As the NHL puts yet another week behind them in the abbreviated season, some teams that are used to being near the top of the rankings have their work cut out for them as they continue to unexpectedly falter.
This week, the Chicago Blackhawks continued to assert their dominance, proving that they are in it to win it this season. The Washington Capitals, on the other hand, need to find the kind of fire the Blackhawks have, as they fall again this week, and currently hold the worst record in the NHL.
1. Chicago Blackhawks (10-0-3) Last week: 1
The Blackhawks remain on top for the second week in a row, and it is no coincidence that they have yet to lose a game in regulation. Patrick Kane’s talents continue to be recognized as the league named him the First Star of the Week.
2. Boston Bruins (8-1-0) Last week:3
The Bruins remain confident in goaltender Tuuku Rask, so much so that the organization traded away Tim Thomas, who helped lead them to a Stanley Cup title in 2011, to the New York Islanders.
3. New Jersey Devils (8-2-3) Last week:10
David Clarkson has been a pleasant surprise for the Devils, as he leads his team with nine goals, and future hall of fame goalie Martin Brodeur, 40, continues defy his own mortality. In a game against the Penguins last Saturday, while retrieving his stick, Brodeur managed to stop a goal, despite tripping over himself. [VIDEO]
4. Pittsburgh Penguins (9-5-0) Last week:4
Despite losing two straight games before Wednesday's victory over the Senators, the Pens are a solid team, led by captain Sidney Crosby (17 points). Teams are allowed to lose from time to time, so they remain slated at the fourth spot.
5. Anaheim Ducks (9-2-1) Last week: 8
With the Ducks going 2-1 and sitting atop the Pacific Division, they jump up five spots. The Finnish duo of Teemu Selanne (14 points) and Saku Koivu (13) continues to be a powerhouse for Gordon Bombay's crew - yes, that's a Mighty Ducks joke.
6. San Jose Sharks (7-3-3) Last week:2
The Sharks have started to falter, losing their last five games. However, a few of those losses were in OT, which helps their case, and could mean that they are just having a difficult time finishing games.
7. Ottawa Senators (7-5-2) Last week: 7
The Sens only won one out of their last four games, but three of those games went into overtime, which helps them - just like the Sharks. Furthermore, Kyle Turris has stepped up in Jason Spezza’s absence, as he leads the team with 11 points.
8. Vancouver Canucks (8-2-2) Last week: 11
Despite uncertain goaltending, the Canucks are finding ways to win. They are currently riding a six-game win streak and continue to climb the rankings.
9. Carolina Hurricanes (7-4-1) Last week: 21
The ‘Canes have earned their way into the top 10, as they went 3-1 in their last four games. Eric Staal (16 points) continues to lead his team alongside his brother, Jordan (11).
10. New York Rangers (7-5-0) Last week: 13
The Rangers went 3-0 last week and are starting to show why they are normally near the top of the league standings. Newly acquired Rick Nash continues to show how Columbus held him back, as he leads the Rangers with ten points.
11. Montreal Canadiens (7-4-1) Last week: 9
The Canadiens drop after going 1-3 last week. Max Pacioretty was threatened by an injury - again - after being allegedly bitten by Toronto’s Mikhail Grabovski. Thanks to his super-human healing abilities, Pacioretty survived and was able to stay in Montreal’s line-up. He did, however, need to get a cautionary tetanus shot.
12. St. Louis Blues (7-5-1) Last week: 6
The Blues have turned cold as they dropped another three games this week. With starter goalie Jaroslav Halak still on the injury reserve, backup Brian Elliot needs to step up if St. Louis hopes to climb back into the top 10.
13. Detroit Red Wings (7-4-2) Last week: 12
Henrik Zetterberg (18 points) is trying to get the Red Wings out of their rut and silence the fans claiming the Wings are lost without Nicklas Lidstrom. Winning three consectuvie games last week is certainly a start.
14. Dallas Stars (7-6-1) Last week: 14
The Stars seem to be doing something right with veteran players Jaromir Jagr and Ray Whitney. The Stars have won three out of their last four with the one loss being a 7-4 beating by Calgary.
