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The Hockey News

The Hockey News

Here we are, approaching the halfway mark of the season, and the Toronto Maple Leafs are still a top 10 team in our Power Rankings. Yes, OK, so the shortened season will taint any potential playoff appearance for some, but this is the most legit Leafs team in the salary cap era.

Led by none other than Nazem Kadri, Phil Kseel and James van Riemsdyk - plus good goaltending from James Reimer - this squad must be putting a smile on the face of Brian Burke, you know, the guy run out of town for being too outspoken? It's definitely putting smiles on the faces of fans, starved to end the longest current playoff drought in the NHL.

As we set off on another week of great games, here is this week's ranking - not to be confused with the standings.

RK.

TEAM

LW

OVERALL

THE SCOOP

1

1

19-0-3

Almost halfway through the season and still undefeated in regulation. Will the Hawks peak too early, or will they remain an untouchable force for three more months?

2

2

15-3-2

Couldn’t have believed last season was anything more than an anomaly for this team. The question is, will they lose Getzlaf and/or Perry for nothing to free agency or explore trade options despite league standing?

3

4

14-4-4

Big win over Boston on Sunday solidifies Montreal as top three team this week, despite ugly loss to Penguins.

4

3

14-3-2

Good week ended with tough loss to division rival Habs. Coach Claude Julien calls Habs embellishers who embarrass the game – he realizes Brad Marchand still wears Black and Gold, right?

5

5

14-8-0

After a mediocre run through the Southeast, Pens topple Habs in crazy Saturday game. With Crosby, Neal, Fleury, Letang et al, the Penguins are a team you can never take too lightly…or rank too low.

6

6

11-6-4

Not a great week for the Canucks but, then again, not a great week for many top teams. Canucks are 6-1-1 against weak Northwest, 5-5-3 against the rest of the West.

7

7

12-8-1

On a normal week Carolina would have moved itself up, but the loss of Cam Ward – who was heating up – will hurt. Carolina is actually worse (2-5-0) against the awful Southeast than against the rest of the East (10-3-1).

8

11

10-8-4

Currently standing only No. 8 in the West, but these are Power Rankings, not the standings. Red Wings last two losses came to defending champs and undefeated-in-regulation Hawks. Beat San Jose and Vancouver in past eight days.

9

10

13-9-0

Nazem Kadri all the rage, but true staying/star power will be judged when opponents adapt and start clamping down on him more.

10

8

12-7-4

Chicago-like at home, Florida-like on the road. A bad week bumps the otherwise inspiring Senators down a bit.

11

18

10-7-2

Have two losses in past nine games: at Vancouver and at Chicago. No reason to hold defending champs down on this list any longer.

12

19

11-11-1

There are certain teams you know had bad starts that should be moved up quickly when the find a groove. The Flyers fit that category and, if they get good goaltending, remain a dangerous team. I know, I know: that’s a big if.

13

21

11-8-2

Ryan Suter: minus-7 with four points in first 10 games; plus-2 with 10 points in past 11 games.

14

14

11-9-2

Brenden Dillon won’t get any consideration for the Calder, but he is the rookie with the highest minutes per game (20:02) to still hold a plus rating (plus-4).

15

12

11-8-2

Last quality win came Feb. 17 in Vancouver. Despite having lowest shots-against average by a huge 2.5 margin, Blues still being outscored.

16

15

10-8-3

Talk about inconsistent, Coyotes past two wins came over Anaheim and Vancouver, while past three losses came against Minnesota, Calgary and Edmonton.

17

9

10-6-5

The glimpse into life without Martin Broduer hasn't been pretty. Lost four in a row against three lowly opponents - Winnipeg, Washington and Buffalo – and six of past seven.

18

20

10-8-2

This just in: Henrik Lundqvist is good. Without him, the Rangers might be on par with the Islanders about now.

19

16

10-6-4

Have lost five of eight with last quality win coming Feb. 12 in Boston. It’s hard not to think this team will be the second coming of the Flames in a few years – and maybe sooner than you think.

20

24

10-10-1

The Jets may stand to benefit the most from Cam Ward’s injury as they seem to be finding a groove. Winning four of five on a recent road trip, where they struggled so badly last season, was a great accomplishment.

21

26

8-11-1

Mike Ribeiro leads Washington in points and is third in penalty minutes. Huh?

22

13

9-8-5

Last year, Nashville was top 10 in both PP and PK, this year they’re 24th and 22nd.

23

29

9-12-2

Won three in a row last week to move out of Power Rankings cellar, but still have worst PP by a fair margin.

24

23

8-8-4

Secretly rooting for the Flames to make the playoffs so “tankologists” can stop. Just win, baby.

25

22

8-9-4

The Oilers seem to have two inevitabilities this season. 1. A Ryan Whitney trade. 2. Being a central character in the draft lottery.

26

25

9-11-2

Isles fans hope CCR was wrong: “You better learn it fast, you better learn it young, ‘cause someday never comes.”

27

17

9-11-1

Not to be outdone in the Southeast’s race to the basement, the Lightning have lost four in a row despite still owning the NH’s top offense.

28

27

8-8-4

So much promise, so much wasted. Ryan O’Reilly’s return unlikely to get them back on track, so many changes are necessary.

29

28

6-11-5

Despite playing in NHL’s worst division (maybe second-worst to Northwest), Florida hasn’t won a Southeast game since Jan. 31. Stephen Weiss being out for the seaons means they can't even get anything for him.

30

30

6-12-4

Mark Letestu, Vaclav Prospal, Fedor Tyutin: your scoring leaders for the Blue Jackets. No wonder the team hasn’t won two in a row yet this season.

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