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THN Power Rankings - Dec. 10

Martin Brodeur has helped the Devils turn their season around after a slow start.

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Martin Brodeur has helped the Devils turn their season around after a slow start.

While the Detroit Red Wings remain the NHL’s No. 1 team in The Hockey News’ weekly power rankings, keep a close eye on the surging New Jersey Devils.

This team is for real!

The Devils dropped a squeaker, 1-0 in overtime, to the Rangers Sunday, but the loss came after nine straight victories.

It took a while for new coach Brent Sutter to make his mark with the Devils, but they are now worthy of our No. 2 ranking.

1. Detroit (Last week: 1)
Speaking of winning streaks, the Red Wings have rattled off six in a row, thanks in a large part to Pavel Datsyuk’s eight-game point streak during which he has seven goals and 15 points.

2. New Jersey (6)
Any notion that veteran goalie Martin Brodeur was washed up can safely be put to rest. His numbers, quite awful in the early going by his own lofty standards, improved drastically as New Jersey ripped off nine straight wins.

3. Vancouver (8)
Markus Naslund has 11 goals and is on pace for 31, which is OK, but he hasn’t scored in five games and has just one goal in his past eight.

4. Ottawa (2)
Ray Emery appears to be rounding himself into form and just in time, as the Sens snap a nasty seven-game losing streak to win back-to-back games.

5. San Jose (14)
The good news is the Sharks won four straight before being smoked 7-1 at home by Buffalo. OK, that’s the bad news, too. The worse news is slumping Jonathan Cheechoo left the game in the first period with a groin injury.

6. Carolina (7)
Although they rank near the top of the league, the decidedly inconsistent Hurricanes have not put together back-to-back wins since Nov. 10 and 12.

7. Pittsburgh (24)
Sid the Kid and the Penguins stormed through Western Canada winning three straight to give them four wins in a row. We won’t mention Crosby was held pointless in the last two games.

8. Minnesota (9)
The Wild won in Columbus for the first time in 10 trips, but they are slumping on the power play scoring just once in their last 24 odd-man opportunities.

9. Colorado (16)
With Joe Sakic out of the lineup, Milan Hejduk goes wild scoring three goals and assisting on three others in a 9-5 win over St. Louis.

10. Rangers (5)
Brendan Shanahan’s OT-winner against New Jersey helped the Rangers snap a three-game losing streak. Jaromir Jagr is pointless and minus-7 in his last four games.

11. St. Louis (4)
Let’s give the Blues a mulligan on that 9-5 loss to the Avalanche.

12. Boston (13)
Goalie Alex Auld made a sparkling debut beating Toronto 2-1 after being acquired to replace the injured Tim Thomas.

13. Dallas (3)
The Stars have dropped two in a row and Mike Modano sunk to a team-low minus-11 in the process.

14. Nashville (11)
Veteran Martin Erat has emerged as a consistent scorer on a team that continues to play a solid two-way game under coach Barry Trotz.

15. Philadelphia (10)
Bad boy Steve Downie made his NHL debut after serving a 20-game suspension and kept his nose clean in two games (no points, minus-1, 5:08 ice time) before being sent back to the minors.

16. Columbus (18)
Rick Nash had 18 goals through 29 games, but just two in his last seven.

17. Anaheim (17)
OK, so Scott Niedermayer is coming back. Big surprise. Now if Andy McDonald will check in. He has one goal in his last 13 games.

18. Montreal (15)
Carey Price has dropped three of four starts as questionable goaltending conspires to sink the Canadiens.

19. Toronto (20)
The call to blow things up ended when the Maple Leafs won four in a row. Nik Antropov’s second career hat trick helped Toronto beat the Rangers in New York.

20. Atlanta (25)
The Thrashers need Slava Kozlov to start producing. He has just two goals in his last 13 games.

21. Chicago (12)
The kids are still carrying the team, but veteran Robert Lang has three goals in his last four games.

22. Buffalo (21)
Talk about a turnaround. The Sabres get trashed 8-2 by the Los Angeles Kings, of all teams, but rebound to pound the Sharks 7-1 in San Jose and now have seven wins in 10 outings.

23. Florida (23)
Until changes are made to add supplemental scoring, the notion of the Panthers making the playoffs this season is beyond improbable.

24. Edmonton (22)
Raffi Torres and Jarret Stoll were healthy scratches in the Oilers’ 4-3 loss to the St. Louis Blues.

25. Islanders (19)
Mike Sillinger’s OT-winner helped the Islanders snap a five-game losing streak with a 3-2 win over the Lightning.

26. Tampa Bay (26)
After dropping five straight, the Lightning manufacture points in four consecutive games.

27. Calgary (27)
Miikka Kiprusoff played brilliantly, making 35 saves, as the Flames beat the pesky Blackhawks 3-2 giving Calgary two wins in three games.

28. Phoenix (28)
Six goals in seven games for Radim Vrbata help the Coyotes win two of three.

29. Los Angeles (29)
The Kings returned to their losing ways, dropping a 4-2 decision to Phoenix, after a season-highlight 8-2 win over Buffalo Dec. 6.

30. Washington (30)
Rookie Nicklas Backstrom recorded his second three-point performance of the year in a 6-3 win over Atlanta.

The Hockey News ranks the teams 1-30 every Monday. Changes in rankings reflect each team’s play from the previous seven days.

For more great profiles, news and views from the world of hockey, Subscribe to The Hockey News magazine10

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