|NHL Power Rankings, 12/23||12.23.09 at 7:24 am ET|
As the countdown to Christmas continues, step aside from the shopping cart. Put down the wrapping paper. Gather family and friends near and enjoy the gift that is the WEEI NHL Power Rankings.
1. (1) 26-8-1 The Devils were challenged by the Penguins for our top spot, but Martin Brodeur went into Pittsburgh and grabbed a milestone shutout. The Devils remain on top.
3. (2) 25-11-1 Before running into shutout king Brodeur Monday, the Penguins had won five in a row. They could do the Bruins a favor by returning to their winning ways in their next three contests, all against Northeast Division teams.
4. (4) 22-8-6 After a few rough seasons for Brendan Morrison, it’s nice to see he has fit in well with the Capitals, with 24 points in 36 games and a plus-14 rating.
8. (5 ) 22-12-3 Ryan Smyth should be back in the lineup when the Kings play their next game Saturday in Phoenix. That’s as good a hockey Christmas gift as you’ll get.
10. (10) 22-13-2 There’s no way the Coyotes could shock the world and win the Pacific? That could never happen, right? Hmm. Third-best record in the league over their last 10 (7-2-1). Never say never.
11. (8) 20-11-4 Yes, we have confirmation. Jarome Iginla did end an eight-game goal-scoring drought with two goals Saturday. But the Flames still have lost three of four.
12. (12) 17-11-7 The return of Milan Lucic and the spirited atmosphere of the Winter Classic should provide a well-timed shot of adrenalin for the Bruins.
13. (13) 18-13-5 The Red Wings were already beset by a major rash of injuries, and now leading scorer Henrik Zetterberg is gone for at least another week with a shoulder injury.
15. (15) 18-13-4 Those speculating about the Thrashers moving Ilya Kovalchuk to Boston seem to avoid looking at the standings. The Thrashers’ next move could be to pass the Bruins in playoff positioning.
17. (18) 18-14-4 Congrats to Senators forward Mike Fisher for his engagement to country singer Carrie Underwood. That’s a sweet addition to the Northeast Division.
20. (24) 14-14-7 The Ducks rallied from a two-goal deficit in the third period to take a 4-2 win in Colorado Tuesday. They launched 43 shots at Craig Anderson in the process. Don’t think they are done this season.
23. (22) 17-18-3 Had to double check on this one. Yes, indeed, Canadiens forward Tomas Plekanec is among the top 10 in league scoring. That’s about the best of it in Montreal this season.
25. (24) 14-16-7 It’s official. Blue Jackets goalie Steve Mason, with his 3.41 GAA and .887 SP, has qualified for the worst second season by a Calder Trophy winner.
28. (28) 13-16-8 If Saturday’s 2-0 shutout over the B’s is any indication, Jonas Gustavsson could get the Maple Leafs on track.
29. (29) 13-17-7 Islanders super rookie John Tavares may have hit the wall. He’s been held without a point in five straight.
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