The Dallas Stars’ stay atop The Hockey News’ Power Rankings didn’t last long.
With five wins and five losses in their past 10 games, the Stars have slipped to seventh overall in the NHL and are showing serious signs of slowing down and not becoming the powerhouse team they appeared to be at the trade deadline.
With that said, the San Jose Sharks are the flavor of the week.
Before dropping a 2-1 shootout decision to red-hot Edmonton, the Sharks had rattled off 11 wins in a row and are looking like the real deal.
Want to know why the Sharks are the NHL’s best team now? Take a look at their road record – just eight regulation losses in 36 games.
There is no question the Ducks have what it takes to win back-to-back Stanley Cups. The only question is, do they have the discipline to do it? Stompin’ Chris Pronger will miss eight of the good old hockey games with a suspension.
Could this be the year goalie Martin Brodeur finally wins the Hart Trophy as the NHL’s most valuable player? With no clear-cut candidate, he has as good a shot as anybody.
Center Pavel Datsyuk was two points away from making it three straight seasons of 87 points. The reality is, with nine games remaining he’ll easily top his career-best mark of 87.
One win in their past six games has the Stars moving in the wrong direction at the wrong time of year. Rather than gearing up for a long playoff run, Dallas is trying to find its game. Leading scorer Mike Ribeiro has suddenly gone cold with no goals in five games and just one in his past seven.
Thank heavens for Evgeni Malkin. With Sidney Crosby sitting out 23 games with an ankle injury, Malkin has scored 17 goals and 40 points in that span to lead the Penguins to a 13-6-4 record. That included two goals and four points in a 7-1 thrashing of the Flyers Sunday.
All shutouts all the time. The Habs shut out New Jersey 4-0 March 11, were blanked 3-0 by Ottawa March 15 and then shut out the Islanders 3-0 Saturday.
That had to hurt – having former defenseman Joe Corvo, now with Carolina, light the Senators up for three goals in a 5-1 Hurricanes victory. And just for fun, ex-Sen Patrick Eaves chipped in his first goal for the Canes.
Injuries to significant players aside, the Avalanche remains a very competitive team and look very much like it’ll grab one of the eight playoff spots in the West. And if the Avs do, coach Joel Quenneville gets a lot of credit for guiding his team through so much adversity.
Nothing like a little swing through the state of Florida to supply a team with a reality check. The Rangers were flying along nicely until they lost 3-2 to the Panthers and 3-0 to the Lightning.
Jarome Iginla’s 45th goal of the season was the game-winner for the Flames who broke a mini two-game losing streak with a 4-2 win over Chicago.
A 2-0 win over last-place Los Angeles brought the Wild back to life after suffering five straight defeats. Niklas Backstrom recorded his first shutout since Oct. 10.
Keep an eye on these guys. The Hurricanes, who have some of the best young (and experienced!) talent in the league are getting hot at the right time of year. A 7-1 loss to Buffalo was downright embarrassing, but the Canes bounced back with a convincing 5-1 statement win over Ottawa.
Brendan Morrison’s ninth goal of the season (to go with a pair of assists) lifted the Canucks to a 4-3 win over Dallas. If Morrison can stay healthy and contribute on offense, it would take some of the heat off the Sedin twins and Markus Naslund.
Beating the Flyers 2-1 in overtime Saturday and then picking up a point in a shootout loss to Washington Sunday is huge for the Bruins, who are now looking pretty secure for a playoff spot.
Three straight losses to Detroit, San Jose and the Kings had the Predators reeling, but a 3-1 win over the Red Wings Saturday made life a little easier. That said, the Preds were still sitting in ninth place with nine games remaining.
Four straight losses had the Flyers clinging to playoff life with the Capitals hot on their trail. Leader Mike Richards is back, but was minus-3 in a 7-1 loss to Pittsburgh.
And on the ninth day, Alexander Ovechkin rested. The league’s top gunner was held off the score sheet in the Caps’ 2-1 win over Boston after producing points (nine goals and 17 points) in Washington’s previous eight games.
Although it seems highly unlikely the Panthers will make the playoffs, you have to give them credit for a solid stretch run with seven wins in a row. Hard to say if it’ll be enough for Jacques Martin to hold onto both his jobs as coach and GM of the team, however.
The Sabres outscored the Hurricanes and Maple Leafs by a combined score of 13-3 in back-to-back wins. Leading scorer Jason Pominville contributed a goal and five points in the two victories.
A 2-1 shootout win over the surging San Jose Sharks proves the Oilers are for real. With eight wins in 10 games, Edmonton is making a shocking run at the eighth and final playoff spot in the West. They’ve probably left it too late, but what the heck – they are certainly fun to watch.
The Coyotes scored huge wins over Anaheim and Vancouver before suffering a 5-2 loss to the Oilers. Veteran defender Ed Jovanovski has played well, but the Coyotes would like a little more offense (one goal in his past 12 games) out of him.
With captain Mats Sundin sidelined, the Leafs dropped a 6-2 decision to Buffalo Saturday and were, for all intents and purposes, eliminated from playoff contention. They have not been mathematically eliminated, however.
The Blue Jackets have been in a win-one, lose-one mode for too long to be considered a serious playoff contender. That said, a 4-3 win over league-leading Detroit was sweet.
Rookie Jonathan Toews scored his 20th goal of the season in a 4-2 loss to Calgary. He continues to assert himself as a likely Calder Trophy candidate along with teammate Patrick Kane.
A great coach can carry a team only so far. The Islanders have dropped five straight and with the losing streak, all hopes of a playoff spot went out the window.
With eight games remaining, Ilya Kovalchuk looks like a lock to record his second 50-goal season. He had 49 in 71 games.
After scoring five goals in three games, Vinny Lecavalier was held off the board in a 3-0 win over the Rangers Saturday.
What a lousy ending to what had been a pretty good year. Now all we hear is bitching and whining about coach Andy Murray. If the Blues are smart, they keep Murray and ship out the complainers.
After falling behind 1-0 in the second period, the Kings scored four straight to hand Nashville a 4-1 defeat.
The Hockey News ranks the teams 1-30 on Mondays. Changes in rankings reflect each team’s play from the previous seven days.
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