Originally posted on Red Light District Hockey | Last updated 12/19/11
1. Boston Bruins… LW: 2
As if the last six weeks weren’t enough proof, the Bruins showed on Saturday that they are still the NHL’s best with a 6-0 beat down in Philadelphia.
2. Detroit Red Wings… LW: 3
Ian White has really been a shrewd addition to Detroit’s blue line this season. In the last five games, White has four points and a +8 rating.
3. Chicago Blackhawks… LW: 6
December has been kind to the ‘Hawks, as they boast a 7-0-1 record thus far. Most of the work has been done with Ray Emery in net, who is starting to steal playing time from Corey Crawford.
4. Vancouver Canucks… LW: 4
With Minnesota and Detroit coming to town, the Canucks have a good chance this week to prove they are still the team to beat in the West.
5. Philadelphia Flyers… LW: 5
Now that Chris Pronger won’t see the ice for the rest of the season, will the Flyers attempt to find some defense help before the deadline? You would think so.
6. Minnesota Wild… LW: 1
Minnesota’s impressive seven-game win streak was followed by three one-goal losses.
7. St. Louis Blues… LW: 9
Talented youngster T.J. Oshie is finally starting to produce and play with some consistency. He has seven points in eight December games.
8. New York Rangers… LW: 8
This week’s 24/7 will be interesting from the Rangers’ point of view, between the disappointing losses to Dallas and St. Louis and Saturday’s buzzer-beating win in Phoenix.
9. Florida Panthers… LW: 10
The upstart Panthers twice clawed back to win 3-2 games in overtime over the weekend. Are they the favorites in the Southeast?
10. San Jose Sharks… LW: 11
Todd McLellan’s gang is one of the best in the NHL at even strength, but their 29th-ranked penalty kill is failing them right now. The unit is 15-for-23 (65.2%) in the last eight games.
11. Pittsburgh Penguins… LW: 7
With Sidney Crosby shelved on IR again, the pressure will be placed on Evgeni Malkin to steer the ship offensively. He did just that on Saturday with a hat trick and five points in an 8-3 win over Buffalo.
12. Nashville Predators… LW: 17
Shea Weber has elevated his game to a Norris Trophy-type level in the last couple weeks for the streaking Predators. Not only does Weber co-lead the team in points (24), but he has been his dominant self recently.
13. Dallas Stars… LW: 16
The Stars will need to capitalize on their next stretch of games, where six of seven will be played at home. In other news, Richard Bachman became the first in Stars history to win in his first three NHL starts.
14. Phoenix Coyotes… LW: 12
The Coyotes got the quite the return from Ottawa – prospect David Rundblad and a second-round pick – for Kyle Turris, a player that wanted out and didn’t fit into Dave Tippett’s system.
15. Washington Capitals… LW: 13
Just when you thought the Capitals were getting back on track, they laid an egg last week by scoring just three goals in three games.
16. New Jersey Devils… LW: 23
Pete DeBoer’s Devils are 6-1-0 in their last seven games and will welcome the Rangers to Newark for a big game on Tuesday night.
17. Toronto Maple Leafs… LW: 14
Since starting 9-3-1, the Maple Leafs are 7-10-2 and simply are not playing their best hockey.
18. Winnipeg Jets… LW: 18
The MTS Centre is proving to be a tough barn for opponents to play in. The Jets boast a 9-2-0 record in their last 11 home games, including nice wins against the then-streaking Bruins and Wild.
19. Buffalo Sabres… LW: 15
In September I picked Ryan Miller to win the Vezina. Well, that won’t be happening this year. Miller is having trouble stopping the puck and his ‘D’ isn’t helping matters.
20. Ottawa Senators… LW: 24
Should Erik Karlsson, who has 29 points in 33 games, be in the Norris discussion? If Lubomir Visnovsky was last year, then Karlsson can here in 2011-12.
21. Colorado Avalanche… LW: 25
Matt Duchene isn’t the same player he was last year. He has just two multi-point games in 2011-12; last season he had 18.
22. Montreal Canadiens… LW: 19
Montreal became the sixth team to fire its head coach prior to the New Year, and many in the city are fired up that the Habs didn’t hire a French-speaking coach.
23. Los Angeles Kings… LW: 20
Assumedly so, the Kings’ dressing room was displeased with their effort on Saturday in Detroit. Jarret Stoll: “We should look at the standings and see where we are and realize we're not even close to where we want to be.”
24. Edmonton Oilers… LW: 22
His team may be fading back to reality, but that hasn’t stopped Jordan Eberle from scoring goals like this one. #Beauty
25. Tampa Bay Lightning… LW: 27
Lost in the team’s regression has been Steven Stamkos’ torrid stretch of late. He has 18 points over the last 13 games.
26. Calgary Flames… LW: 21
Just as it looked as if the Flames were heading in the right direction, they’ve lost four in a row and could be losing Rene Bourque to suspension.
27. New York Islanders… LW: 26
One player that seems to not get the recognition he deserves is Matt Moulson, who is on pace for his third straight 30-goal season.
28. Columbus Blue Jackets… LW: 28
With five losses in the last six games, is Scott Arniel back on the hot seat?
29. Anaheim Ducks… LW: 29
Is anyone else surprised that the Ducks haven’t responded overly well to the coaching change? The team is 2-5-1 since Bruce Boudreau took over.
30. Carolina Hurricanes… LW: 30
Cam Ward’s numbers have gotten worse every month. He now has a 4.30 GAA in six December games.
Photo credit: Getty Images
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