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NHL Power Rankings — 12/16

12.16.09 at 10:31 am ET
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As the ice rink gets built at Fenway, take a look at how we have constructed this week’s WEEI power rankings:

New Jersey Devils 1. (1) 22-8-1  Going a league best 8-2 in their last 10 will do little to drop the Devils from our top ranking.

Pittsburgh Penguins2. (5) 23-10-1  Back-to-back games with the Flyers followed by contests against Buffalo and New Jersey this week will be a nice test for the defending champs.

Chicago Blackhawks3. (3) 20-8-3  A four-game homestand, which includes a contest with the B’s Friday, could vault the Blackhawks to No. 1 just in time for Christmas.

Washington Capitals4. (2) 21-7-6  Get dropped by the Leafs 6-3 and you’re going to drop in the rankings. Them’s the rules, Caps fans.

Los Angeles Kings 5. (6 ) 22-11-3  Much hoopla in LA this week about the now-ready-for-prime-time Kings holding the top spot in the Western Conference and playing for the  “best record” in the league Monday. Hey, things are good, but let’s check the games played column before we get too carried away, Hollywood.

Minnesota Wild6. (10) 20-9-2 Four wins in a row for the Sabres. Derek Roy has four points (1 goal, 3 assists) to pace effort and lead team in scoring.

San Jose Sharks7. (4) 19-8-7  Please raise your hand if your team has not defeated the Sharks (0-2-3) recently.  Anyone?

Calgary Flames8. (7) 19-10-4  A dip for the Flames, who are just 2-4-1 in last seven. Jarome Iginla has no goals and just three assists over that stretch.

Colorado Avalanche9. (13) 19-11-6  Time to give the Avalanche a little more respect. Wins in four of their last six games will do that.

Phoenix Coyotes10. (8) 19-12-2   The Coyotes opened a four-game road trip with a loss in Detroit Monday. Big question is will Ilya Bryzgalov (13 straight starts) finally get a night off with back-to-back games Wednesday and Thursday.

Nashville Predators11. (11) 20-11-3   The loss of combative and competitive forward Jordin Toottoo for 3-4 weeks will present a test for the Predators.

Boston Bruins 12. (9) 16-10-6  After dropping back-to-back games to teams near the bottom of the Eastern Conference, the Bruins face a formidable challenge skating against one of the best in the West in Chicago Friday. Gut check time.

Detriot Red Wings13. (16) 17-11-5   The Red Wings have won 3-of-4 and are getting in gear. But the loss of defenseman Jonathan Ericsson in Monday’s win over the Coyotes could limit their climb.

Dallas Stars 14. (14) 14-8-10   James Neal has three goals and two assists in the last five games for the Stars. He has 14 on the season and should surpass the 24 goals he notched as a rookie last season.

Atlanta Thrashers15. (13) 17-11-3 After dropping three straight, the Thrashers get back on track with two wins.

Vancouver Canucks16. (17) 19-14-0  A 3-0 week for the Canucks. Interesting clash when Roberto Luongo meets Alex Ovechkin and the Caps Friday.

Edmonton Oilers17. (22) 15-14-4  The Oilers completed a 5-0 road trip and are back in the hunt for a playoff spot in the West. Taking care of business during a four-game homestand would be the next step.

Ottawa Senators18. (15) 16-12-4 Treading water in their last five (3-2), the Sens get four points by captain Daniel Alfredsson.

Minnesota Wild 19. (23) 16-14-3  The Wild continue to improve, going 8-2-1 in their last 11 games.

Columbus Blue Jackets 20. (21) 14-14-6   Rick Nash has just three goals in the last 10 games and the Blue Jackets have just two wins (2-5-3). Enough said.

St. Louis Blues21. (19) 14-12-5   The Blues passed a big test with a win against Calgary Tuesday.

Montreal Canadiens22. (20) 15-16-3  Three straight losses and the good ship Les Habitants have fallen below the .500 water line.

Florida Panthers23. (28) 13-14-7 A win in New Jersey, a one-goal loss in Pittsburgh and a 7-1 drubbing of the Islanders. Sounds like the Panthers are better suited to roll among the top 10 than the bottom of the rankings.

Anaheim Ducks24. (27) 12-13-7  Welcome back, fan-friendly owner Henry Samueli. That Corey Perry guy (37 points in 32 games) has been earning every penny you pay him while you were gone.

Philadelphia Flyers25. (26) 15-16-1  Even after their nose dive and subsequent firing of John Stevens, the Flyers remain about a .500 team. Their 3-1 win over the B’s Monday could be a sign of a scary ascent in the works.

New York Rangers 26. (25 ) 14-15-3  The Blueshirts have gone 1-5-2 in their last eight. Anyone complaining?

Tampa Bay Lightning 27. (18) 11-13-9  Not a great transition into December for the Lightning, 2-7-2 since Thanksgiving.

Toronto Maple Leafs28. (29) 12-14-7 We have movement up the rankings. The Leafs are 8-3 in their last 11, with two of the losses to the Bruins.

New York Islanders29. (22) 12-14-7  The Islanders return from extended life on the road and fight for a 3-2 win over the Bruins, then follow it with a 7-1 home loss to Florida. Confused? Yeah, we are, too.

Carolina Hurricanes30. (30) 7-19-6  Anyone think recently waived defenseman Aaron Ward would be a nice addition to the Bruins? Just saying.

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