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Power Rankings: Caps and Stars NHL's models of consistency

Ken Campbell
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Washington Capitals (Photo by Gregory Shamus/NHLI via Getty Images) Author: The Hockey News

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Power Rankings: Caps and Stars NHL's models of consistency

Ken Campbell
By:

The Washington Capitals are the hottest team in the NHL right now and only one of two teams that has yet to lose two straight games this season. The other? It's our No. 2 team in Power Rankings.

There’s no secret to why the Washington Capitals and Dallas Stars occupy the top two spots in the NHL standings and in thn.com’s Power Rankings this week. It’s because they’ve both been models of consistency this season.

In fact, they’re the only two teams in the NHL that have not lost successive games so far this season. The Capitals, in fact, are the hottest team in the league with an 8-1-1 record in their past 10 and a stretch in which they’ve picked up at least one point in 13 of their past 15 games. (Last week’s rankings in parentheses.)

THE CREAM OF THE CROP
1. Washington Capitals (2)
2. Dallas Stars (3)
3. Calgary Flames (17)
4. Minnesota Wild (13)
5. Los Angeles Kings (1)
6. New York Rangers (8)
7. Edmonton Oilers (11)
8. New York Islanders (6)
9. Detroit Red Wings (4)
10. Montreal Canadiens (7)

Whatever you do, try to jump on the Capitals early. They’re 9-0-0 when they score first and 14-0-1 when leading after the first period…The Stars have given up 16 and 17 shots in the first periods of their past two games…The Flames and Johnny Gaudreau love their 3-on-3 overtime. The Flames are 8-1 in the extra period and Gaudreau has 3-4-7 OT totals…Prior to beating Vancouver 6-1 Tuesday night, the Wild had scored just 10 goals in its previous six games…Although he's played only three games this season and is out with shoulder surgery, Kings defenseman Matt Greene went on the long-term injury list only on Tuesday. that could be a precursor to a move to fill his spot…Derek Stepan (broken ribs) is expected to be back in the lineup for the Rangers either Thursday night in Minnesota or Friday in Winnipeg…Jordan Eberle is heating up for the Oilers with 5-3-8 totals in his past six games…The Islanders had 19 shots in the first period of their 5-1 loss to Florida Tuesday night. Oddly, John Tavares was the only Islander not to register a shot in the game… A three-word quote that has to have the Red Wings very nervous these days: “Something is missing.” The speaker? Pavel Datsyuk…The Canadiens are 2-5-1 in their past eight and have scored more than two goals in only one of those games.

THE MUSHY MIDDLE
11.Tampa Bay Lightning (19)
12. Colorado Avalanche (25)
13. Ottawa Senators (10)
14. St. Louis Blues (12)
15. Florida Panthers (22)
16. Philadelphia Flyers (18)
17. New Jersey Devils (14)
18. Boston Bruins (15)
19. Chicago Blackhawks (5)
20. Nashville Predators (15)

The Lightning are 8-4-0 in their past 12 games, but pending unrestricted free agent Steven Stamkos has just two goals in that span, with both coming in the same game… The Avs are 4-7-1 at home and are tied with San Jose for the fewest wins at home this season…Andrew Hammond has returned from his concussion and is expected to get his first start in more than a month tonight when the Senators visit Washington…Patrik Berglund, who has been out all season after off-season shoulder surgery, has begun practicing with the Blues…The Panthers sent David Bolland and his $5.5 million cap hit to the minors for a conditioning stint after registering two shots in 11 games. GM Dave Tallon says he wants Bolland to get back to what he was in 2010, but gee, that was almost six years ago…Go to the head of the class and collect your gold star if you knew that Flyers rookie defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere is tied for the NHL lead in overtime goals with three…After giving his team an F-minus (which was your trusty correspondent’s math grade in high school) for their 4-0 loss to the Islanders on the weekend, Devils coach John Hynes gave his team an A-plus for its 2-0 win over Buffalo Tuesday… David Pastrnak, who has been out since Oct. 3 with a broken foot, has returned to practice, but no date has been set for his return. The World Juniors is looking less and less likely…The Blackhawks freed up about $1 million in cap space when they dealt Trevor Daley to Pittsburgh for Rob Scuderi. That’s a lot when you’re as close to the cap as the Blackhawks always are…The Predators OT loss to Calgary Tuesday night dropped them to 0-5 in the 3-on-3 extra period.

VYING FOR THE PARTICIPATION BADGE
21. San Jose Sharks (27)
22. Carolina Hurricanes (26)
23. Arizona Coyotes (30)
24. Anaheim Ducks (16)
25. Pittsburgh Penguins (21)
26. Toronto Maple Leafs (20)
27. Winnipeg Jets (23)
28. Buffalo Sabres (29)
29. Vancouver Canucks (24)
30. Columbus Blue Jackets (28)

The earliest Logan Couture will be back from surgery to repair a bleeding artery in his thigh is Dec. 28 against Colorado…If the Hurricanes are indeed looking to trade Jeff Skinner, his stock should be on the rise in a big way. Two hat tricks in a week, nine goals in his past six games…The Coyotes newest acquisition, Christian Thomas, is only 23, but he’s already on his third NHL organization. Arizona gives him the best chance of sticking…Credit Ryan Getzlaf for taking ownership over his dismal season in which he’s scored just one empty-net goal. Speaking about being split up with Corey Perry this season, he said, “At the end of the day, we’re pros and we got to be able to react better.”…The conga line of injuries continues with the Penguins, who added Marc-Andre Fleury (concussion) and Beau Bennett (undisclosed) to their list of hurting players…The Maple Leafs are 10-5-2 with James Reimer and/or Garret Sparks in the net, 0-8-2 with Jonathan Bernier…The Jets can kiss a playoff spot goodbye unless they start playing better in their own division. They’re 3-10-0 against Central Division teams…Prior to his team being shut out by New Jersey Tuesday night, Sam Reinhart had 2-4-6 totals in eight games…Canucks coach Willie Desjardins had this to say after his team was thrashed 6-2 by Minnesota Tuesday night: “Oh, there’s quite a bit that bothered me.”…After two very bad periods in his team’s 6-2 loss to Minnesota Tuesday, Ryan Johansen of the Blue Jackets was benched for the third period.

 

 

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Power Rankings: Caps and Stars NHL's models of consistency