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Power Rankings - Nov. 17

Alex Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals is back on track scoring 10 points in his last four outings. (Photo by Andy Marlin/NHLI via Getty Images)

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Alex Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals is back on track scoring 10 points in his last four outings. (Photo by Andy Marlin/NHLI via Getty Images)

You can feel things heating up in the American capital.

After a very ho-hum start, the Washington Capitals are coming to life. Everybody knows Alex Ovechkin got off to a horrid start – and those same people had to know it couldn’t last.

Ovie has five goals and 10 points in his past four games and sophomore Nicklas Backstrom juked his jinx by posting 10 points in his past three games.

The only thing that will stand between the Caps and a runaway Southeast title is the men between the pipes. Jose Theodore, a.k.a. Plan B after Cristobal Huet left town, has looked good at times; others, not so much. And backup Brent Johnson isn’t going to get it done over the long haul.

With top-notch goaltending, this team would be as likely as any to come out of the East.

THE HOCKEY NEWS POWER RANKINGS
RK.
TEAM
LW
OVERALL
L10
THE SCOOP
1
San Jose Sharks
2
15-3-1
8-1-1
On top of everything else, the Sharks' power play is starting to click now, too
2
Detroit Red Wings
1
11-2-3
7-1-2
No problem turning to the backup; Ty Conklin is 4-1-0 this season
3
Boston Bruins
3
10-3-4
8-1-1
Heard a TV analyst say recently, "You can feel Boston coming back to the Bruins." Very good to see
4
New York Rangers
4
13-5-2
6-3-1
Need more consistency from youngsters Nigel Dawes and Ryan Callahan
5
Minnesota Wild
11
10-4-1
6-4-0
Special teams have been awesome; penalty-killing is No. 1 in the league, power play is No. 3
6
Washington Capitals
9
10-4-3
7-1-2
Semin's "upper-body injury" not thought to be very serious
7
Pittsburgh Penguins
12
11-4-2
7-2-1
Six straight wins, including incredible comeback against the Wings for a little revenge last week
8
Montreal Canadiens
5
10-4-2
5-4-1
Andrei Kostitsyn has just two goals; Habs need him to be a 30-goal man
9
Chicago Blackhawks
6
7-4-5
5-2-3
With circus in Chicago, Hawks play next six on the road, where they've won just once in five tries this year
10
Vancouver Canucks
10
10-6-1
7-2-1
Just seem a bit less volatile than the other two western Canadian teams and that steadiness will serve them well long term
11
Anaheim Ducks
8
10-7-2
6-2-2
Top-four blueliner Francois Beauchemin gone for the year with torn ACL; maybe they can get Schneider back?
12
Buffalo Sabres
7
9-5-3
3-5-2
Little bloom coming off the rose as team has given up an average of 4.4 goals per contest while losing four of past five games
13
Philadelphia Flyers
22
7-6-4
6-3-1
Not there yet, but Flyers finally seem to be rounding into form
14
Carolina Hurricanes
13
9-7-2
5-5-0
Can you believe Rod Brind'Amour is minus-13? Only Brad Boyes, at minus-14, is worse
15
Nashville Predators
23
9-7-1
6-3-1
J-P Dumont has 20 points in 17 games to lead Music City crew
16
Calgary Flames
15
9-8-1
5-5-0
Just getting harder and harder to believe in this team; its top five scorers are all minus players
17
Columbus Blue Jackets
20
8-7-3
5-2-3
Quietly having a fair season so far, but real trick will be staying in the thick of things come spring
18
Toronto Maple Leafs
14
7-7-4
4-5-1
Lots of goals being generated by league's fourth-best power play
19
Phoenix Coyotes
19
8-8-0
5-5-0
Captain Shane Doan leading the way with nine goals and 17 points through 16 games
20
Edmonton Oilers
21
8-7-2
4-4-2
Dustin Penner scratched from the lineup and dressed down by coach Craig MacTavish in the media
21
Dallas Stars
18
6-8-3
4-4-2
Maybe reacquiring Darryl Sydor will bring back those good, winning vibes to the dressing room
22
New Jersey Devils
17
8-7-2
3-5-2
You know, if I'm a Devils fan, I might just be hoping more for a bottom-out season than a playoff spot
23
Atlanta Thrashers
24
7-8-2
5-5-0
It took John Anderson a long time to get his crack behind an NHL bench and he's sure doing his best now that he's there
24
Ottawa Senators
16
6-9-2
4-5-1
Could this team really finish last in the Northeast?
25
Colorado Avalanche
26
8-8-0
5-5-0
Does Ryan Smyth officially regret signing with this team yet?
26
Los Angeles Kings
28
7-8-2
4-4-2
Top scorer, Anze Kopitar, is on pace for just 63 points
27
Florida Panthers
27
6-9-1
3-6-1
When defenseman Keith Ballard is tied for the team lead with 10 points it's a case of good for Ballard, bad for Florida
28
St. Louis Blues
29
6-8-2
2-6-2
Some reports suggest Andy McDonald fractured his leg after awkwardly sliding into the boards Sunday night
29
Tampa Bay Lightning
25
5-7-5
4-4-2
Everybody's pick to be the first coach fired was Barry Melrose. Mr. Tocchet, good luck to you, sir
30
New York Islanders
30
6-9-2
4-4-2
A home-and-home sweep of Ottawa doesn't say as much for your club as it used to

The Hockey News ranks the teams 1-30 each Monday based on a combination of last week’s play and a squad’s overall outlook.

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