in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. St. Louis defeated Pittsburgh 2-1 in overtime. (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)
The Blues have seen their record and their public perception turn around considerably since coach Ken Hitchcock took over.
The St. Louis Blues (11-8-2, 24 pts) are not only surging up the Central Division Standings, they are also gaining ground in NHL Power Rankings across the web. Just a few weeks ago, the Blues were in the middle of a surprise coaching change and had only 12 points, third least in the Western Conference.
Now, the Blues are just 3 points behind the Chicago Blackhawks, after being 7 points behind earlier this month, and have worked themselves midway up most Power Rankings.
ESPN Power Rankings: No. 11, last week 21
The Blues have jumped a whopping 10 spots at ESPN, now teetering on the top 10 rankings. The defense, it would appear, has played a major part:
The Blues have earned points in all six games (4-0-2) since Ken Hitchcock has taken over behind the bench. Overall, they're tops in the league in allowing only 25.6 shots against per game.
FOXSports Power Rankings: No. 17, last week 23
At FOXSports, the Blues earned a strong gain of six slots, and the coaching change receives its due here:
The Blues haven’t lost in regulation since Ken Hitchcock took over, and remain one of the better five-on-five teams in the NHL.
CBSSports Power Rankings: No. 18, last week 22
A week ago, CBSSports had one of the more optimistic rankings of the Blues. This week, they appear the most skeptical. They, too, though, credit Hitch for a portion of the improvement:
Since Ken Hitchcock took over behind the bench the Blues have allowed five goals in six games, including two shutouts.