Beware of Penguins

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A little more than three weeks remain, still plenty of time for bubble teams to climb off their slippery surfaces and get into the terra firma of Playoffland. As for Thursday's premier game between the Penguins and Rangers, we can only hope the possible return of Sidney Crosby leads to his being healthy through a playoff run. With that said, we give you this week's SI.com NHL Power Rankings.

A DISCLAIMER (of sorts): These rankings are based not just on each team's record, but an empirically tested formula that includes a) realistic near-term future expectations; b) consensus talent level and payroll considerations and; c) whatever the Magic 8-Ball I've had since I was seven years old tells me will happen. One more thing: Rest assured that I don't have it in for your team. OK, so I once hated the Philadelphia Flyers with a passion bordering on the psychotic, but that was 30-something years ago and Dave Schultz has long since retired. I welcome your emails to the link attached to my name above, and I always respond -- even to the ones that start with "Dear Idiot."

All stats and records through games of Monday, March 12

NHL Power Rankings