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Bigger in Texas

Mike Ribeiro has 47 points in 56 games this season. (Photo by Francois Lacasse/NHLI via Getty Images)

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Mike Ribeiro has 47 points in 56 games this season. (Photo by Francois Lacasse/NHLI via Getty Images)

The Vancouver Canucks have dethroned the Detroit Red Wings as top team on THN.com’s NHL Power Rankings. And making a late charge up our list and into playoff contention are the Dallas Stars.

The Stars stumbled through the early part of February, unable to win two straight games until Feb. 21-23. But since then, they’ve reeled off two more wins and snuck back into the playoff race as the eighth seed (two points ahead of the Kings, who have one game in hand). That made GM Joe Nieuwendyk’s decisions about the trade deadline difficult, as he had more than a few veterans (including center Mike Ribeiro and agitator Steve Ott) who were drawing trade interest from other teams. However, with the team intact, it is safe to expect it will retain the resiliency that has become a hallmark of the Nieuwendyk Era.

Will Dallas continue to climb, or plummet out of the very tight playoff race? The answer will be reflected in next week’s edition of the Power Rankings. Check back each and every Monday to find out.

THE HOCKEY NEWS POWER RANKINGS
RK.
TEAM
LW
OVERALL
P10
THE SCOOP
1
Vancouver Canucks
3
40-16-7
7-1-2
One more road game for Canucks before they begin March with a seven-game homestand
2
New York Rangers
2
39-15-6
6-3-1
Blueshirts one of only two teams (Kings are the other) to not have double-digit regulation road losses this season (19-8-4)
3
Detroit Red Wings
1
41-19-3
6-3-1
Wings' current three-game losing streak was bound to happen, but don't worry, they'll be back looking like a juggernaut in no time
4
Nashville Predators
5
36-19-7
5-2-3
Additions of Hal Gill, Andrei Kostitsyn, Paul Gaustad demonstrate Preds ownership willing to spend to get team deeper into playoffs
5
St. Louis Blues
4
38-17-7
7-3-0
David Perron's point-per-game pace is .78 since returning from a concussion
6
Pittsburgh Penguins
8
36-21-5
6-3-1
Surging Pens have just two games this week, but both are against desperate Western Conference teams (Stars and Avs)
7
Boston Bruins
7
37-20-3
5-4-1
Nathan Horton hasn't played since Jan. 22, but still second on Bruins in power play goals (6)
8
Phoenix Coyotes
11
32-21-9
9-0-1
Yotes are league's hottest team (9-0-1 in their past 10) and now sit atop the Pacific Division
9
New Jersey Devils
6
35-22-4
6-3-1
Marek Zidlicky trade a gamble, but crafty GM Lou Lamoriello doesn't make too many gambling mistakes
10
Philadelphia Flyers
12
34-20-7
4-5-1
Wayne Simmonds on pace for a 29-goal season; his previous NHL best was 16 for the Kings in 2009-10
11
Ottawa Senators
13
33-23-8
6-3-1
Acquisition of Ben Bishop a boost for Sens not just for this year, but for the foreseeable future, as he'll push prospect Robin Lehner to play well
12
Chicago Blackhawks
9
33-24-7
4-6-0
Helter-skelter Hawks hoping Jonathan Toews' injury is as short-term as possible
13
San Jose Sharks
10
32-22-7
3-6-1
Extended road trip was a near-total failure for Sharks, who now have four straight home games (where they're 18-9-2) to stop the bleeding
14
Florida Panthers
15
29-20-12
5-4-1
Tomas Fleischmann on pace for 26-goal year, which would be a career best and more in line with his season for Caps in 2009-10, when he had 23 in 69 games
15
Dallas Stars
20
33-26-4
5-3-2
Gutsy Stars had huge week with victories against Hawks, Canucks; they face hot Pens before embarking on crucial Western Canada road trip
16
Colorado Avalanche
23
32-27-4
6-2-2
Avs reeled off big wins over Kings, Wings last week, but their task of making up playoff ground will be equally challenging this week with tilts against Ducks, Penguins
17
Los Angeles Kings
17
28-22-12
3-5-2
Trade for Jeff Carter a huge gamble with disastrous potential for Kings' future, but that's what happens when you have a desperate GM
18
Winnipeg Jets
19
30-26-8
6-2-2
Bryan Little third on Jets in goals (18), but first in game-winners (6)
19
Anaheim Ducks
22
27-25-10
7-1-2
Saku Koivu a team-best plus-13; Ryan Getzlaf is minus-13, worst among Ducks forwards
20
Washington Capitals
18
31-26-5
4-5-1
Six of next seven games are at home, where Caps are an impressive 20-8-2; if they slump over that span, that may be enough to push them out of playoff picture for good
21
Tampa Bay Lightning
21
28-28-6
5-4-1
GM Steve Yzerman is bulking up on draft picks by trading veterans Pavel Kubina, Dominic Moore; he could use them to acquire a long-term solution in goal this summer
22
Calgary Flames
14
28-23-11
4-1-5
Tom Kostopoulos has Flames' only shorthanded goal all season
23
Toronto Maple Leafs
16
29-26-7
2-7-1
February swoon has local media, fans clamoring for all kinds of change, but Leafs eschew quick fixes and stay the course
24
Minnesota Wild
24
28-25-9
3-6-1
Devin Setoguchi on pace for a 36-point season; in 2008-09, he had 65 for the Sharks
25
Buffalo Sabres
28
27-27-8
5-3-2
Six of Sabres' next seven games are away from home, giving fans a break from watching them play out the string in person
26
Carolina Hurricanes
25
23-26-13
5-1-4
Chad LaRose is a team-worst minus-18; last year, he was a team-worst minus-21
27
New York Islanders
26
26-28-8
4-6-0
Isles have second-worst 5-on-5 goals for/against ratio, showing just how far this franchise still has to go to be a contender
28
Montreal Canadiens
27
24-29-10
4-5-1
Remember when people thought Habs weren't just a playoff team, but a contender to win their division? Funny stuff
29
Edmonton Oilers
29
24-31-6
4-5-1
Re-signing of Alex Hemsky a head-scratcher; last thing this team needs is to devote more salary cap space to its forwards
30
Columbus Blue Jackets
30
18-37-7
4-5-1
Acquisition of Jack Johnson gives Jackets first potential blueline star in franchise history; eventual trading of Rick Nash will bring more hope via prospects, young players

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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