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NHL Power Rankings 11/18

As the NHL [1] nears the quarter mark of the season, the WEEI power rankings sort things out.

1. 14-5-0 The Devils are tough on the road (9-1) and just rounding into form under Jacques Lemaire, posting an 8-2 mark in their last 10. Strong start for forward Zach Parise [2], 24 points in 19 games, a plus-13. Martin Brodeur [3] has started 17 of 19 and posts a .920 save percentage.

2. 14-5-4 Tuesday loss to Nashville costs the Sharks the top spot. Dany Heatley [4]‘s 14 goals not a great surprise, but Patrick Marleau [5] with 13?  Still, it’s November.

3. 13-4-4 Return of MVP Alex Ovechkin [6] gets high-powered Caps offense (league-best 83 goals) back on track.

4. 12-5-2 The Blackhawks are starting to click on all cylinders. Cristobal Huet [7] is getting things done in goal, (2.25 GAA). They have the best penalty-killing in the league. Duncan Keith [8] (15 points in 19 games) is sixth in the league in scoring by defensemen.

5. 13-6-3 The Avalanche may be coming back to earth after a surprising start. The Avs are just 5-4-1 in the last 10 games. Center Ryan O’Reilly [9] is third in rookie scoring (15 points) but was minus-3 in a loss Wednesday.

6. 12-5-1 Look out, the Sabres are starting to settle into the division lead. And wrestling it back from 6-foot-8 rookie defenseman Tyler Myers [10] (averaging 21 minutes of ice time) could be a tall order.

7. 12-5-2 The Flames’ leading scorer is Rene Bourque [11] (21 points). Enough said. Specials teams is in the middle of the pack. Must be the goaltending ‘€” as in, Miikka Kiprusoff [12] and his .921 save percentage.

8.  13-8-2 Decent (3-2) road trip, then a stumble at home Wednesday to the Flyers. Anze Kopitar [13] is atop the league in scoring, but he was shut down in a loss to the Flyers.

9. 10-6-3  Leaves are falling, Wings are rising (7-2-1 in last 10). What else is new ? How about the Niklas among the list of top scoring defenseman being Kronwall [14] (13 points) and not Lidstrom [15].

10. 14-7 The Penguins [16]‘ last-second comeback and OT win against Bruins gets the defending champs back in the groove. Getting that Malkin [17] guy back doesn’t hurt.

11. 12-5-1 Nice win Wednesday in LA to start a West Coast swing for the Flyers, who had been 7-3 in their last 10. Steady as it gets for defenseman Chris Pronger [18] ‘€” 17 points in 18 games, a plus-14.

12. 11-6-2 Rick Nash [19] is getting it done offensively (13 goals, 11 assists) for the Blue Jackets, but a minus-7 rating? Calder winner Steve Mason [20], with a horrific 3.67 GAA and .879 save percentage, is being badly outplayed by Mathieu Garon [21] (2.46, .923).

13. 8-4-6  The talent is starting to shine in the Sunshine State. All those who said Lightning goalie Antero Niittymaki [22] would post anything near a 1.93 GAA and .939 save percentage, please step forward.

14. 8-6-7 It’s Matt Moulson [23] time on the Island. His 10 goals rank as tops on the team. Number 1 pick John Tavares [24] leads the team and all NHL [25] rookies in scoring (19 points in 21 games). Gritty win against the B’s.

15. 10-6-1 Ilya Kovalchuk [26] returns, and the Thrashers take flight. Maxim Afinogenov [27] (17 points in 17 games) was a nice under-the-radar free agent signing. In goal, Ondrej Pavelec [28] (.917 SP) has been solid. You knew that, right?

16. 11-9-1 The Blueshirts are fading after a fast start, just 4-6 in their last 10. Rookie defensemen Michael Del Zotto [29] (15 points) and Matt Gilroy [30] (19 minutes a game) are still playing big roles.

17. 9-5-6 No one dances into securing one standings point like the Stars. Just don’t lose in 60 minutes, baby. Second-year winger James Neal [31] already has 11 goals.

18. 12-9 Ilya Bryzgalov [32] (2.04 GAA) and a veteran defense keep things level for the Coyotes in the desert. Offense still is a problem. Two defensemen, Ed Jovanovski [33] and Adrian Aucoin [34], are among the team’s point leaders. Not a good thing.

19. 11-10-0 Meandering along at .500 is not where the Canucks want to be, but playing without Roberto Luongo [35] in goal for two weeks makes it not so bad.

20. 10-8-1 They’re starting to find the right chord in Music City, as the Preds are 7-3 in their last 10. Solid second season for goalie Pekka Rinne [36] (2.40 GAA, .914 SP)

21. 9-6-3 The Senators are not the power they once were. But they’re no pushover either. Daniel Alfredsson [37] is generating his usual point per game (19 points, 18 games), but Johnathan Cheechoo [38] (1 goal) is hardly making fans forget about Dany Heatley [39].

22. 8-8-4 The Bruins have been treading water until their top-line players return, but that project is just about complete. Considering the scoring woes and stretches of lackluster play, .500 is not a bad place from which to get back into winning form.

23. 10-11-1 Looking for offense, the Habs added Brian Gionta [40], Mike Cammalleri [41] and Scott Gomez [42]. The result? Tomas Plekanec [43] leads the team in scoring. Defensively, Roman Hamrlik [44] sets the tone, logging a team-high 25:26 of ice time. Au revoir.

24. 8-9-2 You could do a lot worse than counting on Panthers goalie Tomas Vokoun [45] (.921 SP) to carry you into the playoffs. You probably could do a lot better than expecting leading scorer Steven Reinprecht [46] (15 points) to do the same. Just saying.

25. 7-12-2 Those boring wins under former coach Jacques Lemaire are not looking so bad now for the Wild. Derek Boogaard [47] is still looking for his first point of the season. To the extent he looks for points.

26. 6-10-3 Who would have thought that trading monster Chris Pronger [48] and other key defenders would result in an awful defensive team. Couldn’t see that one coming. Corey Perry [49]‘s current 12-game point streak (17 points) is the best in the league this season. It could win him a trip to the Vancouver Olympics.

27 9-10-3- A third-period rally allowed the Oilers to end a four-game losing streak Wednesday. It was just the third win for Edmonton in the last 13 games. Much-maligned offer sheet signee Dustin Penner [50] finally is showing his worth, leading the team in scoring (23 points).

28. 3-11-5 Toronto still is waiting for that Phil Kessel [51] infusion (5 goals, 3 assists in 7 games) to lead to wins. The Leafs are just 2-5 since No. 81 jumped into the lineup. Then again, they have twice as many wins with him as without.

29. 6-8-4 The hottest team in the league after December last season is frozen in a bad place so far this year. Fewest goals scored in the league ‘€” on a team with Keith Tkachuk [52], Paul Kariya [53], Andy McDonald [54] and Brad Boyes [55]? Them’s the Blues.

30. 3-12-5 The Hurricanes are heading south, probably farther than Aaron Ward [56] (minus-11) had in mind.