1. Minnesota Wild… LW: 4
Role players are stepping up for the streaking Minnesota Wild. Kyle Brodziak (7 points in last 7 games) and Nick Johnson (7 points in last 8 games) have helped Minny win seven straight. Also, Matthew Hackett has won each of his first two NHL games in net.
2. Boston Bruins… LW: 1
Backup Tuukka Rask had an up-and-down campaign in 2010-11, but has bounced back this season. He has a 5-1-1 record and .941 save percentage since the start of November.
3. Detroit Red Wings… LW: 3
Valterri Filppula has taken his game to another level this season. He ranks third on the Wings in points (25) and boasts a +13 rating.
4. Vancouver Canucks… LW: 7
Ryan Kesler finally looks healthy. The do-it-all center has 13 points with a +9 rating in the last nine games.
5. Philadelphia Flyers… LW: 6
This weekend was almost a triple whammy for the Flyers. Claude Giroux and Ilya Bryzgalov left Saturday’s game with injuries, while it was revealed that currently-sidelined Chris Pronger has a concussion. However, the team leads the division after a five-game win streak.
6. Chicago Blackhawks… LW: 5
Prior to Sunday’s contest against San Jose, the Blackhawks’ power play was clicking at a 34% rate since Nov. 10.
7. Pittsburgh Penguins… LW: 2
The fact that Sidney Crosby has missed the last two games is a tad worrisome. And with Jordan Staal and Kris Letang injured, the Pens just cannot dodge the injury bug.
8. New York Rangers… LW: 8
The Penguins and Flyers may be stealing the headlines, but John Tortorella’s Rangers are point out of the division lead and have been one of the NHL’s best over the last month.
9. St. Louis Blues… LW: 10
St. Louis is very quietly three points behind Chicago, as Brian Elliott’s hot start has continued into December.
10. Florida Panthers… LW: 11
A lot of the attention has been placed on the new guys, but young defenseman Dmitry Kulikov is tied for sixth in points (20) amongst defensemen.
11. San Jose Sharks… LW: 9
Martin Havlat isn’t producing the way the Sharks hoped he would after coming over via trade in the summer. He has four points in the last 15 games.
12. Phoenix Coyotes… LW: 12
Mike Smith and the Coyotes have been a nice story early on, but Smith has not played well of late. He has surrendered 15 goals in the last four games, with a .819 save percentage.
13. Washington Capitals… LW: 18
It’s just two wins, but are the Caps back on track? They have scored nine goals in the last two games after a sluggish opening stretch with Dale Hunter behind the bench.
14. Toronto Maple Leafs… LW: 15
If the Leafs have any dreams of competing for the Northeast Division crown this year, the penalty kill has to improve. The unit has given up six goals in the last two games and is ranked 29th in the NHL.
15. Buffalo Sabres… LW: 14
As much as Toronto’s penalty kill has struggled, Buffalo’s power play is equally anemic right now. The Sabres’ man advantage is 2-for-28 (7.1%) in the last nine games.
16. Dallas Stars… LW: 16
Following a 11-3-0 start, Dallas is 5-8-1 and has been inconsistent ever since.
17. Nashville Predators… LW: 20
Defenseman Francis Bouillon has proven to be a valuable commodity for the Preds. Without him in the lineup this year, they are 3-6-1; with him they are 11-5-3.
18. Winnipeg Jets… LW: 21
Bryan Little has picked up a point in 11 of his last 12 games. In that time he has a +9 rating and has scored a handful of big goals.
19. Montreal Canadiens… LW: 17
Many criticized Habs GM Pierre Gauthier for taking on Tomas Kaberle’s contract in a trade with Carolina. In his first game on Saturday, Kaberle picked up two assists.
20. Los Angeles Kings… LW: 13
Head coach Terry Murray may be starting to feel the heat as the Kings have dropped six of their last eight games.
21. Calgary Flames… LW: 25
The Flames have won four of their last five games, but have a key stretch of four road games in six nights this week.
22. Edmonton Oilers… LW: 22
Since Nov. 13, Jordan Eberle has 20 points in 14 games. With that stretch, he now sits one point behind Ryan Nugent-Hopkins for the team lead.
23. New Jersey Devils… LW: 24
Is Adam Henrique in the Calder Trophy picture? How could he not be? He’s manning the top line in Travis Zajac’s absence and ranks third in rookie production.
24. Ottawa Senators… LW: 23
You think GM Bryan Murray is regretting giving Craig Anderson an extension through 2015? The 30-year-old ‘tender has a 3.42 GAA this season, 3.79 in the last eight games.
25. Colorado Avalanche… LW: 19
Coming off three straight losses, the Avalanche will have a hard time getting back on track as they play the Sharks (home and home), Capitals, Flyers and Blues in succession.
26. New York Islanders… LW: 27
With Al Montoya starting seven of the last eight games, the Isles seem to be playing a bit more consistency than when it was musical chairs in the crease.
27. Tampa Bay Lightning… LW: 26
Martin St. Louis’ injury came at a bad time, considering the Lightning are 4-10-0 in their last 14 games and have showed zero resemblance to the team from last year.
28. Columbus Blue Jackets… LW: 28
Curtis Sanford was the hot hand right away after filling in for Steve Mason, but possesses a 3.68 GAA and .863 save percentage in December.
29. Anaheim Ducks… LW: 29
Was the coaching change in Anaheim a turning point in Bobby Ryan’s season? He seems to think so.
30. Carolina Hurricanes… LW: 30
Like Kaberle in Montreal, new Hurricane Jaroslav Spacek picked up two assists in his first game. In other news, Carolina has lost eight of nine.
Photo credit: Getty Images
TEAMS: Minnesota Wild, Boston Bruins, Detroit Red Wings, Vancouver Canucks, Philadelphia Flyers, Chicago Blackhawks, Pittsburgh Penguins, New York Rangers, St. Louis Blues, Florida Panthers, San Jose Sharks, Arizona Coyotes, Washington Capitals, Toronto Maple Leafs, Buffalo Sabres, Dallas Stars, Nashville Predators, Winnipeg Jets, Montreal Canadiens, Carolina Hurricanes, Calgary Flames, Edmonton Oilers, New Jersey Devils, Ottawa Senators, Colorado Avalanche, New York Islanders, Columbus Blue Jackets, Anaheim Ducks, Los Angeles Kings, Tampa Bay Lightning
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