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THN Power Rankings - Dec. 24

It's no surprise Scott Hannah needs to cool off, his Avs have been red hot lately.

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It's no surprise Scott Hannah needs to cool off, his Avs have been red hot lately.

They still don’t know who their No. 1 goaltender is, but that hasn’t stopped the Ottawa Senators from climbing toward the top of the NHL standings.

With seven wins in their last 10 games, the Senators have crept to second overall in the NHL, five points back of Detroit with a game in hand.

Meanwhile, thanks, in part, to Peter Budaj, who's 5-0-1 with a 1.65 GAA and a .940 SP in last six games, the Avs have remained on track despite Joe Sakic and Ryan Smyth being on the shelf.

1.    Detroit (Last week: 1)
Ex-Wings goalie Manny Legace stuck it to them Dec. 20, making 34 saves in a 3-2 win for St. Louis. But that was the only blip on the screen for the Red Wings, who had eight wins in 10 starts.

2.    Ottawa (2)
Jason Spezza was riding a seven-games point streak during which he registered 15 points.

3.    Colorado (8)
The Avs have been ravaged by injuries, but continue to be one of the NHL’s hottest teams with seven wins and just two regulation losses in 10 games.

4.    Dallas (4)
With 19 goals in 34 games, Mike Ribeiro is just one shy of his single-season best set in 2003-04 with Montreal.

5.    Calgary (10)
After a slow start, the Flames are the NHL’s hottest team thanks in big part to the best line in the league – Iginla, Huselius and Langkow.

6.    New Jersey (7)
Another team that started slowly, but has picked things up. The Devils superstar goalie Martin Brodeur moved into second placed all-time with his 95th career shutout beating Calgary 1-0.

7.    Vancouver (9)
Roberto Luongo, the best goalie in the NHL, flexed his muscles in a 5-0 win over New Jersey.

8.    Minnesota (6)
After four straight wins, a little reality kicked in when the Wild were squashed 4-1 by the Red Wings. Marian Gaborik shook free from coach Jacques Lemaire’s defensive shackles with a five-goal night against the Rangers.

9.    Anaheim (17)
The Ducks have not lost in regulation since Scott Niedermayer returned from vacation.

10.    San Jose (5)
Three straight losses is not the direction this team should be going. Having just two players in double digits in goals is a big reason why the Sharks are not playing up to par.

11.    Buffalo (18)
Back-to-back wins over the Flyers has tongues wagging in Buffalo.

12.    Carolina (13)
This team is too good to be as inconsistent as they have been of late. GM Jim Rutherford won’t stand for it too much longer.

13.    Pittsburgh (14)
With five points in his last three games – and a fight! – Sidney Crosby is closing in on the league scoring lead.

14.    Boston (3)
Four consecutive losses has the Bruins frustrated at their inability to score goals.

15.    Atlanta (26)
Coach-GM Don Waddell found a way to convince Ilya Kovalchuk the game is played at both ends of the rink and the Thrashers have prospered ever since.

16.    Montreal (11)
Ribeiro had a goal and two assists against his old team in a 4-1 Dallas victory.

17.    St. Louis (21)
Newcomer Andy McDonald had a goal and four points in his first three games since arriving from Anaheim.

18.    Chicago (24)
With 18 goals in 33 games, Patrick Sharp was two off his single-season best. And six of his goals have come with his team playing shorthanded.

19.    Toronto (15)
Goalie Vesa Toskala has been outstanding, giving his team a shot at victory in virtually every game he plays.

20.    Phoenix (28)
Wayne Gretzky is starting to look pretty good behind the bench of the Coyotes, who had six wins in 10 starts.

21.    NY Rangers (19)
Scott Gomez has been hot since re-joining Jaromir Jagr’s line, but the Rangers remain woefully inconsistent.

22.    Florida (23)
Olli Jokinen has been super, which is why he’ll probably be traded at the deadline to a contending team.

23.    NY Islanders (22)
Miroslav Satan put together a nifty little six-game point scoring streak.

24.    Columbus (20)
After a wonderful start, the Blue Jackets have been sliding down the standings.

25.    Edmonton (16)
Call me delusional, but I still think the Oilers have a shot at making the playoffs and winning a round or two.

26.    Philadelphia (12)
Two wins in 10 games for a team rewarding everybody in the organization (it seems) with new contracts. Yikes!

27.    Tampa Bay (25)
Tick…tick…tick…BOOM!

28.    Nashville (27)
Six more years of David Legwand…is that somebody’s idea of a bad joke?

29.    Washington (29)
The Caps have improved under Bruce Boudreau, but are a long shot to make the playoffs.

30.    Los Angeles (30)
You look at the Kings and see a last place team. I look at the Kings and see a team that has a lot of quality youth and the foundation to make a huge turnaround next season.

The Power Rankings will return Jan. 7.

The Hockey News ranks the teams 1-30 on Mondays. 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 magazine.

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