In La-la-land

Two guys who are (kind of) the face of hockey in their nation have the L.A. Kings rolling.

You won’t get much of an argument that Anze Kopitar is the king of Slovenian hockey, especially since he’s stormed out to the league scoring lead with 10 goals and 21 points in 12 games.

Ryan Smyth, often referred to as Captain Canada for his loyal and frequent service to Team Canada over the years, is having a renaissance season next to Kopitar, piling up six goals and 15 points.

All that production has L.A. off to a quality start, with a three-game losing streak sandwiched between two victory stretches of four games.

Maybe that Kings breakout people have been predicting for a few seasons now is finally upon us.

1 Pittsburgh Penguins 1 9-2-0 8-2-0 Power play is 1-for-10 since Gonchar went on the shelf
2 Colorado Avalanche 5 8-1-2 7-1-2 Young T.J. Galiardi has been superb on the penalty kill
3 San Jose Sharks 11 7-4-1 6-3-1 Nice win over Philly to conclude a six-game road trip at 4-2
4 Calgary Flames 7 7-2-1 7-2-1 Role players carrying the load in Calgary right now
5 Buffalo Sabres 14 6-1-1 6-1-1 How about a 1.69 goals-against average and .940 save percentage for Ryan Miller
6 New Jersey Devils 16 6-3-0 6-3-0 Jay Pandolfo out 4-6 weeks thanks to a hit from behind by former teammate Mike Rupp in win over Pens
7 Washington Capitals 6 6-2-2 6-2-2 Longtime AHLers Keith Aucoin and Alexandre Girioux both have a goal during callup
8 Chicago Blackhawks 4 6-3-1 6-3-1 Crafty Patrick Sharp leads Hawks with five goals and 10 points in 10 games
9 Los Angeles Kings 20 8-4-0 7-3-0 Team inked goalie Jon Quick to a three-year extension
10 New York Rangers 2 7-3-1 7-2-1 Chris Higgins not endearing himself to new coach John Tortorella
11 Dallas Stars 15 5-2-4 5-2-3 Marty Turco starting to hit his stride
12 Vancouver Canucks 22 6-5-0 6-4-0 Don’t you feel silly for worrying about Roberto Luongo now?
13 Philadelphia Flyers 10 5-3-1 5-3-1 Sure don’t look like top-flight contenders yet
14 Columbus Blue Jackets 3 6-4-0 6-4-0 Lost three games on the road last week, giving up six goals in each contest
15 Phoenix Coyotes 12 6-3-0 6-3-0 Ed Jovanovski still getting it done with three goals and seven points in nine games
16 Ottawa Senators 8 5-2-2 5-2-2 Newcomer Milan Michalek leads team with six goals
17 Boston Bruins 19 5-4-1 5-4-1 Six points in 10 games from grinder Steve Begin helps B’s deal with smattering of injuries
18 St. Louis Blues 17 4-4-1 4-4-1 Young winger T.J. Oshie gone for about two weeks after having an appendectomy
19 Montreal Canadiens 26 5-5-0 5-5-0 Finally getting a few goals from guys who don’t play on the top line
20 Edmonton Oilers 18 6-4-1 6-3-1 Coach Pat Quinn sure figured out what button to push with Dustin Penner
21 Detroit Red Wings 13 3-4-2 3-4-2 Both Chris Osgood and Jimmy Howard have GAAs more than 3.00 and SPs less than .900
22 Atlanta Thrashers 9 4-3-1 4-3-1 Will foot injury derail Ilya Kovalchuk’s hot start?
23 Tampa Bay Lightning 23 3-3-3 3-3-3 Vinny ends 15-game goalless drought; so is he about to go on a run?
24 Anaheim Ducks 21 3-5-1 3-5-1 Just one win in five home games; dropped their last three by a combined 15-6 count
25 Minnesota Wild 29 3-7-0 3-7-0 No points through seven road games
26 Nashville Predators 27 3-6-1 3-6-1 Already been blanked three times this season
27 Florida Panthers 24 2-6-1 2-6-1 Coughing up just over 37 shots per game
28 Carolina Hurricanes 25 2-5-3 2-5-3 They went far in last year’s playoffs, so they take the next couple years off, right?
29 New York Islanders 28 1-4-4 1-4-4 If nothing else, people seem to like Martin Biron’s old school paint job on his mask
30 Toronto Maple Leafs 30 0-7-1 0-7-1 Maybe return of goalie Jonas Gustavsson can help right ship
READ ALSO:  Stop the glove drops? Shrink the rosters

The Hockey News ranks the teams 1-30 each Monday based on a combination of last week’s play and a squad’s overall outlook.

For more great profiles, news and views from the world of hockey, Subscribe to The Hockey News magazine.