15. Nashville Predators (6-3-4) Last week: 20
The Preds are looking improve their record after going 2-2 in their last four. However, Pekka Rinne did get a huge win, shutting out the Sharks on Tuesday.
16. Tampa Bay Lightning (6-5-1) Last week: 5
The Lightning plummeted down the rankings after they shockingly dropped four games last week. The team knows that they need to improve, as point-leader Steve Stamkos spoke out, calling their losses "unacceptable."
17. Minnesota Wild (6-6-1) Last week: 14
The Wild drop again, mostly due to their inability to find consistency. They had another mediocre week, going 2-2 in their last four. At least they are consistent at one thing...
18. Philadelphia Flyers (6-7-1) Last week: 17
The Flyers continue to try to turn their season around with help from Ilya Bryzgalov's netminding and Matt Read’s goal scoring (five goals). We have seen a change in Philly, as the Orange and Black appear to be more aggressive on the puck.
19. Toronto Maple Leafs (8-5-0) Last week: 28
Goalie James Reimer logged a 6-0 shutout against the Montreal Canadiens to give the Leafs a huge win. They are currently riding a four-game win streak. Unfortunately, Reimer has an injured knee and is expected to be out for a week.
20. Phoenix Coyotes (6-5-2) Last week:26
The Coyotes continue to try to climb the rankings this season and prove that last year’s playoff run was not a fluke. Winning two out of their last three definitely helps, especially when veteran Shane Doan netted the OT winner against the Colorado Avalanche.
21. New York Islanders (4-7-1) Last week: 15
The Islanders acquired Tim Thomas, but it was purely a cap move as Thomas has no desire to play this season. So they are stuck with an ailing Rick Dipietro while Evgeni Nabokov continues to start. This may account for why the Islanders have dropped their last three games.
22. Winnipeg Jets (5-6-1) Last week: 18
After going 1-2 last week the Jets drop down a couple more spots. Tobias Enstrom continues to be the strongest player (13 points) but he can’t carry the rest of the team by himself.
23. Buffalo Sabres (5-8-1) Last week: 19
Despite having Thomas Vanek, who leads the league in scoring (23 points, 11 goals), the Sabres just aren’t doing as well as expected this season, and have lost two of their last three games.
24. Los Angeles Kings (4-5-2) Last week: 22
As a team that just managed to get into the playoff last season, it shouldn’t be too much of a surprise that the Kings are lower on the power rankings list. They've fallen two spots this week after losing two out of three games.
25. Edmonton Oilers (5-5-3) Last week: 25
The Oilers are supposed to have gotten the best young players, and perhaps that’s the problem with this team. Maybe they are too young as they continue to make rookie mistakes. Since last week they have only seen one victory in the last three games.
26. Colorado Avalanche (4-6-1) Last week: 23
The Avalanche have been struggling since Gabriel Landeskog’s injury despite Matt Duchene and PA Parenteau’s attempts to get the team going. They have dropped their last three games, after being defeated in OT by the Coyotes on Monday.
27. Florida Panthers (4-6-2) Last week: 27
The Panthers are still having a tough time putting together a solid week, so they’ll stay at the No. 27th spot. Last week they ended 1-2, and it is clear Jose Theodore’s goaltending has not gotten any better.
28. Columbus Blue Jackets (4-7-2) Last week: 29
The Blue Jackets went 1-2 last week, but they know they are a start up team. The organization fired their VP and GM Scott Howson and immediately hired Jarmo Kakalainen as the new GM on Tuesday. They definitely want to see a change to how the Blue Jackets operate on and off the ice.
29. Washington Capitals (4-8-1) Last week: 24
The Capitals continue to crumble whenever they are on the ice and this season it can’t be blamed on too many coaching changes. They did win two of their games last week, but compared to how the rest of the league is doing they are not playing up to their standards.
30. Calgary Flames (4-4-3) Last week: 30
The Flames have played the least amount of games, so this may account for their poor record, but they showed signs of life with an offensive explosion over the Dallas Stars, 7-4.