One week after we anointed the New Jersey Devils the second-best team in the NHL, after they won nine in a row, they went into the dumpster losing three of four. The Detroit Red Wings, meanwhile, continue to be the class of the league winning eight of their last nine games.
At the other end of the spectrum, the Los Angeles Kings have sunk to the bottom of the league, losing three straight. In the big picture perhaps that’s not such a bad thing, especially if they win the lottery and are able to draft Steven Stamkos.
Here is this week’s THN Power Rankings:
1. Detroit (Last Week: 1)
Dan Cleary continues to evolve as one of the NHL’s best two-way performers and is on pace for back-to-back 20-goal seasons.
2. Ottawa (4)
The funk is over. After suffering seven losses in a row, the Senators have rebounded to win five straight. Jason Spezza has been red-hot, registering nine points in three games.
3. Boston (12)
Very quietly the Bruins, minus star forward Patrice Bergeron, have risen to fourth overall in the standings. Alex Auld is taking advantage of what may be his last shot at staying in the NHL, winning three of his first four starts for the B’s.
4. Dallas (13)
With five goals and nine points in his last four games, Mike Ribeiro suddenly looks like a legitimate No. 1 center.
5. San Jose (5)
After going minus-4 in an embarrassing 7-1 home loss to Buffalo Dec. 8, Joe Thornton had four points in his next three starts.
6. Minnesota (8)
Marian Gaborik has goals in his last two outings after going five straight games without scoring.
7. New Jersey (2)
Patrik Elias had just one assist in his last four games. The Devils need him to find his game in order to find theirs.
8. Colorado (9)
Sophomore Paul Stastny continues to assert himself as one of the NHL’s best scorers as the Avs rip off four wins in five games.
9. Vancouver (3)
Curtis Sanford has played well in Roberto Luongo’s absence, but the longer Luongo is out with a rib injury, the further the Canucks will fall in the standings. That’s what happens when you put all your eggs in one basket.
10. Calgary (27)
Jarome Iginla (seven goals, 10 points in four games) and Kristian Huselius (five goals, 11 points in three games) have the Flames on their longest winning streak of the season (five games).
11. Montreal (18)
The Habs took advantage of a tired Leafs team to beat them for their second win in a row and snap a six-game losing streak at home. Alex Kovalev has points in five straight games.
12. Philadelphia (15)
Well, at least we know where to find Mike Richards for the next 12 years. A great signing for the Flyers!
13. Carolina (6)
After a great start, this team is struggling with inconsistency. Eric Staal is scoring, but not dominating.
14. Pittsburgh (7)
Five wins in seven games for the Pens is great; being held off he scoreboard in three of the last five for Sid is not.
15. Toronto (19)
It only took eight years, but Nik Antropov has arrived. Injury free this season (touch wood), the lanky forward has six points in his last three games.
16. Edmonton (24)
The Oilers first three-game winning streak of the season has them within sniffing distance of a playoff spot. Is it too early to start thinking about a repeat of 2006?
17. Anaheim (17)
The Ducks move up on the strength of Scott Niedermayer’s return. From this point on, though, they’ll have to earn their spot on the THN Power Rankings.
18. Buffalo (22)
The Sabres are starting to win, but are still looking in the rear view mirror for Maxim Afinogenov who apparently didn’t get the memo the season has started.
19. NY Rangers (10)
This is a sinking ship and until Jaromir Jagr wakes up from his season-long funk, there is no hope for the future.
20. Columbus (16)
After scoring goals in five straight games, Nikolai Zherdev was held off the board for two straight. Oh, by the way, Rick Nash has scored in just one of the Jackets’ last 11 games. Ouch!
21. St. Louis (11)
Andy McDonald scores a goal and an assist in his Blues debut, but St. Louis has dropped four of five.
22. NY Islanders (25)
Chris Simon’s lunacy notwithstanding, the Islanders continue to get more with less.
23. Florida (23)
Tomas Vokoun makes 44 saves to pull the Panthers to a win over Chicago.
24. Chicago (21)
Just what the Blackhawks needed – another young gun. Former junior sniper David Bolland scored his first NHL goal in a win over Florida.
25. Tampa Bay (26)
If four losses in five games for the Lightning doesn’t spell change, what will?
26. Atlanta (20)
Hard to believe a team with the NHL’s leading goal-scorer isn’t going to make the playoffs.
27. Nashville (14)
Hard work gets a team only so far…the Predators (four losses in five games) now look like a team that had a fire sale last summer.
28. Phoenix (28)
Great homecoming for The Great One – a 5-1 victory over the Blueshirts on Broadway.
29. Washington (30)
A modest four-game winning streak has some thinking the Capitals could be a playoff team – next season.
30. Los Angeles (29)
Three straight losses; four in five games.
The Hockey News ranks the teams 1-30 every Monday. Changes in rankings reflect each team’s play from the previous seven days.
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