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Old faithful

Nicklas Lidstrom is 40 years old, but still plays the big minutes of a player in his prime. (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images)

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Nicklas Lidstrom is 40 years old, but still plays the big minutes of a player in his prime. (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images)

It’s the first week of THN.com’s Power Rankings – and with most teams only playing a handful of games so far, there isn’t much that separates the league’s middle 20 franchises from one another.

But it is clear that a few teams stand out at the top and bottom of the league’s standings, including the veteran Red Wings; the surprising Maple Leafs and Oilers, and the more-than-underwhelming Ducks, Senators and Devils.

So, without further ado, let's get to the first rankings of 2010-11, where an old reliable franchise tops the charts.

THE HOCKEY NEWS POWER RANKINGS
RK.
TEAM
OVERALL
THE SCOOP

1

Detroit Red Wings

2-0-1

Ageless wonder Nick Lidstrom leads all Wings skaters in average time on ice (24:57)

2

Philadelphia Flyers

2-0-1

Weaknesses at power play (7.7 percent efficiency) and on faceoffs (43.9 percent) need to improve

3

Toronto Maple Leafs

2-0-0

Haven’t faced a serious challenge yet; win-hungry Penguins will give them that Wednesday night

4

Dallas Stars

2-0-0

Two road wins to start season is great news, but they’ll need to beat good teams before they’re taken seriously

5

Edmonton Oilers

2-0-0

Opening-night win over Flames was impressive, but had to lean on Khabibulin to beat Panthers

6

St. Louis Blues

2-0-0

Upcoming three-game road trip – including games against two Central Division rivals – will test House of Payne

7

Washington Capitals

2-1-0

All those who thought Caps would have 100 percent penalty killing and 7.7 percent power play success, please report to U.S. military’s psychic training division

8

Los Angeles Kings

2-1-0

Between Quick (.964 save percentage) and Bernier (.935), it’s an embarrassment of riches in net for L.A.

9

Carolina Hurricanes

2-0-0

They’re unbeaten, but both wins came against the not-so-wild Wild; imminent five-game road trip won’t be easy

10

Colorado Avalanche

2-1-0

Victories over Hawks, Wings show last season wasn’t a fluke

11

San Jose Sharks

1-0-1

Two very winnable games (vs. Atlanta and Carolina) coming up for so-so Sharks

12

Vancouver Canucks

1-0-1

Offense needs to kick into gear if Nucks are to thrive during the upcoming five-games-in-eight-days stretch

13

Chicago Blackhawks

1-1-1

Pat Kane and Niklas Hjalmarsson both a minus-4 for inconsistent Hawks

14

New York Islanders

1-0-1

Plucky, undermanned Isles face Caps, Pens and Avs this week. Back to life, back to reality…

15

Nashville Predators

1-0-0

Played only once and beat hapless Ducks; this week, it’s Hawks, Blues and Caps

16

Tampa Bay Lightning

1-0-0

It’s just one game, but Bolts’ power play already looks deadly

17

Boston Bruins

1-1-0

Nathan Horton trade looking like a home run for Peter Chiarelli

18

Phoenix Coyotes

1-1-0

Captain Shane Doan pointless and a team-worst minus-2 in two games

19

New York Rangers

1-1-0

Is Blueshirts’ third-period collapse against Isles a bad omen, or a blip on the radar?

20

Columbus Blue Jackets

1-1-0

Star forward Rick Nash playing more minutes than any Jackets skater – not a good comment on D-Corps

21

Montreal Canadiens

1-1-0

Formerly mighty power play has yet to convert on a single extra-man opportunity

22

Calgary Flames

1-1-0

Win over Kings keeps wolves at bay, but with Brendan Morrison leading all Flames point-getters with two assists, the wolves will be back

23

Pittsburgh Penguins

1-2-0

Paul Martin a solid replacement for Gonchar; Zbynek Michalek (a team-worst minus-3) still adjusting

24

Atlanta Thrashers

1-2-0

Antropov, Modin and Peverley have combined for just one goal, two points and a minus-8

25

Buffalo Sabres

1-2-0

Myers and Vanek have only one assist and a minus-9 between them and Miller’s .880 save percentage isn’t helping

26

Minnesota Wild

0-1-1

No team has won more faceoffs than Minnesota, but that’s where the Wild’s winning ends

27

Florida Panthers

0-2-0

Panthers threw all they had (including 42 shots) against Canucks, but still came up short. Get used to it

28

Ottawa Senators

0-2-1

Sens’ top two scorers are Jarkko Ruutu and Chris Neil. Spezza and Kovalev should feel shame

29

New Jersey Devils

0-2-1

A league-worst 14 goals allowed? Kovalchuk really is changing Devils’ defense-first culture

30

Anaheim Ducks

0-3-0

Second-worst on faceoffs, worst in goals-for, worst in win percentage – yeah, the Ducks are the worst

The Hockey News ranks the teams 1-30 each Wednesday 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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