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Power Rankings - Dec. 22

The Anaheim Ducks sit fifth in the Western Conference with an 18-12-3 record. (Photo by Debora Robinson/NHLI via Getty Images)

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The Anaheim Ducks sit fifth in the Western Conference with an 18-12-3 record. (Photo by Debora Robinson/NHLI via Getty Images)

Championships have a way of breeding loyalty.

Just as GMs find it hard not to reward the players who deliver a Stanley Cup, those of us identifying contenders find it hard to ignore recent Cup winners.

I give you Exhibit A: the Anaheim Ducks. Judged solely on the basis of this season, the Ducks are not a true top-flight team. They’ve got a great 1-2 blueline punch in Chris Pronger and Scott Niedermayer and some talented forwards, but they’re top-heavy compared to the likes of Detroit and their California cousins in San Jose.

Stellar defenseman Francois Beauchemin will likely miss the rest of the year with a knee injury and sniper Teemu Selanne is gone for at least a month with a cut on his left quadriceps.

Players like Bobby Ryan, who has been hot of late, and Brendan Morrison need to step up the secondary support for the Ducks’ Cup hopes to be legitimized.

Goalie Jonas Hiller has certainly pushed the boundaries of his backup role in the 15 games he’s played, posting the third-best goals-against average (2.07) and second-best save percentage (.936) in the entire league. 

THE HOCKEY NEWS POWER RANKINGS
RK.
TEAM
LW
OVERALL
L10
THE SCOOP
1
Boston Bruins
2
24-5-4
9-1-0
Very, very sad to see young Patrice Bergeron sidelined with another concussion
2
Chicago Blackhawks
5
18-6-7
8-1-1
Ripped off seven straight wins, including a sweep in Western Canada
3
Detroit Red Wings
3
22-6-4
7-3-0
Smashed San Jose 6-0 to prove they still can't be trifled with
4
San Jose Sharks
1
26-4-3
7-1-2
Into every season, a little rain must fall - or at least some light drizzle
5
Philadelphia Flyers
4
18-8-7
7-1-2
Jeff Carter might well ride that wrist shot to a 60-goal season
6
New Jersey Devils
9
19-9-3
7-2-1
A lot of people deserve credit here, but let's not forget to include coach Brent Sutter among them
7
Calgary Flames
13
18-11-4
5-2-3
Those who watch Calgary close say Robyn Regehr is really the Flames' best D-man
8
Washington Capitals
6
20-11-3
7-3-0
They're a lot more scary when Alexander Semin's back isn't acting up
9
New York Rangers
8
22-12-2
5-5-0
No Mats means everyone else will have to be a bit better
10
Montreal Canadiens
11
18-9-6
5-3-2
Kovalev finally locating the net with three goals in past four games
11
Pittsburgh Penguins
10
17-11-4
4-5-1
Ready to welcome back skilled rearguard Ryan Whitney on Tuesday
12
Anaheim Ducks
7
18-12-3
6-4-0
Top goal-getter Teemu Selanne out more than a month after cutting his left quadriceps
13
Florida Panthers
15
15-13-4
7-2-1
Vokoun shuts out Avs, staking his own claim to what has been Craig Anderson's crease
14
Carolina Hurricanes
21
16-13-5
4-3-3
Sergei Samsonov has eight points in nine December games
15
Nashville Predators
14
16-3-3
5-4-1
Power play operating at a horrid 13.3 percent; only Columbus is worse
16
Vancouver Canucks
12
18-12-3
4-5-1
Lots of talk about how Sundin is merely a point-per-game player, but this scribe has always viewed him as something more than that
17
Phoenix Coyotes
19
16-13-4
6-2-2
Need to be better on the road as they head out on a three-game trip
18
Buffalo Sabres
17
16-13-4
5-4-1
Roy had eight points through 15 games; he's got 22 in 18 since and has a nine-game point streak going
19
Toronto Maple Leafs
22
13-13-6
6-4-0
Getting lots of goals and might need them if Toskala misses many games; Joseph's line is 0-4-1, .838, 4.34 and Pogge will play first NHL game Monday.
20
Dallas Stars
24
13-14-5
6-3-1
Can Brad Richards take control of this team and get back to being an elite point-producer? He's got six points in his past two games as Dallas creeps toward respectability
21
Colorado Avalanche
25
16-16-1
5-4-1
Wojtek Wolski the shootout king this year with goals on five of six attempts
22
Ottawa Senators
23
12-14-5
4-5-1
Crossing their fingers captain Daniel Alfredsson won't be out too long with "upper-body" injury
23
Edmonton Oilers
18
14-14-3
5-4-1
Nilsson, Gagner and Cogliano have combined for a measly 33 points
24
Minnesota Wild
16
16-14-2
2-7-1
Only win in past eight came against the Islanders
25
Columbus Blue Jackets
26
14-15-4
4-5-1
Looks like Derick Brassard's impressive rookie campaign ends early with shoulder surgery
26
Los Angeles Kings
20
13-14-6
3-4-3
What a nice pickup Kyle Quincey has been; the blueliner is tied for team assist lead with 16
27
St. Louis Blues
27
13-17-3
3-6-1
Brad Boyes leads team with 31 points, but his minus-20 rating is second-worst in the entire league
28
Atlanta Thrashers
28
11-17-4
3-6-1
Thrashers have a .150 winning percentage when trailing after one period
29
Tampa Bay Lightning
29
7-16-9
1-7-2
Exactly zero goals for Andrej Meszaros as a Bolt
30
New York Islanders
30
10-20-3
1-8-1
Dropped nine in a row, giving up about 4.5 goals per game over that stretch

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.

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

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