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Canucks crash the party

The Canucks are the second-best team in the league, two points behind Detroit with a game in hand. (Photo by Jeff Vinnick/NHLI via Getty Images)

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The Canucks are the second-best team in the league, two points behind Detroit with a game in hand. (Photo by Jeff Vinnick/NHLI via Getty Images)

Once again, the Red Wings and Rangers enjoy the top two spots in the THN.com Power Rankings. However, there is a new No. 3 team – the Vancouver Canucks, who haven't lost in regulation in their past 13 games (10-0-3) and who could pass Detroit for top spot in the West this week.

To do so, the Canucks certainly won't have an easy time of it: they've got five games left of a six-game road trip and with the exception of the slumping Stars, all of those games are against some of the NHL's most dangerous teams (Nashville, Detroit, New Jersey and Phoenix). Fortunately, Vancouver is a league-best 20-9-2 on the road this season and are about as healthy as a team can be. Nucks GM Mike Gillis doesn't have any salary cap space with which to acquire roster help or depth by the Feb. 27 trade deadline, but at this stage, it doesn't appear as if much help is required. Will they unseat the Wings or Blueshirts for a better position in next week's rankings? Check back at THN.com and find out!

THE HOCKEY NEWS POWER RANKINGS
RK.
TEAM
LW
OVERALL
P10
THE SCOOP
1
Detroit Red Wings
1
41-17-2
8-1-1
League home win record is now Wings', but their next opponent at home - the ultra-competitive Canucks, who are two points behind them in the standings - should be their toughest test yet
2
New York Rangers
2
38-14-5
7-2-1
Hard to see how acquiring Rick Nash could make this team better, given the high price GM Glen Sather would have to pay
3
Vancouver Canucks
4
38-15-6
8-0-2
Alexandre Burrows leads Canucks with a career-high six game-winning goals
4
St. Louis Blues
3
36-16-7
7-3-0
Blues host Bruins Wednesday before six-game road trip against Preds, Jets, Flames, Oilers, Canucks and Sharks
5
Nashville Predators
6
34-19-6
5-3-2
Was trade for Hal Gill a precursor to a Ryan Suter trade, or a sign Preds are going for it while they can still keep this team together? By next Tuesday, we'll have the answer
6
New Jersey Devils
9
34-20-4
8-1-1
Ilya Kovalchuk has a career-best three shorthanded goals, two shorthanded assists this year
7
Boston Bruins
5
35-20-2
4-6-0
Bruins haven't won two straight games since Jan. 10-12
8
Pittsburgh Penguins
7
33-21-5
5-4-1
James Neal has 13 power play goals this year; his previous career high was nine in 2008-09
9
Chicago Blackhawks
12
32-21-7
3-6-1
Hawks ended nine-game losing skid with three straight wins, face Wings, Stars, Kings, Ducks this week
10
San Jose Sharks
8
31-19-7
4-5-1
Sharks have just three points in first five games of mammoth road swing; need a much better performance against Jackets, Leafs, Preds and Wild before heading home
11
Phoenix Coyotes
16
29-21-9
8-1-1
Ray Whitney has 16 goals and no game-winners; Radim Vrbata has 28 goals and 10 game-winners
12
Philadelphia Flyers
11
32-19-7
3-5-2
Four-game road trip ends February for wilting Flyers who keep adding defensemen (Niklas Grossman and Pavel Kubina), but keep floundering in own end
13
Ottawa Senators
18
31-22-8
4-4-2
Daniel Alfredsson has 20 goals, 44 points and was a plus-9 in 55 games; in an injury-riddled 2010-11 season, he had 14 goals, 31 points and was a minus-19 in 54 games
14
Calgary Flames
17
28-22-9
5-2-3
Flames benefiting from white-hot play by Miikka Kiprusoff (1.32 goals-against average, .961 save percentage in his past three games)
15
Florida Panthers
10
27-20-11
5-5-0
Panthers face three opponents currently out of playoff position this week (Wild, Canes, Canadiens); if they don't put space between them and Caps/Jets, their fate deserves to be out of their hands
16
Toronto Maple Leafs
15
29-24-6
4-5-1
At 25:25, Dion Phaneuf averaging more than three minutes more a night than next-most-utilized Leaf (Carl Gunnarsson at 22:11)
17
Los Angeles Kings
13
27-21-11
4-5-1
Offensive woes continue to plague Kings, who have only four goal-scorers in double digits and nobody with more than Anze Kopitar's 17
18
Washington Capitals
14
29-25-5
3-6-1
Wishy-washy Caps were 12-9-1 under former coach Bruce Boudreau, now 17-16-4 under replacement Dale Hunter
19
Winnipeg Jets
22
29-26-6
6-4-0
Jets have won first two games of extended homestand, host Flyers, Bolts, Blues and Oilers before month's end
20
Dallas Stars
19
29-26-4
3-5-2
Win over Flames was only second since Feb. 4 for for spiraling Stars, who are 4-5-2 this month
21
Tampa Bay Lightning
21
26-26-6
5-3-2
Nearly 25 percent of Steven Stamkos' goals are game-winners (nine of 40)
22
Anaheim Ducks
26
25-24-10
6-1-3
Ducks have fought their way away from Western Conference dregs, but even the slightest letup will push them to the brink of elimination from the post-season
23
Colorado Avalanche
20
29-27-4
3-5-2
Fading post-season hopes could fade faster with tough week against playoff-hungry Kings, home-dominant Wings
24
Minnesota Wild
23
26-24-9
2-6-2
Win over Bruins Sunday was Wild's first since Feb. 2
25
Carolina Hurricanes
28
23-26-11
6-2-2
Canes doing their best to dig out of Eastern Conference basement; only one standings point separates them from 11th
26
New York Islanders
25
25-26-8
5-4-1
Embarrassing shellacking at the hands of Sens Monday shows how far this franchise still has to go
27
Montreal Canadiens
24
24-26-10
5-4-1
Dealing of Hal Gill was a win for GM Pierre Gauthier, but the Tomas Kaberle trade remains unforgivable
28
Buffalo Sabres
27
25-27-7
5-3-2
Sabres are NHL's meekest team this year, with a league-worst 1,059 hits (Rangers are first with 1,703)
29
Edmonton Oilers
29
22-30-6
4-4-2
Trading Ales Hemsky appears to be a foregone conclusion at this point
30
Columbus Blue Jackets
30
17-35-7
4-5-1
Decision to shop Rick Nash around is the right one; so is the choice to wait until the summer if GM Scott Howson doesn't like the offers

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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