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Sharks smell blood

Joe Pavelski and Joe Thronton have a combined 19 points this season. (Photo by Andy Marlin/NHLI via Getty Images)

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Joe Pavelski and Joe Thronton have a combined 19 points this season. (Photo by Andy Marlin/NHLI via Getty Images)

Despite losing (twice) for the first time last week, the Washington Capitals remain No. 1 in THN's Power Rankings, but the San Jose Sharks are closing in fast.

The Sharks stumbled out of the gate with three losses in their first four regular season games. However, since then, they've won five in a row, including tough road wins over Boston and Detroit. They're getting solid goaltending from Antti Niemi (2.19 goals-against average, .917 save percentage), a boatload of offense from Joe Pavelski (a team-best seven goals and 11 points), and all-around admirable two-way play (seven players are a plus-4 or better). After finishing up their six-game road trip against the Rangers on Halloween night, San Jose has a much less frightening six consecutive home games. That said, four of those come against playoff teams from last season (Pittsburgh, Nashville, L.A. and Detroit), so they'll still have to be at their best.

Be sure to check back each Monday for the latest rankings.

THE HOCKEY NEWS POWER RANKINGS
RK.
TEAM
LW
OVERALL
THE SCOOP
1 Washington Capitals
1
7-2-0
First two losses of the season don't mean Caps aren't as dangerous as anyone
2 Pittsburgh Penguins
3
8-3-2
Numerous injuries don't seem to matter to sea-deep Penguins
3 San Jose Sharks
13
6-3-0
White-hot Sharks have only allowed more than three goals once this season (a 4-2 loss to Blues)
4 Los Angeles Kings
4
6-3-2
Six of next seven games are at home for Kings
5 Buffalo Sabres
5
6-4-0
Derek Roy on pace for eight-goal, 32-point season
6 Vancouver Canucks
6
5-5-1
Manny Malhotra, Kevin Bieksa both minus-7; Keith Ballard a minus-9
7 Philadelphia Flyers
7
6-4-1
Loss of Chris Pronger will test Flyers' defensive depth in a major way
8 Dallas Stars
9
8-3-0
Big rest for Stars this week - four days off before Colorado Friday, then Carolina Sunday to kick off difficult four-game road trip (Caps, Pens, Wings)
9 Toronto Maple Leafs
11
7-3-1
Resilient Leafs can build on surprising record with road games against Devils, Jackets home tilt against Bruins
10 Chicago Blackhawks
10
6-2-2
Remember when some people thought the Hawks should've traded Patrick Sharp (who has a team-best eight points) a couple years ago? Hahaha
11 Colorado Avalanche
8
7-4-0
Semyon Varlamov, J-S Giguere have identical save percentages (.924)
12 Detroit Red Wings
2
5-4-0
Six straight home games just what doctor ordered for freefalling Wings, who are 3-1 at Joe Louis Arena
13 Edmonton Oilers
24
7-2-2
Nikolai Khabibulin looking like he did in his vintage Lightning days for surprising Oilers
14 Tampa Bay Lightning
14
5-4-2
Steve Downie a team-worst minus-6
15 Nashville Predators
20
5-4-1
None of Preds' top seven point-producers have a game-winning goal
16 Florida Panthers
21
6-4-0
Cats look good in spurts, but have yet to demonstrate game-to-game consistency
17 Ottawa Senators
29
7-5-0
Have to give coach Paul MacLean, young Sens credit for six straight wins; three big division games this week (first Boston, then home-and-home against Montreal)
18 Phoenix Coyotes
22
5-3-2
39-year-old Ray Whitney leading offensive attack for so-so Yotes
19 Anaheim Ducks
12
5-5-1
Win over Wild only Ducks' second in seven games since Oct. 17
20 New Jersey Devils
15
4-4-1
Wait, you're telling me the Devils have trouble producing offense? Shocking
21 Montreal Canadiens
26
4-5-2
If only the Canadiens could play the skidding Bruins every night
22 St. Louis Blues
16
5-6-0
Road trip began well with win over Canucks, but went pear-shaped with losses to Flames, Oilers
23 New York Islanders
18
3-4-2
After winning three of their first four games, Isles have dropped their past five
24 Minnesota Wild
25
4-3-3
Opening night 4-2 win over Blue Jackets the only time Wild have scored more than three goals
25 Carolina Hurricanes
19
4-4-3
Canes are 1-4-3 when allowing three or more goals
26 Boston Bruins
17
3-7-0
If Bruins can't turn their slump around against Sens, Leafs this week, GM Peter Chiarelli will have to make roster adjustments quickly to salvage season
27 Calgary Flames
28
4-4-1
Two home wins don't cover up problems generating offense
28 New York Rangers
23
3-3-3
Coach John Tortorella isn't taking reporters' questions, but doesn't have answers for Rangers' on-ice woes
29 Winnipeg Jets
27
3-6-1
Crazy 9-8 win over Flyers was nice, but offense was non-existent in losses to Rangers, Bolts
30 Columbus Blue Jackets
30
2-9-1
First two wins of the year came last week; now they must attempt the Herculean task of getting themselves back in the playoff race

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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