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Staying afloat

The Hockey News

The Hockey News

It’s tough to know how optimistic to be about the New York Islanders these days.

For the first time in recent memory, they’re battling for a playoff spot and can certainly hold their own with the other underwhelming Eastern teams scrapping it out for seeds five through eight.

Rick DiPietro is back and has fared pretty well in four games, Kyle Okposo, still just 21, is starting to produce more and Matt Moulson has been a nice surprise, leading the team with 19 goals.

On the flip side, rookie John Tavares has two goals in his past 21 games and getting excited about anything related to DiPietro comes with well-documented perils.

The Isles have done a good job building organizational depth via the draft and, recent slide aside, Tavares certainly has the makings of a worthy centrepiece. Still, this team needs another blue-chipper on the roster before we can get really excited about the future.

For now, the Isles will try to take a collective step forward by earning a post-season berth in April. If nothing else, it would offer good experience and some positive re-enforcement for the kids already in-house.

RK.

TEAM

LW

OVERALL

L10

THE SCOOP

1

5

35-10-8

8-1-1

Won four straight last week by an aggregate count of 22-5

2

2

33-12-6

9-1-0

Best five-on-five team in the NHL with a goals for/against ratio of 1.48, not to mention a league-leading power play that scores 26 percent of the time

3

6

30-15-6

7-3-0

Passed over for Team USA, Craig Anderson is 3-0 with two shutouts and a 0.33 GAA in his past three games

4

1

35-13-4

6-3-1

People in the know say blueliner Niklas Hjalmarsson is one of the league's more underrated players

5

10

31-18-2

7-2-1

Providing a home for the wins their division rival in Calgary used to get

6

7

32-20-1

6-4-0

Won all three games they were slated to play in Philly this year

7

4

30-13-7

5-2-3

Despite three straight losses, Jason Pominville and Tim Connolly have looked great, putting up eight points each over their past four games

8

8

34-15-1

5-5-0

Team that struggles to score enough already will miss Patrik Elias, who's out with a concussion

9

11

29-19-3

6-4-0

Drew Doughty continues to prove he deserves to play for Canada at the Olympics, putting up 12 points in his past 11 games

10

16

28-21-4

6-4-0

Wins are way up, injuries way down

11

9

29-18-5

4-5-1

Can't afford any extended lull if they're to hold down a top-eight spot out west

12

3

29-19-3

5-5-0

Jason Arnott has just one goal in his past 15 contests

13

14

24-21-7

8-2-0

After a rough first half, the Ducks are charging towards the playoffs with eight wins in their past 10 games

14

17

26-22-3

7-3-0

Chris Pronger is on pace for 58 points, which would represent the third-highest total of his decorated career

15

25

22-19-11

4-6-0

The Stars are 1-8 in their past nine road games. That lone win came against the last-place Oilers

16

12

25-18-8

4-4-2

The Wings need more from Henrik Zetterberg, who went pointless in three games last week

17

21

25-23-5

4-4-2

Scott Gomez's totals could wind up being respectable if he keeps clicking with the red-hot Benoit Pouliot

18

13

26-19-6

2-7-1

The Flames’ six straight losses have led to rumors that Dion Phaneuf could be sacrificed to bring in some offense

19

15

23-21-8

7-3-0

Kyle Okposo has started getting some points over the past month, leading the Isles with 35 through 51 games

20

19

24-21-7

4-4-2

The Rangers scored one goal in three games, then buried 14 in two contests, only to be shut out in their past two outings. Ready for a Tortorella meltdown?

21

20

25-23-4

5-4-1

A hot streak got the Wild back in the playoff picture, but the team has cooled significantly of late, dropping four of five

22

18

23-20-8

2-7-1

Five straight losses have the Bruins outside the playoff picture after last weekend's action

23

23

22-21-9

5-3-2

Losing leading scorer Nathan Horton for four-to-six weeks with a fractured tibia really hurts the Panthers’ post-season chances

24

22

22-21-8

5-3-2

Brad Boyes' goal production is going the wrong way; two years ago it was 43, it dropped to 33 last year and this season he'll do well to hit 20

25

24

21-20-10

5-5-0

Only Joe Thornton, Henrik Sedin and Brad Richards have more helpers than Martin St-Louis' 42

26

26

22-21-8

4-4-2

Kari Lehtonen saw his first action of the season this weekend, losing 5-4 while in net for the American League’s Chicago Wolves

27

29

20-25-9

5-5-0

Playoff teams looking for toughness will come calling about Raffi Torres

28

27

16-28-7

5-5-0

A 5-1 win over Boston on Sunday has Carolina out of the league’s basement

29

28

17-26-10

2-7-1

Looks like Mike Komisarek will return from an upper-body injury this week

30

30

16-28-6

0-8-2

Moving Sheldon Souray's $5.4 million annual cap hit would be a coup

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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