NHL Power Rankings 2011: St. Louis Blues On The Rise

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.

For more coverage of the NHL, be sure to check out SB Nation Hockey or the Blues blog St. Louis Game Time.

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