Power Rankings: No. 1 Rangers strong and getting stronger

Ken Campbell
Keith Yandle and Cam Talbot (Gregg Forwerck/Getty Images)

The New York Rangers are clearly emerging as a team that can play the game any way you want it. They’ve won seven of their past eight games. In the first seven of those games, they scored a total of 11 goals. Then on Sunday, facing the high-flying Anaheim Ducks, they poured seven into the back of the net.

The Rangers are strong and with goalie Henrik Lundqvist coming back any day now, they’re getting stronger. They’re doing a lot of damage without Martin St-Louis and Kevin Klein. And that’s why they hold down the No. spot in thn.com’s Power Rankings for the second straight week. (Last week’s ranking in parentheses.) Read more

Power Rankings: No. 1 Rangers prepare for return of King Henrik

Ken Campbell
Mackenzie Skapski  (Photo by Bill Wippert/NHLI via Getty Images)

A source close to the New York Rangers told thn.com that the team has targeted the Rangers game March 24 against the Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings for the return of Henrik Lundqvist.

But will King Henrik be able to find a place in the lineup? The Rangers are 14-2-3 with understudies Cam Talbot and Mackenzie Skapski in the lineup and have been the best team in the NHL since the calendar turned to 2015. Of course, Lundqvist will be back in the net for the Rangers after missing 23 games, as he should be.

But at least this team knows it has two capable guys if Lundqvist goes down again. And their contribution is a big reason why the Rangers are at the top of thn.com’s Power Rankings this week. (Last week’s rankings in parentheses.) Read more

Power Rankings: Lightning sits in No. 1 spot…for now

Ken Campbell
Steven Stamkos and the Tampa Bay Lightning celebrate a win. (Gerry Thomas/Getty Images)

Well, we’re finally through the dog days of the season and the trade deadline is in the rear-view mirror. And now things are really getting interesting.

Take tonight, for instance. Montreal hosts Tampa Bay with first place in the Atlantic Division on the line. About the same time, the Islanders host the Rangers in the last game between the rivals at Nassau Coliseum with the Islanders in the mix with the Canadiens and Lightning for first overall in the Eastern Conference. Boston visits Ottawa in a game that could have huge playoff implications and the Stanley Cup champs will try to get back in the playoff picture with a win in Colorado, which has won three straight.

Yup, things are getting fun for sure. And every night is bound to play havoc with our Power Rankings, which sees the Lightning currently on top. (Last week’s ranking in parentheses.) Read more

Power Rankings: No. 1 Ducks rebuild their defense corps

Ken Campbell
Anaheim celly

The Anaheim Ducks have a 12-point lead on the next best team in the toughest division in hockey. If there was a team content to stand pat at the trade deadline, it should have been the Ducks.

Instead, GM Bob Murray made a flurry of moves just under the wire to radically alter his defense corps. The Ducks feel they’re now better equipped to get through the battle of attrition that is the Western Conference in the playoffs. In the here and now, however, the Ducks sit atop thn.com’s weekly Power Rankings. (Last week’s rankings in parentheses.) Read more

Power Rankings: Kings back in black, back at No. 1

Ken Campbell
Jonathan Quick and Drew Doughty  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Now that outdoor game and the experiment with the white pants is behind them, the Los Angeles Kings can now concentrate on their annual romp through the stretch run. Backed by a suddenly white-hot (couldn’t help it) Jonathan Quick and a revived offense, the Kings are back and on the rise.

They’ve won seven in a row and are peaking at a very, very good time. That’s why they’re No. 1 in thn.com’s Power Rankings this week, followed closely by another team that is making a big playoff push. (Last week’s ranking in parentheses.) Read more

Power Rankings: Deadline buyers in Nashville move to No. 1

Ken Campbell
Matt Cullen (Photo by John Russell/NHLI via Getty Images)

Just what the Nashville Predators needed – another scoring defenseman. Even before Predators GM Davie Poile swung a deal to acquire Cody Franson from Toronto, he had the highest-scoring defense corps in the NHL.

Franson, who now gives the Predators three of the top-20 scoring defensemen in the league, will add to that dimension. Now if the Predators can just avoid having to play the defending Stanley Cup champs in the first round of the playoffs, they’ll be just fine.

For now though, the Predators are the top team in the league in thn.com’s weekly Power Rankings. (Last week’s ranking in parentheses.) Read more

Power Rankings: Red Wings soar to top spot

Ken Campbell
Pavel Datsyuk  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

When your trusty correspondent informed Detroit Red Wings GM Ken Holland at the team’s rookie tournament in Traverse City in September that The Hockey News had picked his team to miss the playoffs, Holland was incredulous.

He spent much of the next two days making a case for his Red Wings, saying that if Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg could stay healthy and their goaltending could improve, they could surprise some people.

Well, there’s surprising people, then there’s knocking their socks off. The Red Wings are near the top of the league in the NHL standings and, for this week at least, at the top of thn.com’s weekly Power Rankings. (Last week’s ranking in parentheses.) Read more

Power Rankings: No. 1 Blues await word on Kevin Shattenkirk

Ken Campbell
Shattenkirk

Even with a defense corps as deep as the St. Louis Blues blueline, losing a player the likes of Kevin Shattenkirk is going to hurt. The Blues hope they won’t have to deal with that, but Shattenkirk left the Blues game Sunday afternoon with an upper-body injury and is expected to be re-evaluated today.

Should Shattenkirk be out for a while, it would be a blow to a team that has won five in a row and playing its best hockey of the season. Shattenkirk, who took an accidental elbow to the head then slid into the boards, had scored the game-game deciding goal in two of the Blues shootout victories last week and leads the league with 20 power-play assists.

That’s part of the reason why the Blues find themselves at the top of thn.com’s weekly Power Rankings. (Last week’s ranking in parentheses.) Read more