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Hurricane winds

The Carolina Hurricanes sit fourth in the Southeast and ninth in the East with a 22-16-6 record. (Photo by Gregg Forwerck/NHLI via Getty Images)

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The Carolina Hurricanes sit fourth in the Southeast and ninth in the East with a 22-16-6 record. (Photo by Gregg Forwerck/NHLI via Getty Images)

The Carolina Hurricanes currently are sitting outside of a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, but if they keep playing the way they have of late, they’ll continue to rise up the standings – and the THN Power Rankings as well.

The Canes can’t be considered an elite team (such as our top-ranked Vancouver Canucks), but with seven wins in their past 10 games, they’re now within a single point of their Southeast Division rivals in Atlanta for eighth place in the East and have played three fewer games than the Thrashers.

As they did last season, the Hurricanes are attempting to make bygones for a slow start to the season. And once again, star center Eric Staal is leading the way (22 goals and 46 points in 44 games); Staal is on course to finish with 41 goals and 85 points, a total that would be his best since his career-high of 45 goals and 100 points in his sophomore season of 2005-06.

In addition, Carolina’s other key player – goalie Cam Ward – is earning his keep: he’s put up a 2.67 goals-against average and .921 save percentage in 37 games.

The Canes will continue to depend on goal production from rookie-of-the-year candidate Jeff Skinner, but they’ll also need contributions from veterans Tuomo Ruutu, Jussi Jokinen and Erik Cole to stay in the hunt for a post-season berth.

THE HOCKEY NEWS POWER RANKINGS
RK.
TEAM
LW
OVERALL
P10
THE SCOOP

1

Vancouver Canucks

1

29-10-6

7-2-1

Very clear why THN made Canucks our pick to win the Stanley Cup

2

Philadelphia Flyers

2

29-11-5

7-3-0

Briere, Carter share Flyers’ lead in game-winning goals (five); both also are tied for second on team in power play goals (five)

3

Detroit Red Wings

3

28-11-6

6-2-2

Nik Kronwall now averaging more shifts per game (28.2) than Nick Lidstrom (26.8)

4

Pittsburgh Penguins

6

28-14-4

4-4-2

Pens’ power play rolling along without Crosby (5-for-19, or 26.3 percent in past five games)

5

Dallas Stars

8

27-13-5

6-3-1

Stars have allowed third-fewest number of goals in Western Conference

6

Boston Bruins

12

24-13-7

5-2-3

Patrice Bergeron headed for his best offensive season since 2006-07

7

Tampa Bay Lightning

4

26-15-5

5-5-0

Bolts still the only team that hasn’t scored a shorthanded goal this season

8

Washington Capitals

5

25-14-7

5-2-3

Almost unthinkable that Ovechkin is on pace for only three power play goals

9

Phoenix Coyotes

16

23-13-9

7-1-2

Yandle averaging nearly two minutes per game (24:20) more than second-most utilized skater (Adrian Aucoin 22:23)

10

Nashville Predators

7

24-15-6

7-3-0

Suter a team-best plus-18; next best number is Marcel Goc’s plus-8

11

Montreal Canadiens

14

25-17-3

5-4-1

Halpern, Gionta, Spacek and Gill only Habs to play all 45 games so far

12

New York Rangers

10

26-18-3

5-4-1

Gaborik has just three goals in past 19 games; no wonder he was benched for a period on Sunday

13

Colorado Avalanche

17

23-16-6

4-4-2

Avs have virtually identical home (12-8-3) and away (11-8-3) records

14

Chicago Blackhawks

11

25-18-4

5-4-1

Hawks’ power play now league’s best (24.7 percent); penalty kill 27th overall (77.4 percent)

15

Carolina Hurricanes

21

22-16-6

7-1-2

Hot Canes averaging identical goals-for (2.98) and goals-against (2.98)

16

Los Angeles Kings

19

24-19-1

3-7-0

Will Kings’ slump force GM Dean Lombardi to trade some youth for veteran know-how?

17

Anaheim Ducks

9

25-19-4

7-3-0

Ryan Getzlaf has two of Ducks’ three overtime goals

18

Minnesota Wild

13

22-18-5

6-4-0

Brent Burns a horse on Wild blueline (an average of 32.4 shifts and 24:40 of ice time per game)

19

St. Louis Blues

18

21-17-6

4-5-1

Inconsistent Blues host Kings, Wings, Blue Jackets this week

20

Atlanta Thrashers

15

22-18-7

3-5-2

Thrashers still allowing a league-worst 34.3 shots per game

21

San Jose Sharks

20

22-19-5

3-7-0

Something’s got to change soon for skidding Sharks

22

Florida Panthers

25

21-20-2

5-3-2

Loss of Bryan McCabe puts crimp in Panthers’ race for playoff seed

23

Columbus Blue Jackets

28

21-20-4

4-5-1

Waiving of Mike Commodore won’t solve Jackets’ many issues

24

Calgary Flames

26

20-20-5

6-2-2

Wins over super-soft Leafs, Sens give sad-sack Flames an inflated sense of worth

25

Buffalo Sabres

22

19-20-5

5-4-1

Sabres are fourth-worst in league at faceoffs (47.7 percent)

26

Toronto Maple Leafs

24

18-21-5

5-4-1

If Leafs trade Mikhail Grabovski or Kris Versteeg, look out for a wafflelanche at the ACC

27

Ottawa Senators

27

17-23-6

2-6-2

The season is all over but the crying for hapless Sens

28

New York Islanders

23

14-22-7

5-4-1

Isles the only NHL team this year that has yet to win a game when they’ve out-shot their opponent (0-14)

29

Edmonton Oilers

29

14-23-7

2-7-1

Oilers have league’s worst penalty kill (74.1 percent), second-worst power play (12.7 percent)

30

New Jersey Devils

30

12-29-3

3-6-1

With Jamie Langenbrunner moved off this sunken ship, most expect Jason Arnott will be next to be traded

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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