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The surging Sharks

San Jose won 11 of its 13 games in February. (Photo by Andy Marlin/NHLI via Getty Images)

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San Jose won 11 of its 13 games in February. (Photo by Andy Marlin/NHLI via Getty Images)

Some people laughed when San Jose Sharks GM Doug Wilson acquired Kyle Wellwood and Ben Eager in mid-January. But since then, the joke has been on the Sharks’ opponents and those who believed San Jose couldn’t make a big move up the weekly THN.com Power Rankings.
 
Since the arrivals of Eager and Wellwood, the Sharks have lost just twice in regulation (13-2-1), won six straight games and have vaulted up to sixth spot in our rankings and top spot in the competitive Pacific Division.
 
To do so, they’ve depended on the usual suspects – Joe Thornton and Dany Heatley are once again Nos. 1 and 2 in team scoring, with Patrick Marleau a close fourth – and also received help from youngsters Logan Couture (25 goals and 44 points), Ryane Clowe (30 assists and 48 points) and Devin Setoguchi (18 goals). On the back end, Antti Niemi has emerged as their clear No. 1 goalie (with a 23-15-3 mark, 2.44 goals-against average and .920 save percentage), while Dan Boyle anchors the defense and serves as one of the team’s best playmakers (31 assists in 62 games).
 
This week, the Sharks kick off a six-game homestand with a match Tuesday against slumping Colorado, followed by tougher games against Detroit Thursday and Dallas Saturday.

THE HOCKEY NEWS POWER RANKINGS
RK.
TEAM
LW
OVERALL
P10
THE TRADE DEADLINE SCOOP
1

Philadelphia Flyers

2

40-16-6

6-3-1

Flyers quiet on deadline day, but pickups of Kris Versteeg, Nick Boynton good enough for one of league’s deepest teams

2

Vancouver Canucks

1

39-15-9

5-5-0

Acquisitions of Max Lapierre, Chris Higgins a boost for Canucks’ fourth line, team speed

3

Detroit Red Wings

4

39-18-6

7-3-0

Contract extension for Jimmy Howard was Wings’ only roster news

4

Tampa Bay Lightning

3

37-18-7

5-3-2

Adding Eric Brewer makes Bolts’ blueline better than the 17th overall ranking in recent THN list of NHL’s best-to-worst defense corps

5

Boston Bruins

6

36-19-7

6-4-0

Pre-deadline deals for Tomas Kaberle, Chris Kelly and Rich Peverley make Bruins one of biggest trade winners

6

San Jose Sharks

9

36-21-6

8-2-0

Sharks made their big changes much earlier, picking up Ben Eager and Kyle Wellwood; their surge through the standings shows GM Doug Wilson was wise to do so

7

Pittsburgh Penguins

5

37-21-6

3-5-2

Penguins are trade winners based on landing James Neal alone

8

Washington Capitals

8

33-20-10

5-5-0

Bringing in veteran Jason Arnott solves Caps’ issues on second line

9

Chicago Blackhawks

18

34-23-6

7-1-2

Chris Campoli in for Boynton is a great upgrade for improving Hawks

10

Los Angeles Kings

13

35-24-4

6-2-2

Dealing for an impact forward such as Dustin Penner without taking anyone off the roster is what good deadline deals are all about

11

Phoenix Coyotes

15

33-21-10

7-2-1

Yotes took on more salary term with Rusty Klesla, but will benefit from giving him more opportunity than he had this year in Columbus

12

Montreal Canadiens

7

33-23-7

3-5-2

Pre-deadline deals for Brent Sopel, James Wisniewski will have to suffice for Habs

13

Dallas Stars

11

33-23-6

3-6-1

Keeping Brad Richards can’t help but bolster Stars’ playoff push, but what will verdict be if he leaves as a UFA come summertime?

14

Calgary Flames

17

32-23-9

6-2-2

Ex-Thrasher Freddy Modin a nice complementary piece to keep Flames in post-season mix

15

Minnesota Wild

14

33-24-6

5-4-1

Wild did nothing to either keep up with Western Conference Joneses or replace injured Mikko Koivu

16

Nashville Predators

10

32-23-8

4-5-1

Mike Fisher fitting in well since coming over from Ottawa (three assists and four points in eight games), but is he enough to stop Preds’ mediocre play?

17

Anaheim Ducks

12

33-25-5

5-4-1

Ducks were one of the most active teams in terms of trades; still going to be in dogfight just to make playoffs

18

Columbus Blue Jackets

19

31-24-6

7-2-1

Scottie Upshall and Sami Lepisto will help hot Jackets – the question is, is it too late for them to make up enough ground in standings?

19

New York Rangers

16

33-27-4

4-6-0

Arrival of Bryan McCabe will improve Blueshirts’ offense; trouble is, injury to Martin Biron came just after trade deadline and puts more pressure on Henrik Lundqvist

20

Buffalo Sabres

20

29-25-7

5-3-2

Adding Brad Boyes to group of so-so forwards an unexpected bonus for plucky Sabres

21

Carolina Hurricanes

21

29-25-9

3-4-3

As usual, Canes GM Jim Rutherford made his trades well in advance of deadline; unfortunately, Carolina has won just three of past 10 games

22

St. Louis Blues

22

28-25-9

4-5-1

Trading away Brewer and Boyes shows Blues have all but given up on this year; but deal that sent Erik Johnson to Avs for Chris Stewart and Kevin Shattenkirk a definite win

23

Toronto Maple Leafs

27

27-27-9

5-1-4

Leafs have improved as they’ve shipped out Versteeg, Kaberle and Francois Beauchemin; their annual spring improvement looks to be “too little, too late” once again

24

Atlanta Thrashers

23

26-26-11

2-6-2

Hard to understand many of Thrashers’ moves; none have put a halt to their freefall through the standings

25

New Jersey Devils

26

27-31-4

9-1-0

Landing David Steckel from Caps for Arnott is a minor coup; coach Jacques Lemaire continues to be team’s most valuable person

26

Florida Panthers

25

26-29-7

3-6-1

Panthers GM Dale Tallon demolished team’s culture (and cut more than $6.8 million from payroll); their off-season will be among the more interesting to keep an eye on

27

Colorado Avalanche

24

26-30-7

1-8-1

No team in the league worse right now than the Avs: why did they hang onto coveted D-man John-Michael Liles?

28

New York Islanders

28

23-32-8

6-3-1

Isles retained blueliner Radek Martinek despite interest from teams; injuries prevented GM Garth Snow from clearing out even more veterans for draft picks and prospects

29

Ottawa Senators

29

21-32-9

4-5-1

Chris Phillips, Chris Neil fortunate to survive huge roster shake-up; given slim prospects of Sens’ immediate improvement, maybe fortunate isn’t the right word

30

Edmonton Oilers

30

20-35-8

4-6-0

Experts are split on how well Oilers did in Dustin Penner deal, but at least GM Steve Tambellini knows he needs young defensemen

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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