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NHL Power Rankings 1/6

01.06.10 at 7:22 am ET

A new year, a fresh start and a new team atop the WEEI Power Rankings.

1. (2) 30-10-3  The Blackhawks skated past New Jersey 5-1 in a top-of-the-charts showdown last week. They arrive in Boston to play the Bruins Thursday. Sounds like a good time for them to make their on-ice debut as our new No. 1.

2. (1) 30-10-1  A road loss to the Blackhawks made for an unhappy New Year’s Eve for the Devils. Leading scorer Zach Parise ended a brief three-game stretch without a point by scoring a second-period goal in a 4-0 win over Dallas Tuesday.

3. (3) 27-9-7  The Sharks had a great first half to the season, but a 6-2 home loss to the Kings on Monday, in which Evgeni Nabokov gave up five goals on 16 shots, says that winning the Pacific is no lock.

4. (5) 26-11-4  Team USA general manager Brian Burke says Ryan Miller is the best goalie in the NHL right now. Anyone disagree ?

5. (4) 25-11-6  The Caps drop two this week, the Sabres win two. Trade places in the rankings, please.

6. (8) 24-13-6  Please welcome your Northwest Division-leading Avalanche. You expected to hear those words this year, right ? The Avs continue to stay in the fight for the division lead.

7. (10) 25-12-5  The Flames have gotten hot again, winning five in a row, including a 3-1 win in Nashville Tuesday.

8. (7) 26-14-4  A minor slump for the surprising Coyotes. They had lost three of four before taking an overtime win in Edmonton Tuesday.

9. (9) 25-14-3  The Predators had won three straight before dropping a 3-1 game to Calgary at home Tuesday. Jason Arnott ended a nine-game stretch without a goal, scoring in a win over Anaheim Saturday.

10 . (6) 27-16-1  What’s up with the defending champs? The Penguins had lost five straight and six of their last seven before beating Atlanta Tuesday. Losing versatile forward Chris Kuntiz for over a month on Tuesday will not help.

11. (11 ) 25-15-3  Congrats to second-year defenseman Drew Doughty for making the Canadian Olympic team. The 20-year-old already is one of the best in the league.

12. (12) 22-13-7  The Bruins responded nicely to a tough test in Ottawa. Now they face an even bigger challenge with the Blackhawks heading to the Garden Thursday.

13. (13) 26-16-1  The Canucks are back to playing playoff-caliber hockey. Center Henrik Sedin is NHL First Star for December, leading all scorers with 25 points (5 goals, 20 assists) in 15 games during the month.

14. (15) 21-15-6  The Red Wings had a modest two-game winning streak snapped by a loss in Anaheim Tuesday.

15. (14) 22-18-4  Where would the Senators be if they could only learn to beat Tim Thomas, who now has an 11-game wining streak against Ottawa.

16. (16) 18-12-11  The Stars have lost two straight, scoring just a single goal in the process. Loui Eriksson had five goals in his last three games before being shut out by Martin Brodeur and the Devils Tuesday.

17. (21 ) 20-17-5  Monday’s 3-2 win over the Bruins improved the Rangers to 6-2-2 in their last 10 games. They’ll look to take a 3-0 series lead over the B’s this season in an afternoon tilt at TD Garden Saturday.

18. (17) 20-20-3  More up-and-down play for the Wild. A 4-1 loss in Chicago Tuesday was their third in a row.

19. (19) 21-21-3  Nice effort by the Canadiens to hold Alex Ovechkin without a point Tuesday, but it still didn’t prevent a 4-2 loss, the second in a row for Montreal.

20. (18) 18-18-6  Going 1-6-3 over the last 10 games will do little to squelch the Ilya Kovalchuk trade rumors.

21 . (23) 16-15-10  Goalie Mike Smith has stopped 89 of the last 93 shots he has faced, helping the Lightning go 2-0-1 and move close to the eighth playoff spot in the East.

22. ( 22) 19-19-3  With Scottie Hartnell and Daniel Carcillo up to their usual feisty tricks, the Flyers were perfect Winter Classic villains.

23. (26) 17-18-8  The Islanders have been playing better hockey as of late, going 5-4-1 in their last 10 games.

24. (25) 17-19-7  Former Leaf Bryan McCabe scored twice to give the Panthers a 2-0 lead in Toronto Tuesday, but Florida couldn’t hold the advantage and dropped a 3-2 decision, the Panthers’ fourth loss in five games.

25. (24) 17-19-7  After three tough losses, to Dallas, Nashville and Chicago, the Ducks bounced back to beat the Red Wings Tuesday.

26. (20) 17-18-6  Displaced coach Andy Murray is probably not the problem with the underachieving Blues.

27. (27) 15-19-9  Phil Kessel has just one goal in nine games, but the Leafs rallied for a 3-2 win over Florida Tuesday to end a two-game losing streak.

28. (28) 15-20-9  A 6-3 loss to Vancouver Tuesday was the fourth in a row for the Blue Jackets.

29. (29) 16-22-5  A struggling Oilers team rallied from a two-goal deficit to force overtime Tuesday before losing to the Coyotes. Dustin Penner scored his team-leading 20th goal in the loss.

30. (30) 11-23-7  The Hurricanes have won two of their last three games. Hey, that’s progress.

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