Originally posted on Red Light District Hockey | Last updated 1/23/12
1. Boston Bruins… LW: 1
Boston hasn’t been as invincible since embarrassing Calgary 9-0 on Jan. 5 (5-3-1 record). But you have to give them credit for absorbing seven of a possible 10 points in five games last week.
2. Detroit Red Wings… LW: 4
Pavel Datsyuk and company sit atop the NHL and Western Conference through Sunday’s action. The Wings will put their franchise-best 16-game home win streak on the line tonight.
3. New York Rangers… LW: 3
The Blueshirts are an even 3-3-0 in their last six games. However, they picked up a big overtime win Saturday in Boston, the first of four second half meetings between the two teams.
4. St. Louis Blues… LW: 5
Brian Elliott signed a two-year extension and is heading to this week’s All-Star Game. But Jaroslav Halak, with seven straight wins and an 11-0-3 record in his last 14 games, is starting to grab back his starting job.
5. Vancouver Canucks… LW: 2
The Canucks slipped a tad due to the recent work of the top four teams. Cody Hodgson, who has 14 points in the last 16 games, is providing some valuable secondary scoring.
6. Nashville Predators… LW: 10
The surging Predators have won 10 of their last 12 games. In six of those 12 games, either Shea Weber or Ryan Suter has been out of the lineup. You can credit the team’s top line for picking up the offensive slack.
7. Chicago Blackhawks… LW: 6
For the first time since 2006-07 with Atlanta, Marian Hossa is averaging more than a point per game (tied for third in NHL with 52 points) and has only missed one game all year.
8. Pittsburgh Penguins… LW: 15
Evgeni Malkin has put the team on his back recently, carrying the Penguins to a six-game win streak; ‘Geno has 13 points in the six games. Also, the team is 9-0-1 this year with the big four defensemen all healthy.
9. San Jose Sharks… LW: 7
One thing the Sharks need to improve is the special teams; ranked 19th and 28th on power play and penalty kill, respectively. In recent years, both units have been a big strength.
10. Ottawa Senators… LW: 9
Ken Hitchcock and John Tortorella are getting the most recognition for the Jack Adams, but why not throw Paul MacLean’s hat into the ring? The Sens are unexpectedly in firm playoff positioning through 50 games.
11. Philadelphia Flyers… LW: 11
Scott Hartnell scored five goals over the weekend, lifting his season goal total to 25. He is now on pace for 43 goals, 13 more than his previous career-high.
12. Los Angeles Kings… LW: 12
Justin Williams, an important piece of the Kings’ offense, is playing his best hockey of the year. Williams is currently on a seven-game point streak.
13. Washington Capitals… LW: 8
Though in a loss, Alex Ovechkin collected three points on Sunday against Pittsburgh. Will that get him rolling? Possibly, but it would have to happen after his imminent suspension.
14. Colorado Avalanche… LW: 13
Of the 16 teams in playoff position, Colorado is the worst while skating at 5-on-5 (27th in NHL). They can thank a top-ten power play for cancelling that out.
15. New Jersey Devils… LW: 14
Alexei Ponikarovsky struggled in his short stint with the Hurricanes. Will the move to a playoff contender spark something in the former 20-goal scorer?
16. Calgary Flames… LW: 19
The next two weeks will be important for Calgary. While they are playing better, the schedule will stiffen in February.
17. Anaheim Ducks… LW: 26
The Ducks, who are 8-1-1 in their last 10 games, are the biggest movers in this week’s rankings. Since Christmas, Bobby Ryan has nine goals and 14 points in 12 games.
18. Toronto Maple Leafs… LW: 17
Ron Wilson’s club is an incredibly average 9-9-3 in their last 21 games.
19. Florida Panthers… LW: 18
Like the Leafs, Florida has cooled off after a quick start, going 6-7-6 in their last 19 games.
20. Winnipeg Jets… LW: 20
Winnipeg is 15-8-2 at home and 7-12-4 on the road. They will be tested in the coming weeks, as seven of their next games away from MTS Centre.
21. New York Islanders… LW: 24
John Tavares has racked up 21 points during his current 12-game point streak. Also, Evgeni Nabokov is 5-1-0 in his last six starts.
22. Minnesota Wild… LW: 21
Will a 5-2 win over Dallas end the Wild’s prolonged dry spell? We’ll find out Tuesday when they face Colorado, another playoff bubble foe.
23. Montreal Canadiens… LW: 23
To build off what was said about the Avs, Montreal is the best team at 5-on-5 (11th in NHL) that isn’t holding down a top-eight seed in either conference. Boasting the worst power play will offset any of that even strength success.
24. Dallas Stars… LW: 16
The Stars have dropped five in a row, due in part to the absence of both Jamie Benn and Mike Ribeiro. According to SportsClubStats, their playoff chances have gone from 60.12% to 23.36% during the skid.
25. Phoenix Coyotes… LW: 22
Despite carrying a 2.28 GAA in January, Mike Smith has a 2-3-4. The goal support just isn’t there right now (on a consistent basis) for the Coyotes.
26. Tampa Bay Lightning… LW: 29
Since returning from a face injury in December, Bolts forward Martin St. Louis has 19 points in 15 games.
27. Carolina Hurricanes… LW: 27
Since Dec. 9, the Hurricanes are 8-6-2 and have accumulated points in 10 of 16 games. They have certainly been more competitive since Kirk Muller took over behind the bench.
28. Buffalo Sabres… LW: 25
Will the Sabres turn it around this year? They didn’t show any positive signs last week, extending their road skid to 12 games with four convincing losses away from home.
29. Edmonton Oilers… LW: 28
Nikolai Khabibulin has gotten progressively worse as this year has gone on. He is 0-5-1 this month with a 3.31 GAA and .893 save percentage.
30. Columbus Blue Jackets… LW: 30
The Jackets have an NHL-worst two players with 20 points or more. Two!
Photo credit: Getty Images
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