1. Buffalo. If the first three lines can’t beat you, the fourth one will. The NHL’s most balanced lineup.
2. San Jose. Marc-Edouard Vlasic just the latest example of the Sharks’ amazing drafting success.
3. Anaheim. Is Ilya Bryzgalov now the odd man out in goal?
4. Minnesota. California road trip, including win at San Jose, a big statement.
5. Dallas. Still hanging in with the big boys in the Pacific Division.
6. Atlanta. Marian Hossa takes over NHL scoring lead.
7. Edmonton. On fire despite the NHL’s 20th-ranked power play.
8. Nashville. The Preds are awake, 4-0-1 since opening with three losses.
9. Montreal. Recipe for success: top-five in both PP and PK.
10. Ottawa. Patience Sens fans, patience.
11. New Jersey. What a wake-up call in Ottawa.
12. Toronto. The shootout not a friend of the Leafs.
13. N.Y. Rangers. Let’s play a little defence, eh boys?
14. Carolina. Newly acquired Tim Gleason a team-worst minus-6.
15. Vancouver. Averaging 2.40 goals for per game. Not good enough.
16. Colorado. Solid road trip through Eastern Canada.
17. Detroit. Three losses in a row and a big-time reality check on Western road trip.
18. Calgary. It’s good to be home again for the Flames, who picked up one win on four-game road trip last week.
19. Tampa Bay. Nikita Alexeev opening some eyes in Tampa.
20. Chicago. The Hawks deserve better than to lose Michal Handzus, Martin Havlat and Nikolai Khabibulin in one weekend.
21. Boston. Big problems in goal.
22. Pittsburgh. Yeah, apparently that kid Malkin is indeed for real.
23. Florida. If Alex Auld can’t perform miracles this will be a mighty long year for the Cats.
24. New York Islanders. Alexei Yashin quietly off to a pretty good start.
25. Washington. Alexander Semin hasn’t let up.
26. Los Angeles. The Kings will take their lumps this year but are building in the right direction.
27. St. Louis. Doug Weight has two assists in eight games.
28. Columbus. Fredrik Modin has to produce more than one goal in seven games.
29. Phoenix. There’s lots of blame to throw around but defenceman Dennis Seidenberg was minus-9 in his first nine games.
30. Philadelphia. Similarly, blue-liner Derian Hatcher continues to show the new NHL isn’t for him with a minus-10 rating in eight games.