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NHL Power Rankings 12/2

Two months into the season, a good week can still make or break a team’s spot in the WEEI.com power rankings.

1. (3) 17-6-1  The Devils go 3-0 this week, thanks in part to Zach Parise [1]‘s slick shootout move against Tuukka Rask [2] in Friday’s win over the B’s. Losing David Clarkson [3] (broken leg) is the only dark spot on the horizon.

2. (4) 17-6-3  Sure, perhaps it’s a bit of a stretch, but the Flames have won four in a row, are 10-1-3 on the road and are playing as well as any team in the league.

3. (2) 17-6-3 Back-to-back losses in Southern California spoil a 4-0 start to a six-game road trip for the Blackhawks. Bounce-back shootout victory over Columbus Tuesday.

4. (1) 19-6-4 The Sharks were 3-1 this week. That’s still not good enough to hold the top spot.

5. (5) 19-9-0  They stood steady this week, but the Penguins [4] should be marching up the rankings soon with Alex Goligoski [5], Kris Letang [6] and Tyler Kennedy [7] back on board.

6. (6) 16-5-6 The Caps go 3-0, but the direction in which the combustible Alexander Ovechkin [8] is heading is a bit of a concern.

7. (17). 15-7-2 Yeah, we’re meandering all over the place with the Sabres. But a 3-0 week, return to first place and two games in hand on the B’s has to count for something. So does Ryan Miller [9]‘s league-best 1.84 GAA and .934  SP.

8. (9) 15-10-1 A 5-0 setback to Calgary [10] Monday still leaves the Predators 8-2 in last their last 10. Ryan Suter [11] is getting things done on defense.

9. (19) 14-7-3 The Thrashers win four this week to improve to 7-1-2 in their last 10. Defenseman Pavel Kubina [12] is plus-12 over that stretch and plus-16 on the season.

10. (16) 138-5 The Bruins (6-1-3) have a better record than the Sharks (6-2-2) over the last 10 games. You knew that, right?

11. (12 ) 16-10-2 Big win for the Kings over Chicago Saturday, followed by a Freeway Faceoff victory over the rival Ducks on Tuesday.

12. (11) 15-8-5  The Avalanche went 1-1-2 this week, which in the NHL [13] is a form of progress. Rookie Matt Duchene [14] has four goals and three assists in his last seven games.

13. (8) 13-8-4  In the opening period against the Bruins Saturday, the Senators showed great speed and skill. GM Bryan Murray has something here, but goaltending is a question mark.

14. (13) 15-11-1 In their effort to rise from the bottom of the league standings, the Coyotes have gone 6-3-1 within the Pacific Division and 12-7-1 in the conference. That’s taking flight.

15. (7) 12-8-7  The Stars have dropped three of their last four. Getting back defenseman Nicklas Grossman [15], the team’s plus/minus leader (plus-6), later this week should help change that trend.

16. (15) 13-9-4 After dropping three straight, including being shut out in consecutive home games, the Red Wings pick up back-to-back wins, scoring four goals in each victory. Yeah, consistency might be an issue.

17. (18) 10-7-8 The Lightning have lost five of their last seven (2-3-2), but don’t blame Steve Stamkos [16], who has four goals and four assists over that stretch.

18. (20) 14-12-0 After a 3-2 homestand, the Canucks embark upon a four-game eastern road trip. Look for that to go well.

19. (14) 13-10-1 Less than a month before they arrive at Fenway, the Flyers have lost five of their last six. A cold, frustrated Chris Pronger [17] on New Year’s Day could be must-see TV.

20. (12) 13-9-5  The Blue Jackets [18] ended a five-game losing steak by beating St. Louis Monday. A three-game homestand could further help the recovery.

21. (24) 10-12-4  Goalie J.S. Giguere [19] is getting his groove back for the Ducks, going 3-0-1 with a 1.77 GAA and .944 SP in his last four games.

22. (22) 10-12-4  The Panthers have lost five straight, and defenseman Keith Ballard [20] accidentally knocked stellar goalie Tomas Vokoun [21] out of Monday’s game with an errant stick swing. That’s a bad week.

23. (21) 10-10-7  Win one, lose one, rookie John Tavares [22] scores one. Your 2009-10 New York Islanders [23].

24. (23 ) 13-13-1 Given the chance to open up his game, Marian Gaborik [24] leads the league in goals and the Rangers still lose hockey games. We love whatever hockey gods set up this scenario.

25. (25) 12-13-2  Division games against Toronto, Buffalo and Boston this week provide the Canadiens a chance to jump back into the thick of things. Or not.

26. (26) 10-12-3 The Wild went 2-0-1 this week and 5-2-3 in their last 10 games. They should be moving from the bottom of the conference soon.

27. (27) 10-10-5 The Blues meander through a 4-3 stretch with defenseman Erik Johnson [25] continuing to lead the team in scoring (18 points). If St. Louis finds its offense, this team could get back where it belongs.

28. (29) 7-12-7 After playing in Boston Saturday, the Maple Leafs [26] will return home, play two games and then head back to Boston, while the Bruins simply wait without a game. Interesting to see how that plays out.

29. (28) 10-13-4  The Oilers have the league’s worst record (2-5-3) over the last 10 games, with a five-game road trip ahead of them. Could a drop to 30th place be far behind?

30. (30) 5-17-5  The Hurricanes lose five in a row and defenseman Joe Corvo [27] for 2-3 months with a lacerated calf after being cut with a skate. Hurts just to think about it.