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Late bloomers

The Hockey News

The Hockey News

Becoming the Ontario League’s all-time leading goal-scorer did nothing to endear John Tavares to the Atlanta Thrashers or New York Islanders.

OK, maybe it’s just a pure coincidence of timing, but the Isles and Thrashers have both been playing much better hockey lately – making the prospect of picking No. 1 overall slightly more remote.

As of Monday morning, the Isles still have a four-point “cushion” on last overall, but have gone 5-2-1 in March with a bunch of kids trying to convince management they’re NHLers.

Atlanta, meanwhile, has been all about credibility for more than a month now. After going 6-5-1 in February, the Thrashers have won five straight on the back of some incredible offensive output.

The only thing to stop Ilya Kovalchuk over his past 20-plus games is an upper-body injury, while Todd White has five goals and 16 points in his past 13 contests.

Currently 27th overall, if the Thrashers make up the four points between them and 25th place Ottawa, they won’t even have a mathematical shot at the first overall pick.

RK.

TEAM

LW

OVERALL

L10

THE SCOOP

1

1

45-20-3

8-2-0

Marty gunning for Roy's all-time wins record on St. Patrick's Day. How perfect is that?

2

5

46-15-9

7-2-1

Wings become first team in league history to top 100 points in nine straight seasons

3

2

36-23-9

7-2-1

All of a sudden just five points back of Calgary for the Northwest Division lead

4

4

45-13-10

4-5-1

Travis Moen has blended in well since coming over from the Ducks

5

8

43-21-6

5-4-1

After missing a season and a half with concussion-related injuries, defenseman Brian Pothier is back up with the Caps

6

3

37-26-8

8-0-2

Sidney Crosby is really clicking with new linemates Bill Guerin and Chris Kunitz; that's not good news for the rest of the East

7

13

36-26-6

6-4-0

Antoine Vermette has three goals and six points in five games with Columbus

8

11

45-17-9

4-5-1

Phil Kessel has goals in his past three games to provide something good for the faltering Bruins

9

6

40-23-6

5-5-0

Have lost 8-6 to both Toronto and Tampa this month

10

19

32-29-8

7-3-0

Have done well to get where they are, but nine of their final 13 games are on the road

11

12

37-21-10

5-4-1

Easy to forget how great it is Simon Gagne is simply healthy and in the league, let alone the fact he could net 80 points for the first time

12

14

36-26-8

5-3-2

Sean Avery can still stir this team's drink

13

7

36-28-7

5-3-2

Three-game road trip produced three tight, tough losses

14

9

34-30-5

7-2-1

All the talk early on was about Shea Weber, but Ryan Suter could well end up the Preds' highest-scoring defenseman this year

15

10

37-21-9

3-6-1

Starting to feel like a first round playoff win will be tough, especially if they line up against Vancouver

16

15

34-25-10

4-4-2

David Booth takes charge with nine points in his past four games

17

25

28-35-6

7-3-0

Now they're even winning on the road, sweeping a three-game trip out west

18

22

33-28-8

4-5-1

Coach Dave Tippett may have found something putting Brendan Morrison on the right side with center Mike Modano

19

18

34-27-8

4-4-2

Inability to beat East's bottom feeders could be reason Buffalo misses the playoffs

20

16

36-25-8

6-3-1

Who's left to fire?

21

17

32-27-9

3-2-5

Just one win in their past six, with three consecutive overtime defeats

22

21

32-31-6

4-5-1

Ducks are a very underwhelming 16-16-3 at home

23

26

28-30-10

6-3-1

With guys playing for jobs, results have been better

24

20

32-29-8

2-5-3

Falling behind in games and, subsequently, in the standings

25

24

28-29-13

6-3-1

After going to sleep for a couple months, rookie Mikhail Grabovski is back shakin' again

26

27

24-38-8

6-2-2

Peter Mannino stopped 40 shots in his first NHL start on Sunday, a 4-2 win over Chicago

27

28

23-32-14

4-4-2

Steven Stamkos is making some serious strides in the late stages of his rookie season

28

23

29-29-10

4-5-1

Dustin Brown picked the wrong time of year to go cold

29

29

31-38-1

3-7-0

Can't forget this team played without Joe Sakic and Paul Stastny for the vast majority of the year

30

30

28-35-6

2-7-1

How long can Shane Doan remain attached to this situation?

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.

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