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NHL Power Rankings

NHL Power Rankings

NHL Power Rankings
by Joe Paciella

Colorado has had a tough start to the New Year and has fallen a bit in the first NHL power rankings of 2008. Pittsburgh and Phoenix are going in the other direction and Detroit and Ottawa, well… they're still good.

1. Detroit Red Wings (70 pts.)
- The Red Wings lost on Thanksgiving. Since then, they have only one regulation loss. That's absurd. There's no reason to think that this team won't be competing deep into the playoffs for a Stanley Cup.

2. Ottawa Senators (60 pts.)
- The President's Trophy is looking slightly out of reach for Ottawa this season, but then again so is the top seed for any other team in the Eastern Conference playoffs. Saturday night's game against the league-leading Red Wings could be a harbinger of things to come when June gets here.

3. San Jose Sharks (54 pts.)
- Don't look now, but the Sharks are sneaking their way up to the top of the Pacific Division. Don't be so quick to place a wager on them though; at +102 on the money line for the season, they're no lock.

4. New Jersey Devils (53 pts.)
- The Devils have the third most points against teams from the Eastern Conference and should be able to pile up some more, since they don't have a game against a Western Conference team until February. This will be a plus for Jersey when they hit the playoffs.

5. Pittsburgh Penguins (52 pts.) - The Penguins are riding an eight-game unbeaten streak, and look to keep things rolling with five out of eight remaining January games against teams who currently sit outside the playoffs.

6. Dallas Stars (54 pts.) - Dallas has cooled off a bit as of late. They sit deadlocked with the Sharks for the lead in the Pacific Division, but San Jose has four games at hand.

7. Vancouver Canucks (52 pts.) - Roberto Luongo has kept the Canucks atop the Northwest Division. He currently ranks second in save percentage and is tied for fourth in wins. He has been better than most NHL goaltenders this year, which I'm sure he is happy about.

8. Montreal Canadians (52 pts.) - The Canadians have been playing pretty well recently, as they have won six of their last 10. The problem is they can't seem to sustain a winning streak over two games, and trying to chase Ottawa for the division title may be too tough a climb.

9. Anaheim Ducks (52 pts.) - Anaheim has compiled 32 of their 52 points at home, but will need to improve on the road if they are to stay in the mix. They will soon embark on a stretch of 12 of 13 away from home, and if that goes south, so could these Ducks.

10. Minnesota Wild (50 pts.) - The Wild had been floundering a bit recently, but a big shootout win over Detroit in Hockeytown could be the confidence builder that this team needed.

11. Calgary Flames (51 pts.) - Calgary has gotten themselves right back into the race for the Northwest Division. They currently sit just one point behind Vancouver, and if Jarome Iginla (third in the league in scoring) can keep the lamp lit, they could be looking at an opening-round home series and a three seed.

12. Philadelphia Flyers (48 pts.) - Even though the Flyers recently lost a key game against the division leading Devils, they still sit in pretty good shape, with contests coming up against some pretty bad teams for the rest of the month.

13. Colorado Avalanche (47 pts.) - Colorado has only won one game in the New Year, but upcoming games against Florida and Tampa Bay should be able to get them back on track.

14. St. Louis Blues (49 pts.)
- Alright St. Louis, so you're not going to win the Central Division. Not to worry, just scrape up enough points to get into the playoffs as an eight seed so you can face…Detroit. Well, thanks for playing.

15. Phoenix Coyotes (45 pts.) - A six-game mostly east coast road trip in December may have galvanized this team. After taking five out of six of those games, Phoenix finds themselves only four points out of the last playoff spot, and has won 11 out of their last 17. The biggest change? They are starting to put the puck in the net.

16. Carolina Hurricanes (48 pts.) - Carolina needs to be careful that they don't give up too much ground to Atlanta. The winner of the Southeast Division is obviously in the playoffs, and more than likely the No. 3 seed. However if the Canes slip a little too far, they could find themselves on the outside of the playoffs looking in.

17. Boston Bruins (46 pts.) - Boston teams have been great to bettors this season. If you took the Pats, Celtics and Bruins straight up, you are a combined 66-26. And even though the Bruins have lost 22 of those 26, they are still +983 on the money line this season.

18. New York Islanders (45 pts.)
- With only two regulation losses in their last 10 games, the Isles have found themselves sitting currently as the No. 8 seed, and would be in the playoffs if they started today. However, if the playoffs started today, all of those contracts would have to be prorated and the players probably wouldn't like that.

19. New York Rangers (45 pts.) - Injuries to Brendan Shanahan, Martin Straka and Sean Avery have really slowed this team. In addition, seven out of their last 11 losses have been of two goals or less. At least the New York media isn't crushing them that much, with the Giants facing Dallas this week and the Knicks a disaster.

20. Nashville Predators (44 pts.) - Nashville has been one of the hottest teams in the NHL over the last few weeks, as they are 7-3 in their last 10 games and sit just five points out of the final playoff spot in the West.

21. Columbus Blue Jackets (44 pts.) - The Blue Jackets have been pretty mediocre in the standings, sitting currently tied for 11th in the West. Betting on them has been a different story all together. They are faring very well and are +1100 on the season.

22. Florida Panthers (43 pts.) - No team in the Southeast Division has given up fewer goals than Florida. The problem is they are last in the division in scoring. In their last eight losses, they're averaging one goal per game. That will most certainly not get it done.

23. Washington Capitals (41 pts.) - Washington has just two regulation losses in their last 10 games. For a team with a young, newly signed superstar in Alexander Ovechkin, anything positive that they can take from this season will definitely help them next year.

24. Atlanta Thrashers (44 pts.) - Don't bet on the Thrashers. Period. They are -1865 on the money line for the season.

25. Edmonton Oilers (44 pts.) - Did Santa bring the Oilers a power play for Christmas? They still rank 28th in the league in that department, but they have scored at least one power play goal in all but two games since Dec. 25.

26. Buffalo Sabres (43 pts.) - The shootout loss to Pittsburgh in the Winter Classic may have been the highlight of the Sabres season. You read that right. They are in the midst of an eight-game losing streak, and will soon go on a seven-game road trip. Start looking ahead to Bills training camp folks.

27. Chicago Blackhawks (42 pts.) - So much for the possible turnaround. The Blackhawks let everyone know why they haven't won a Cup since 1961, as they followed up their four-game winning streak with a seven-game losing streak.

28. Toronto Maple Leafs (40 pts.)
- Even though the Leafs are only five points out of the final playoff spot in the East, they would have to jump over six teams to get there. And who knows what's going to happen with Mats Sundin? Not looking good for Toronto this year.

29. Tampa Bay Lightning (37 pts.) - Center Vincent Lecavalier is leading the NHL in scoring, and it's a good thing he is. Without him, Tampa Bay might not be in many games. They are the second worst defensive team in the league, and their top netminder, Johan Holmqvist is still giving up over three goals per game.

30. Los Angeles Kings (34 pts.) - It should come as no surprise that the league's worst defensive team is also the league's worst team in the standings. In their last three losses, the Kings have given up a total of 17 goals.

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