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Ducks eye division title

Anaheim has won eight of its past 10 games. (Photo by Michael Martin/NHLI via Getty Images)

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Anaheim has won eight of its past 10 games. (Photo by Michael Martin/NHLI via Getty Images)

Nobody picked the Anaheim Ducks to win their own division this season, let alone be challenging for home ice advantage in the playoffs. But they’re doing both those things, as well as moving up the THN.com Power Rankings.

The Ducks, who began the year with just four wins in their first 12 games, currently are on a four-game winning streak and sit tied with the Pacific Division rival Dallas Stars at 68 points for third place in the West.

Although they signed veteran goalie Ray Emery as insurance for starter Jonas Hiller, the Ducks have been receiving solid support in net from Curtis McElhinney; the 27-year-old has won four of his past five games and allowed just 10 goals in that span.

The Ducks also brought blueliner Francois Beauchemin back to the organization in a trade with Toronto last week; the veteran won’t wow anyone with end-to-end rushes or pretty offensive plays, but he gives the team more depth as it anticipates a lengthy playoff run.

As usual, the Ducks have a punishing travel schedule to contend with: they take on the Washington Capitals at home Wednesday, then hit the road for back-to-back weekend games against the Wild and Blues. Only three points separate them from ninth-place Los Angeles, so they’ll have to continue their torrid streak to keep pace.

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

1

Vancouver Canucks

2

36-11-9

7-1-2

Loss of Hamhuis another big blow to battered blueline

2

Philadelphia Flyers

1

36-14-5

7-3-0

Flyers have league’s top road record (17-6-3)

3

Tampa Bay Lightning

4

34-17-5

8-2-0

Since the start of 2011, Bolts are an impressive 12-6-0

4

Detroit Red Wings

5

34-16-6

6-4-0

Henrik Zetterberg on pace to play first full 82-game NHL schedule of his career

5

Pittsburgh Penguins

3

35-19-4

6-4-0

Could Ray Shero be a last-minute player in Brad Richards sweepstakes? One of Pens’ young defensemen would appeal to Stars GM Joe Nieuwendyk

6

Boston Bruins

6

31-18-7

5-5-0

Brad Marchand has 16 goals – two more than Nathan Horton

7

Montreal Canadiens

8

31-20-6

5-3-2

Habs have lost at home in regulation just seven times this season; only Canucks, with four home regulation time losses, are better in their own building

8

Washington Capitals

7

29-17-10

4-3-3

In their past 14 games, Caps power play is an embarrassing 7.7 percent (3-for-39)

9

San Jose Sharks

11

30-21-6

7-2-1

Sharks shoving their way back to prominence in tough Western Conference, finish grueling seven-game road trip in Nashville Tuesday

10

Nashville Predators

10

30-19-7

5-4-1

Addition of Mike Fisher will help, but won’t put Preds on level with Canucks, Wings

11

Dallas Stars

9

31-19-6

3-6-1

Kari Lehtonen’s stats from his past eight games played: a 2-5-1 record, 3.28 goals-against average and .899 save percentage

12

Anaheim Ducks

12

32-21-4

8-2-0

Ducks quietly adding some solid pieces (Emery, Beauchemin) that don’t require them to take much, if anything, off current roster

13

Los Angeles Kings

13

31-22-3

7-1-2

Up-and-down Kings on a big up: they’re winners of four of their first six games in a current, punishing 10-game road trip

14

Minnesota Wild

16

30-20-5

8-2-0

Cal Clutterbuck has three goals, five points in past five games with surging Wild

15

Phoenix Coyotes

15

29-19-9

6-4-0

No goalie hotter than Ilya Bryzgalov (4-0-0, 0.98 GAA, .961 SP in past four games)

16

New York Rangers

14

30-24-4

3-6-1

Blueshirts’ three games this week – against Kings, Devils and Flyers – are far from cakewalks

17

Calgary Flames

18

28-22-8

7-1-2

In six of their past eight wins, Flames have scored at least one power play goal; they had none in more recent losses to Ducks, Nucks

18

Chicago Blackhawks

17

28-22-6

4-4-2

Hawks one (extended) losing skid away from near-bottom of Western Conference basement

19

Columbus Blue Jackets

22

28-23-5

7-3-0

Dual-personality Jackets make trade decisions (i.e. buyer or seller?) difficult for GM Scott Howson

20

Buffalo Sabres

23

26-22-6

7-2-1

Epic collapse against Islanders Sunday shows improved Sabres aren’t yet out of the woods

21

Carolina Hurricanes

19

27-22-8

4-4-2

Canes play hot Devils twice this week and East-leading Flyers once

22

St. Louis Blues

24

24-21-9

3-4-3

Blues are the league’s worst road team (8-13-5)

23

Atlanta Thrashers

21

25-23-10

2-5-3

Light week for sagging Thrashers: two road games (in Phoenix and Edmonton) Thursday and Saturday, then no action until Wednesday trip to Buffalo

24

Colorado Avalanche

20

25-25-6

1-9-0

Avs have won just one game (1-9-0) since Tomas Fleischmann was sidelined for remainder of year; little room left for error

25

Florida Panthers

25

24-24-7

3-4-3

David Booth leads Panthers in hits (84), goals (15), game-winners (three)

26

New Jersey Devils

27

22-30-4

8-1-1

Should GM Lamoriello have fired John MacLean and hired Jacques Lemaire sooner? Sure seems so

27

Toronto Maple Leafs

26

23-27-6

4-5-1

More trades coming as playoffs become more of a pipe dream

28

New York Islanders

29

20-29-7

5-5-0

Frans Nielsen (four), Michael Grabner (two) and Milan Jurcina (one) have Isles’ only shorthanded goals

29

Ottawa Senators

28

18-30-8

1-7-2

Mike Fisher was the first Senator to go overboard – but he won’t be the last; Chris Phillips almost assuredly will go as well

30

Edmonton Oilers

30

16-32-8

2-7-1

Sam Gagner a minus-14 at home, minus-3 on the road

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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