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Power Rankings: Battle of the Titans tonight in Washington

Ken Campbell
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Power Rankings: Battle of the Titans tonight in Washington

News

Power Rankings: Battle of the Titans tonight in Washington

Ken Campbell
By:

The top two teams in thn.com's Power Rankings will meet tonight when the Capitals host the Penguins.

Alex Ovechkin has a chance to reach 1,000 points tonight on home ice and it’s only fitting that the opportunity will come in a game against Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins. The Washington-Pittsburgh matchup has always been about Sid vs. Ovie, but tonight’s game will be about more than just that.

First of all, the Capitals and the Penguins are the two hottest teams in the league, with the Capitals riding a six-game winning streak and the Penguins winners of their past five. The two teams have split this year’s series, but the Penguins will be looking to avenge an embarrassing 7-1 beating at the hands of the Capitals in November.

And the winning team will find itself just one point out of first place in the best division in hockey, the Metropolitan Division, behind the Columbus Blue Jackets, who have faded a little after winning 16 in a row themselves and being knocked out of top spot in thn.com’s weekly Power Rankings. Speaking of said rankings, it comes as no surprise that the Penguins and Capitals find themselves battling for top spot (Last week’s rankings in parentheses.):

THE CREAM OF THE CROP
1.
Pittsburgh Penguins (2)
2. Washington Capitals (3)
3. Chicago Blackhawks (11)
4. New York Rangers (6)
5. San Jose Sharks (10)
6. Minnesota Wild (4)
7. Columbus Blue Jackets (1)
8. Anaheim Ducks (7)
9. Montreal Canadiens (5)
10. Carolina Hurricanes (24)

The Penguins came off their bye week Monday night the same way they went into it – with a win…The Capitals have points in seven straight games and given up two or fewer goals in six of them…A perfect four-game home stand gives the Blackhawks a 17-4-4 record at the United Center…No NHL team has more points on the road than the 30 (15-6-0) the Rangers have earned away from Madison Square Garden…It took the Sharks 40 games to score five goals in a game this season, then they went out and did it in back-to-back game…The Wild extended their road points streak to 10 games and gave coach Bruce Boudreau a win in his return to Anaheim with a 2-1 victory Monday night…Don’t look now, but Cam Atkinson now has four straight 20-goal seasons to his credit…The Ducks got a power-play goal in a 2-0 win over Dallas Tuesday night, their first with the man advantage in five games…With Carey Price, Shea Weber and Michel Therrien shoo-ins for the All-Star Game, there was no room at the inn for the deserving Max Pacioretty...Hurricanes coach Bill Peters said, “I like our group, we’re becoming more competitive,” after a 5-3 win over Columbus Tuesday night.

THE MUSHY MIDDLE
11.
Boston Bruins (19)
12. Ottawa Senators (18)
13. Toronto Maple Leafs (13)
14. Calgary Flames (14)
15. St. Louis Blues (8)
16. Edmonton Oilers (16)
17. Florida Panthers (20)
18. Los Angeles Kings (9)
19. Buffalo Sabres (23)
20. Philadelphia Flyers (17)

After scoring just one goal in 10 games for the Bruins, Brad Marchand has five in his past three…About the only thing the Senators are doing with their mystery treatment of Bobby Ryan and refusal to talk about it is fuelling speculation…After being named to the All-Star Game, rookie Auston Matthews said he’s ready to take on even a bigger role with the Maple Leafs…Troy Brouwer will miss his eighth game tonight with a broken pinky finger, but has a checkup later in the week and is hoping to be cleared to play…The Bruins scored four goals on their first 13 shots in a 5-3 win over the Blues Tuesday night with Jake Allen giving up three on 11 shots. There’s nothing that ails the Blues at the moment that couldn’t be cured by better goaltending…The new Rogers Place has not been kind to the Oilers. They’re just 9-8-2 in their new home…A 3-0 victory over New Jersey Monday night was Roberto Luongo’s 448th of his career, which put him ahead of Terry Sawchuk for fifth on the NHL’s all-time list. Next on the list is Curtis Joseph at 454, but Luongo was realistic about his chances of catching Martin Brodeur’s 691 wins at the top of the list when he Tweeted the following after the game: “After doing the math, if I play another 28 years I will still fall about 5-6 wins shy of tying Marty’s record!”…The Kings have been outscored 6-0 in the first period of their past three games. Two of those ended in losses…Jack Eichel played in his 100th NHL game in a 4-1 win over Philadelphia Tuesday night. He has 32-38-70 totals in that time and the Sabres are 44-41-15 in the games in which he’s played…Flyers goalie Steve Mason after his team’s 4-1 loss to Buffalo Tuesday night: “That 10-game win streak seems like a long time ago right now.”

VYING FOR THE PARTICIPATION BADGE
21.
Nashville Predators (26)
22. Vancouver Canucks (12)
23. New York Islanders (21)
24. Winnipeg Jets (22)
25. New Jersey Devils (15)
26. Dallas Stars (27)
27. Detroit Red Wings (28)
28. Arizona Coyotes (30)
29. Colorado Avalanche (29)
30. Tampa Bay Lightning (25)

Going into tonight’s game against Boston, the Predators have a chance to win two in a row for only the second time since before American Thanksgiving…The Canucks’ 27th-ranked power play had just one shot in almost five minutes of power-play time in a 2-1 overtime loss to Nashville Tuesday night. To make matters worse, they lost the game on a shorthanded goal in OT…After winning four of five, the Islanders lost back-to-back games on the road in overtime to Colorado and Arizona, the two worst teams in the NHL…WWE and UFC star Brock Lesnar walked over the Jets logo in a recent visit to their dressing room. Surprisingly, nobody had an issue with it…Devils coach John Hynes had some harsh words when asked why rookie Pavel Zacha has only two goals in 36 games this season: “Why is he not scoring?” Hynes said. “He’s got to shoot the puck more. He has to play harder on the puck in the offensive area. He’s got to skate. He’s not putting himself in positions to score goals either.”…With a whole whack of pending unrestricted free agents, including Patrick Sharp, Patrick Eaves, Jiri Hudler, Ales Hemsky and Johnny Oduya, the Stars should probably start seriously consider being sellers at the trade deadline, no?...In a 4-3 overtime loss to Chicago Tuesday night, the Red Wings were on the power play for nine seconds and were killing penalties for a total of 8:56…The Coyotes 2-1 shootout win over the Islanders on the weekend marked the first time in 10 that they had actually won a game…At least the Avs are keeping it consistent. Not only are they last in the league, but they’re also 30th in goals per game (2.0) and goals-against per game (3.3)…Lightning GM Steve Yzerman has acknowledged he might have to give up a core player to improve his roster, but made it clear a coaching change is not in the future. “I think (Jon Cooper) is doing an excellent job,” Yzerman said this week.

 

 

 

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Power Rankings: Battle of the Titans tonight in Washington