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Wild things

Dany Heatley has nine goals and 20 points through 30 games as the Wild are the top team in the NHL standings. (Photo by Jeff Vinnick/NHLI via Getty Images)

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Dany Heatley has nine goals and 20 points through 30 games as the Wild are the top team in the NHL standings. (Photo by Jeff Vinnick/NHLI via Getty Images)

The Philadelphia Flyers are atop THN's Power Rankings for the second time this season, but there's an even hotter team moving up the chart – the shockingly good Minnesota Wild. Picked by few to make the playoffs this year, the Wild currently are on a league-best seven-game win streak and are the Western Conference's (and the league’s) top team. Summer additions Dany Heatley and Devin Setoguchi have combined for 17 goals and 33 points, rookie coach Mike Yeo has got contributions from all corners – the Wild have nine players with at least 12 points – and their top goalies have stellar numbers (both starter Niklas Backstrom and backup Josh Harding have identical .932 save percentages).

Speaking of consistency, the Wild have virtually identical home (10-4-1) and road (10-3-2) records. In fact, they are the league's only team to have amassed 10 wins at home and away. Will they be able to continue their push up the rankings? Check back every Monday afternoon to find out.

THE HOCKEY NEWS POWER RANKINGS
RK.
TEAM
LW
OVERALL
P10
THE SCOOP
1
Philadelphia Flyers 5
18-7-3
7-3-0
Seven of eight remaining December tilts are away games, but that's no problem for the road warrior Flyers (10-3-1 outside of Philadelphia)
2
Boston Bruins 2
18-9-1
7-2-1
Tyler Seguin leading Bruins in goals, points, plus-minus and excuses for missing team functions
3
Minnesota Wild 8
20-7-3
8-2-0
If you had the Wild leading the Western Conference by mid-December, Miss Cleo's psychic network would like a word with you
4
Pittsburgh Penguins 1
17-9-4
6-3-1
Injuries continuing to plague Sidney Crosby, Pens
5
Detroit Red Wings 4
18-9-1
8-2-0
Scored four goals in two losses early last week, then netted 12 in two follow-up victories
6
San Jose Sharks 3
15-10-2
4-5-1
Imagine how dangerous the Sharks would be if they didn't have the NHL's third-worst penalty kill (75.3 percent)
7
Vancouver Canucks 10
18-10-1
9-1-0
Nucks are on serious roll and have chance to continue it this week with road tilts against Jackets, Hurricanes, Leafs
8
Chicago Blackhawks 7
18-8-4
6-3-1
Big road showdown against West-leading Wild on Wednesday, then two weekend home games against relative pushovers (Ducks, Flames)
9
New York Rangers 6
17-6-4
7-2-1
Michael Del Zotto leads Blueshirts with a plus-15 rating; in first two NHL seasons, he was a combined minus-25
10
Florida Panthers 11
16-9-5
5-3-2
D-man Brian Campbell on pace for 60-assist season; in his last two seasons with Hawks, he had a combined 53 helpers
11
St. Louis Blues 14
17-9-3
7-2-1
Big wins over Wings, Sharks last week show expectations are right to be high
12
Washington Capitals 12
15-12-1
5-5-0
Caps have exact same shots-per-game average (30.2) as shots-allowed-per-game average
13
Toronto Maple Leafs 13
15-11-3
5-4-1
Goalie James Reimer still finding his way after returning to lineup (0-1-1, 3.44 goals-against average, .863 save percentage in his past two games)
14
Los Angeles Kings 9
13-12-4
3-6-1
Terry Murray coaching watch on high alert
15
Buffalo Sabres 15
15-12-2
3-5-2
Jason Pominville on pace for 59 assists, 89 points; career highs are 53 assists, 80 points
16
Dallas Stars 16
16-11-1
5-4-1
Stars allowing a league-worst average of 32.6 shots per game
17
Nashville Predators 17
14-11-4
4-6-0
Shea Weber (15 assists, 21 points, one shorthanded goal, 26:08 of average ice time, 24 penalty minutes) and Ryan Suter (15 assists, 20 points, one shorthanded goal, 26:54 of average ice time, 22 PIM) are nearly identical on-ice twins
18
Winnipeg Jets 23
13-12-4
6-3-1
Six-game homestand kicks off Wednesday, brings Jets some of league's best teams (Wild, Penguins) and worst (Ducks, Isles)
19
Phoenix Coyotes 19
15-11-3
5-5-0
Ray Whitney on pace for 70 points; in eight of his past nine seasons, he's had at least 55 points
20
Montreal Canadiens 20
12-11-7
3-3-4
Trade for Tomas Kaberle a clear sign of a management team running out of time
21
Ottawa Senators 21
13-13-4
3-4-3
Sergei Gonchar and Chris Phillips both have a plus-minus rating of 0; last season, they were a combined minus-40
22
Tampa Bay Lightning 18
12-15-2
3-7-0
Martin St-Louis' eye injury puts serious crimp in Lightning's ability to pull out of this losing spiral (losers of six of their past seven)
23
Edmonton Oilers 24
14-13-3
4-5-1
In shadow of Ryan Nugent-Hopkins' rookie dominance, Jordan Eberle having stellar sophomore year: on pace for 30 goals, 84 points
24
Calgary Flames 27
14-13-2
6-3-1
Made most of three-game homestand with wins over Canes, Avs, Oilers; now head out for four games against much tougher opponents (Preds, Bolts, Panthers and Hawks)
25
Colorado Avalanche 22
13-16-1
4-6-0
Three-game losing skid could continue this week with two games against Sharks, one vs. Caps
26
New Jersey Devils 26
14-13-1
4-6-0
Only Ducks, Kings and Isles have fewer goals than Devils
27
New York Islanders 25
9-12-6
4-3-3
At 0-2, Isles one of six teams (including Canes, Flyers, Blues, Preds and Flames) without a shootout win
28
Columbus Blue Jackets 30
8-17-4
4-4-2
Jackets got three of possible six points last week, but will be in tough to do same this week when facing hot Canucks, desperate Kings and Lightning
29
Anaheim Ducks 29
8-16-5
2-7-1
Ducks have just two wins since Nov. 13
30
Carolina Hurricanes 28
9-18-4
2-7-1
Still can't believe someone took Tomas Kaberle off Jim Rutherford's hands; Canes will need more unbelievably good luck to get them back in 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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