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NHL Power Rankings: Blueshirts Hold Top-Five Spot; Devils, Isles Improve, But Still Among The Bottom Third

When it comes to the New York-area hockey teams, there continues to be one that has risen above the rest. The hockey experts have spoken, and again, the New York Rangers occupy a top-five position in the RCS Power Rankings, which is compiled after averaging the rankings of seven popular media outlets around the Internet. The New Jersey Devils improved two spots to 23rd, while the New York Islanders inched up a spot to 26th.

Even in a "down" week, the New York Rangers were able to grab five of the possible eight points this past week, losing twice (Toronto Maple Leafs) in regulation), but once in the shootout (Tampa Bay Lightning). The experts only slid the Rangers down one position, meaning they are slowly earning some credibility in the hockey world as a top-tier team. The Devils, meanwhile, took two of their three games -- barely, winning once in overtime against the Maple Leafs, another in the shootout against the Ottawa Senators -- but they have to show more consistency to really make the pundits recognize them. The Islanders took home three of the possible six points, which is a step in the right direction, this past week, losing in a shootout to the Chicago Blackhawks and 6-3 to the Pittsburgh Penguins. The Long Island bunch needs to start putting together efforts where they aren't blown out every other day, and then they will start to make some headway. They have a negative-26 goal differential on the season.

The week for the local squads has already begun. The Blueshirts are in a battle with the Dallas Stars and will play three times -- against Western Conference teams -- altogether this week, twice on the road. New Jersey began their week with a win against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Monday, and as part of a four-game week is currently taking on the Florida Panthers. It will have two games on the road and two at home. The Islanders are also playing Tuesday -- against the Montreal Canadiens -- and will play three times before the week is out. All three locals will be playing the Stars this week.