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Flyers aiming high

Jeff Carter celebrates his hat trick with teammates against the Carolina Hurricanes. (Photo by Gregg Forwerck/NHLI via Getty Images)

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Jeff Carter celebrates his hat trick with teammates against the Carolina Hurricanes. (Photo by Gregg Forwerck/NHLI via Getty Images)

With an 8-1-1 record in their past 10 games, the Philadelphia Flyers are one of the NHL’s hottest teams - and that’s reflected in the latest THN.com Power Rankings.

The Flyers began the year 3-3-1, but have not fallen into the kind of bad stretch that put so much pressure on them to make the playoffs last season. They’re getting outstanding point production from their forwards – including Claude Giroux’s team-best nine goals and 18 points, as well as Ville Leino’s team-leading 12 assists – and are benefiting from strong defensive play from their blueliners (including Andrej Meszaros, a plus-10 so far this season after finishing last year in Tampa Bay as a minus-14).

As well, Philly has to be pleased with the showing from rookie netminder Sergei Bobrovsky. The 22-year-old Russian has a sparkling .932 save percentage and 2.08 goals-against average – and in his past two games, Bobrovsky had a 1.50 GAA and .958 save percentage – numbers that are placing him amongst the early Vezina Trophy candidates.

The Flyers lead the second-place team (the New York Rangers) in the Atlantic Division by five points. With four games in six nights this week – two home games against Ottawa and Tampa Bay and two roadies against the Canadiens and Capitals – it won’t be a cakewalk for them to maintain that lead.

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

1

Los Angeles Kings

2

12-3-0

Last of the NHL’s teams undefeated at home (8-0-0)

2

Detroit Red Wings

4

11-3-1

Johan Franzen, Dan Cleary tied for Wings’ goal scoring lead with seven apiece

3

Washington Capitals

3

13-4-1

Alex Semin has a sizzling 21.3 shooting percentage (13 goals on 61 shots)

4

St. Louis Blues

1

9-3-3

Injury to T.J. Oshie will test Blues’ mettle

5

Philadelphia Flyers

6

11-4-2

A league-best plus-21 in goals for/against differential

6

Vancouver Canucks

5

10-4-2

Backup goalie Cory Schneider has a 0.90 goals-against average in four games

7

Montreal Canadiens

10

11-5-1

With Andrei Markov injured again, Habs need Carey Price to stay this good

8

Columbus Blue Jackets

8

9-6-0

Derick Brassard showing stellar offensive form last seen two seasons ago

9

San Jose Sharks

16

8-5-2

Devin Setoguchi is struggling (two goals, and a team-worst minus-7)

10

Minnesota Wild

9

8-6-2

Martin Havlat had 29 goals two years ago; currently on pace to finish with five

11

Boston Bruins

7

8-5-1

Zdeno Chara leads all Bruins in shots on net (43); runner up is…er, Shawn Thornton (34)?

12

Nashville Predators

23

7-5-3

Shea Weber an uncharacteristic minus-eight; he’s only been a minus player in one of his five previous seasons

13

Ottawa Senators

15

9-7-1

Sens’ surge spurred by goalie Brian Elliott

14

Phoenix Coyotes

26

7-5-5

Wojtek Wolski woeful in shooting percentage (one goal on 27 shots)

15

New York Rangers

14

9-7-1

Sophomore pivot Artem Anisimov doing good work for Rangers

16

Anaheim Ducks

21

10-7-2

Ducks’ big quackers pull team back from the brink of playoff irrelevance

17

Colorado Avalanche

13

8-7-1

Chris Stewart showing last season was no fluke

18

Dallas Stars

11

8-7-0

The Mike Ribeiro first-goal-of-the-season watch continues

19

Tampa Bay Lightning

12

8-7-2

Mike Smith’s goaltending numbers (.869 save percentage, 3.62 GAA) not looking so hot

20

Pittsburgh Penguins

20

9-8-1

Kris Letang (three goals, 17 points) ahead of Evgeni Malkin (seven goals, 16 points) on Penguins’ top scorers

21

Chicago Blackhawks

19

9-9-2

Blueliner Duncan Keith plays three more minutes than next most-played Hawks skater

22

Florida Panthers

24

7-8-0

Bryan McCabe leading Panthers in points (10) and plus/minus (plus-8)

23

Carolina Hurricanes

18

8-9-0

Jeff Skinner a consistent bright light in a season of inconsistencies for Canes

24

Atlanta Thrashers

17

7-8-3

Thrashers have given up a league-worst 67 goals

25

Calgary Flames

25

7-9-0

How much longer does Jarome Iginla want to be part of this mess?

26

Toronto Maple Leafs

22

5-8-3

Leafs missing edge provided by Colby Armstrong, Dion Phaneuf

27

Buffalo Sabres

29

6-9-3

Jordan Leopold has more points than Thomas Vanek or Tim Connolly

28

New Jersey Devils

30

5-10-2

Only one regular frontline player is a plus (Travis Zajac at a plus-2)

29

Edmonton Oilers

27

4-9-3

Porous defense surrendering a league-worst four goals per game

30

New York Islanders

28

4-10-3

Firing of head coach Scott Gordon may change the ship’s captain, but still lots of holes in the ship

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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