Hey, all you Joe Thornton bashers, look at it this way: The longer the Sharks stay at the top of our Power Rankings, the bigger their chance for another playoff letdown. But for now, they are at top of their game and once again the top of the rankings.
1. (1) 33-10-8 Even with a 2-1 shootout setback to the Bruins, in which they outshot Boston by a 41-31 margin, the Sharks went 3-0-1 on the week and continue to circle atop the NHL waters.
2. (3) 34-12-4 Tuesday’s uninspired 4-1 loss to the Senators, who were playing the second of back-to-back games, eliminated the Blackhawks from consideration for the top spot.
3. (5) 31-12-6 The Capitals rallied to beat Detroit Tuesday and have won four straight.
4. (2) 32-14-1 There’s some trouble brewing in the swaps of Jersey, as the Devils have lost three in a row.
5. (4) 30-12-6 After an impressive 7-2 win vs. Phoenix Monday, the Sabres gave up four goals in the first period of a 5-4 loss in Anaheim Tuesday. That’s a strange bit of inconsistency for highly consistent and efficient team.
6. (7) 28-15-6 The remarkable success of the Avalanche this season could best tested while they attempt to overcome the loss of Milan Hejduk (knee surgery) over the next 3-4 weeks.
7. (8) 29-17-3 A minor concern in the Music City: The Nashville power play has not scored in three straight games (0-6). Still, the Preds have won 3-of-4.
8. (11) 28-18-2 A lopsided 6-2 win over the Penguins Saturday could get the Canucks back on track. The victory ended a three-game losing steak.
9 . (10) 31-19-1 Hmm, rest of the league please take note: Sidney Crosby had SIX points (2 goals, 4 assists) and Evgeni Malkin had a hat trick in the Penguins’ 6-4 win Tuesday over the previously very hot Islanders. A frozen giant may be waking up.
10. (9) 28-17-5 Ouch, the Coyotes suffered a 7-2 home loss to Buffalo Monday. That’s the most goals the Yotes have allowed this season, but they’re still holding on to second place in the Pacific.
11. (6) 26-18-6 Here’s a bad week: The Flames lost their fifth straight game by a horrific 9-1 score at San Jose on Monday. Having a power play that has scored just one goal in the last nine games won’t help change things.
12. (12 ) 27-19-3 The Kings rallied for a nice win over the Bruins Saturday, but they seem prone to remain in a battle with the Red Wings for the eighth playoff spot in the West. Who do you think will win that horse race?
13. (15) 26-21-4 That 5-1 drubbing over the listless Bruins Monday was no fluke. The Senators have won five straight, including an impressive 4-1 win over Chicago Tuesday in the second of back-t0-back games.
14. (15) 24-17-8 The Red Wings are getting back to playing their brand of hockey, but they still have lost three straight games, all by a single goal.
15. (14) 23-17-8 Those Bruins fans booing Tim Thomas Monday were no doubt sleeping when he made 41 saves Thursday and stopped all four San Jose attempts in the shootout, helping the B’s win their only game during the three-game California road trip. Here’s a thought: Maybe Thomas should have been given the day off Monday after ending the demanding trip with back-to-back shootouts.
16. (13 ) 24-19-7 The Rangers have won two straight, outscoring the opposition 14-4. No doubt this occurrence also is part of the Rex Ryan effect.
17. (21) 24-21-3 You asked, and we responded, Flyers fans. Your team is moving up, now just one point out of the playoffs, with two games in hand on the eighth-place Islanders.
18. (19) 22-20-8 By wining four straight, the Islanders got back into a playoff spot — before a tough 6-4 loss at Pittsburgh Tuesday.
19. (17) 24-23-2 After wining four in row, the Wild have dropped three straight. Leading scorer Mikko Koivu was a minus-4 in a 6-4 loss to the Coyotes Saturday.
20. (17) 21-17-11 If we simply left the largely invisible Stars out of the rankings, would anyone notice? Just asking.
21. (22) 23-20-7 After holding on for a 5-4 victory over Buffalo Tuesday, the Ducks have won eight straight at home and still are in the playoff picture.
22. (26) 21-20-8 The Panthers quietly get it done. They are 3-0-1 in their last four and in the mix for the final playoff spot in the East.
23. (20) 23-23-4 The symmetry of the Canadiens’ mediocrity is a beautiful thing. Aside from a perfectly balanced overall record, Les Habs are 11-11-3 at home and 12-12-1 on the road.
24. (23) 22-20-7 Two more goals for Ilya Kovalchuk in a 4-3 win over Toronto Tuesday. The Thrashers continue on their win-one, lose-one march toward having to deal their franchise star.
25. (25) 21-20-7 The Blues saw their four-game winning streak end with a 4-2 setback at Columbus Tuesday. Ex-Bruin Brad Boyes continues to lead the team in scoring, with nine goals and 23 assists. Yeah, that is weird.
26 . (25) 19-20-10 After a ugly 8-2 loss to the Rangers in New York Tuesday, the Lightning had a lengthy postgame team meeting. Of course, it also would have taken them quite a while simply to look at video of the goals they allowed.
27. (27) 19-24-9 The Blue Jackets arrive at TD Garden Thursday in last place in the Central Division and having lost three of their last four. Do we need to spell out the state of the Bruins if they struggle against Columbus?
28. (28) 17-25-9 After suffering a 4-2 setback in Atlanta Tuesday, the Maple Leafs have won only two of their last 12 road games. But on the bright side, one of those wins occurred Monday night in Nashville.
29. (29) 14-27-7 The Hurricanes responded to having been elevated from the bottom of our rankings by losing three straight. But we still believe in you, Carolina.
30. (30) 16-27-5 The Oilers are 1-8-1 in their last 10 games, which includes eight straight losses. Like we said: We believe in you, Carolina.