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Lightning strike

Steven Stamkos leads the league with nine goals and 19 points through 10 games. (Photo by Norm Hall/NHLI via Getty Images)

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Steven Stamkos leads the league with nine goals and 19 points through 10 games. (Photo by Norm Hall/NHLI via Getty Images)

The Tampa Bay Lightning were picked by many pundits to make the playoffs this season - and so far, they look like more than just a playoff team.
 
After their first 10 games of the 2010-11 season, the Bolts were first in the Southeast Division – and second in the NHL – with a 7-2-1 record. Much of the credit for that belongs to cornerstone center Steven Stamkos (who led all NHL point-getters with 19), but the organization has been receiving stellar contributions in other areas as well.
 
Defensemen Pavel Kubina and Victor Hedman picked up the slack when veteran Mattias Ohlund was injured, while complementary players such as Teddy Purcell (one goal, six points), Sean Bergenheim (three goals, six points) and Dominic Moore (four goals, five points) have taken some pressure off of Vincent Lecavalier (three goals and five points) and Ryan Malone (one goal and a minus-seven).
 
The Lightning have a three-games-in-four-nights West Coast trip this week that begins Wednesday in Anaheim, continues Thursday in Los Angeles and finishes Saturday in San Jose. The Ducks may not present a huge challenge for the Bolts, but the Kings and Sharks won’t be pushovers.

THE HOCKEY NEWS POWER RANKINGS
RK.
TEAM
LW
OVERALL
THE SCOOP

1

St. Louis Blues

8

6-1-2

Blues limit opponents to an NHL-best 25.8 shots per game and Jaro Halak handles those shots pretty well

2

Tampa Bay Lightning

5

7-2-1

Lightning benefiting from league’s most potent offense (averaging 3.5 goals per game)

3

Los Angeles Kings

3

8-3-0

Six different Kings have game-winning goals

4

Detroit Red Wings

1

6-2-1

Pavel Datsyuk, Johan Franzen leading Wings in goals; Nicklas Lidstrom leading team in assists

5

Philadelphia Flyers

21

7-4-1

Claude Giroux is Philly’s top point-getter and also leads in power play goals with Daniel Briere, shorthanded goals (three) and game-winning goals (three)

6

Vancouver Canucks

18

6-3-2

Daniel Sedin on pace for 59-goal season; brother Henrik on pace for seven-goal campaign

7

Washington Capitals

10

7-4-0

Still some holes in Caps’ attack, but when they’re on their game, few opponents can keep up

8

Nashville Predators

2

5-2-3

Pekka Rinne, Anders Lindback give Preds no drop-off in net

9

Boston Bruins

16

6-2-0

Nathan Horton has five goals on 17 shots; Milan Lucic has four on 15

10

Columbus Blue Jackets

14

7-4-0

Backup goalie Mathieu Garon outplaying No. 1 Steve Mason

11

Montreal Canadiens

7

7-4-1

Jeff Halpern turning into a valuable piece for Habs

12

New York Rangers

12

6-4-1

Dan Girardi top Ranger in ice time (24:07), plus/minus (plus-6)

13

Colorado Avalanche

22

6-4-1

Only the Oilers (68.8 percent) and Stars (68.4) have a worse penalty kill than Avs (73.9)

14

Dallas Stars

13

6-4-0

Stephane Robidas leads NHL in plus/minus (plus-10)

15

Chicago Blackhawks

15

7-6-1

Niklas Hjalmarsson a team-worst minus-9

16

Pittsburgh Penguins

9

6-5-1

Three of six top scorers on Penguins are blueliners (Kris Letang, Alex Goligoski and Paul Martin)

17

San Jose Sharks

19

5-4-1

Blueliner Marc-Edouard Vlasic still pointless this season

18

Minnesota Wild

20

5-4-2

Mikko Koivu earning big new contract by leading team in points (12), plus/minus (plus-5)

19

Atlanta Thrashers

28

5-4-2

Who was the more important summer acquisition – Dustin Byfuglien or Andrew Ladd?

20

Calgary Flames

6

6-5-0

As the Tragically Hip song goes, “When it starts to fall apart, it really falls apart”

21

Toronto Maple Leafs

4

5-5-1

Great start being undermined by goal drought

22

Carolina Hurricanes

17

5-6-0

Eric Staal, Chad LaRose and Joni Pitkanen have combined for 103 shots, but just six goals

23

Phoenix Coyotes

23

3-4-3

Derek Morris, Keith Yandle a combined minus-12; Adrian Aucoin a plus-seven

24

Florida Panthers

24

4-5-0

Panthers yet to score a shorthanded goal

25

New York Islanders

11

4-5-2

Dwayne Roloson’s save percentage is .918; Rick DiPietro’s is .867

26

Edmonton Oilers

27

3-5-2

Ryan Whitney leading Oilers point-getters with nine (all assists)

27

Ottawa Senators

26

5-6-1

Wins won’t come easy as long as Jason Spezza’s scoring skills are M.I.A.

28

Anaheim Ducks

25

4-7-1

If Randy Carlyle’s job as head coach is safe, we’d hate to see what it would take to put his employment in jeopardy

29

Buffalo Sabres

29

3-7-2

Penalty kill is atrocious; power play not much better

30

New Jersey Devils

30

3-9-1

Injury to Zach Parise may be death knell for Devils’ playoff hopes

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.

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