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NHL Power Rankings 2011: Penguins At Or Near The Top Of Most Rankings

The Pittsburgh Penguins have maintained some pretty strong play early in the Season, and they are starting to be recognized in the various NHL Power Rankings.

The Pittsburgh Penguins have been pretty good over their past week, and they continue their rise toward the top of the various NHL Power Rankings from around the Internet. Let's take a look.

The CBC still has the Penguins as the fifth-best team in hockey, and here is their rationale.

After back-to-back wins versus the Islanders, the Penguins had a slight setback in Toronto. Despite the win, the Leafs' Luke Schenn summed up the Pens by saying this: "I thought they were elite last year when Crosby and Malkin were out. They've got Malkin now, which makes them better. Give them Crosby? I already view them as elite and that just makes it scary." Special teams continue to fuel the Pens (9th on PP, 1st on PK).

Meanwhile, Sports Illustrated has finally seen the light and has the Penguins ranked as the very best team in the NHL, despite the absence of Sidney Crosby, who should return relatively soon.

Take your time, Sid. While Crosby continues to convalesce, the Pens continue to coalesce under the excellent tutelage of coach Dan Bylsma. And while Penguin watchers are optimistic the captain will return soon, it won't be this week. "Same old story: We haven`t had a ton of time to practice, but the next little while there will be some opportunities; so it will kind of be a bit more of a test there with some days in a row to get some contact and game-situation stuff," Crosby told reporters Monday. Meanwhile, James Neal (nine goals) has been picking up the slack and blueliner Kris Letang is tied for the NHL lead with 10 assists.

For more on the Penguins, check out PensBurgh.

Photographs by dizfunk used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.