The red-hot Wings – winners of six straight games – ascend to the top spot in this week's Power Rankings, knocking the Rangers down to second. But back in the top 10 are the injury-riddled-yet-still-resilient Pittsburgh Penguins, who also have won six in a row.
The Pens are staying in the playoff hunt in large part due to large superstar Evgeni Malkin, now the league's leading point-getter (58) despite missing seven games with injuries. However, they're also getting stellar contributions from James Neal (whose 26 goals have him tied with Malkin for the team lead), Marc-Andre Fleury (2.26 goals-against average) and Chris Kunitz (on pace for a 52-point season, which would be his best since 2008-09). They have a tough final test before the all-star break when they take on St. Louis Tuesday, and when they return, they'll take on the increasingly desperate Leafs in a home-and-home series on back-to-back nights, then square off against the defending champion Bruins Feb. 4 in Boston. Can the Pens climb higher? Will more of them get hurt? That will be reflected each and every Monday when the new Power Rankings are posted at THN.com.
Johan Franzen leads league in game-winning goals (8), one ahead of Pens star Evgeni Malkin
Brad Richards is the Blueshirts' most dangerous power play performer, leading the team in assists (10) and points (13)
Bruins and hated rival Canucks are both 21-0-0 when leading after two periods
Stingy Blues have allowed more than three goals in a game only once since Dec. 5 - and they won that game (beating Columbus 6-4)
Patrick Marleau, Joe Pavelski, Logan Couture, Ryan Clowe and Brent Burns each have four power play goals
Hawks' 27th overall penalty kill (78.2 percent) remains a work-in-not-very-much-progress
Ten of 14 games in February come on the road; fortunately, the Canucks are better there (16-9-1) than at home (13-6-3)
Six Predators (Martin Erat, David Legwand, Colin Wilson, Patric Hornqvist, Nick Spaling and Matt Halischuk) have at least two game-winning goals
Matt Read (15 goals, 31 points, plus-12) still a frontrunner for Calder Trophy
James Neal has 12 power play goals - second only to Philly's Scott Hartnell (13)
Sens finish January with three road games, then begin Feburary with crucial five-game homestand against Isles, Leafs, Blues, Preds and Oilers
Caps have East's most impressive home record (17-6-1), but still struggle on the road (8-13-2)
Devils still winning despite Martin Brodeur's awful .893 save percentage
Anze Kopitar has a team-best 15 goals, but just one game-winner; Dustin Brown has 13 goals, and five game-winners
Stumbling Panthers have just two wins in eight attempts this month, and just one game left (against Flyers) to try and make it three
Avs still have league's best shootout record (7-0)
Leafs epitome of mediocrity: even goals-for/against ratio; 13 wins and 12 losses at home; and 10 wins and 12 losses on the road
Stars haven't won in five games, and are without Jamie Benn and Mike Ribeiro; have their playoff-chances taken a death blow?
Jets haven't won two consecutive games all month, get another chance this week with back-to-back road games against Canes, Rangers
Curtis Glencross' injury another hurdle for Flames to attempt to overcome
Dany Heatley on pace for a 23-goal season; five seasons ago, he had 50
Ageless wonder Ray Whitney leads Coyotes in assists (26), points (41), plus-minus (plus-12)
John Tavares on pace for a 51-assist, 84-point season; he already has five game-winning goals - one more than he did last season
Five consecutive wins is nice, but Ducks remain 11 points out of eighth and have won just five road games all season
With a puny 8-9-7 home record, Canadiens are tied with Jackets (8-13-3) for fewest wins in their own building
Three straight wins for Bolts, but they're still 13th in the East and nine eight points out of eighth; look for Dominic Moore, possibly Pavel Kubina to be shopped around
Trading Alexei Ponikarovksy just the beginning of Canes' serious roster alterations
Playoffs just a dream for Sabres at this stage; who pays for such a shocking underachievement?
Fading Oilers average just 26.3 shots per game; only Ducks (25.9) are worse
With a little more than a month until the trade deadline, very few Jackets should feel secure in their place with the franchise
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.