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Power Rankings - Dec. 29

Andrei Kostitsyn of the Montreal Canadiens celebrates his third goal of the game with the bench against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Dec. 27, 2008. Montreal won the game 3-2. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/NHLI via Getty

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Andrei Kostitsyn of the Montreal Canadiens celebrates his third goal of the game with the bench against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Dec. 27, 2008. Montreal won the game 3-2. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/NHLI via Getty

Remember when the Montreal Canadiens were going to win the Stanley Cup?

That was back in the summer of 2008, before a single hockey game had been played this season. The Habs, on the strength of finishing first in the Eastern Conference last year, were pre-season pretty boys, pegged by many to represent their conference in the coming Cup final.

While the season has by no means been a disaster, it's fair to say there's disappointment in Montreal. Canadiens fans who had Cup visions in the team's 100th season are cheering for a club that's not even a lock to make the playoffs right now.

The overall theme in Montreal has been a lack of offensive production, particularly on the power play. A man advantage that terrorized teams for two years is now 25th in the league. The squad has been somewhat slowed by injuries, but more than anything, players who were supposed to step up have stumbled.

If there's a reason to keep an eye on the Habs in 2009, it's goalie Carey Price. He has had some ups and downs, but is ready to join the league's elite puckstoppers.

THE HOCKEY NEWS POWER RANKINGS
RK.
TEAM   THE SCOOP
1
Boston Bruins   David Krejci has points in 17 of his last 18 games for a total of 30 points over that stretch
2
Chicago Blackhawks   Have set a franchise record with nine straight wins
3
San Jose Sharks   Patrick Marleau has grabbed the team goal-scoring lead and could post his first 40-goal campaign
4
Detroit Red Wings   Ty Conklin hoping to push his outdoor record to 2-1
5
Washington Capitals   Ovie had just two goals at the end of October and still may hit 60 this season
6
Calgary Flames   With three more goals, Rene Bourque passes his previous career high of 16
7
Philadelphia Flyers   Have overtaken Wings for NHL's best power play and are also deadly while shorthanded
8
New Jersey Devils   Travis Zajac showing signs of becoming the center New Jersey needs him to be
9
Montreal Canadiens   Nobody is on pace for more than 65 points on this team
10
New York Rangers   After a hot start, Dubinsky will be lucky to hit 40 points this year
11
Anaheim Ducks   Eighteen points in 19 games for 21-year-old Bobby Ryan
12
Pittsburgh Penguins   Sidney Crosby has one power play goal in 28 games; Malkin doesn't have one in 19 contests
13
Carolina Hurricanes   Patrick Eaves finally got his first goal of the year; what the heck happened to this guy after his 20-goal rookie campaign in 2005-06 with Ottawa?
14
Florida Panthers   Cats need Stephen Weiss to keep putting the points up; he's got 11 in his past 15 games
15
Buffalo Sabres   Vanek could win the Rocket Richard Trophy and still not be a point-per-game player
16
Nashville Predators   After a year-and-a-half on the sidelines, shifty Steve Sullivan could be back in January
17
Vancouver Canucks   My lines with Mats in the lineup: Wellwood with the Sedins, Sundin at center between Demitra and Raymond
18
Dallas Stars   Modano showing he's still got some jump in those 38-year-old legs
19
Phoenix Coyotes   Need to get one of the NHL's worst power plays going to make the playoffs
20
Edmonton Oilers   There's been an Erik Cole sighting in Edmonton; he had his first multi-point game as an Oiler in Sunday's win over Nashville
21
Colorado Avalanche   Stastny joins Sakic on the shelf, gone for up to two months with a broken arm
22
Toronto Maple Leafs   Getting prospect Justin Pogge some more starts in net just makes sense
23
Columbus Blue Jackets   Steve Mason's league-leading 1.87 goals-against average makes him the No. 1 contender for the Calder Trophy
24
Los Angeles Kings   Jon Quick surrendered just two goals in three starts last week
25
Ottawa Senators   Just three road wins in 16 tries this year
26
Minnesota Wild   As Tom Cochrane would say, Minny is sinkin' like a sunset
27
Tampa Bay Lightning   Ryan Malone may have found a home on the top line with Vinny and Marty
28
New York Islanders   Here's hoping Rick DiPietro is the Isles' starter the rest of the way
29
St. Louis Blues   Play of rookie Patrik Berglund a bright spot in this dreary season
30
Atlanta Thrashers   Slava Kozlov might well be the most anonymous point-producer in the NHL

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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