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Power Rankings 11-24-09 11.24.09 at 9:13 pm ET
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Closing in on the end of November, some NHL teams have plenty to be thankful for, others need to shake off the Tryptophan and still others — you got it — are just plain turkeys. Pile on the cranberry sauce and feast on this week’s WEEI Power Rankings:

San Jose Sharks1. (2) 16-5-4  The Sharks have the best road record in the league and have not lost in regulation (7-0-2) at home. They play six of their next eight games at the Shark Tank. Get the picture?

Chicago Blackhawks2. (4) 15-5-2  The Blackhawks have the NHL’s best record over the last ten games, 8-1-1. Set the DVR, Grandma, the Hawks are in San Jose Wednesday.

New Jersey Devils 3. (1) 14-6-1  The Devils currently sit sixth in the league in points, but they have played three less games than three of the five teams with more points. Four less games than the Sharks. Win those contests and New Jersey would actually vault past San Jose. That’s a very good hockey team.

Calgary Flames4. (7) 13-6-3  Jarome Iginla has 12 goals in his last 10 games, helping to fuel the Flames to a 7-1-3 record on the road.

Pittsburgh Penguins5. (10) 16-8-0 Starting to round into form — Sidney Crosby nets OT game winner in comeback win in Florida.

Washington Capitals6. (3) 13-5-6 The Caps are thankful to be leaving Canada after three straight losses to Montreal, Toronto and Ottawa.

Dallas Stars 7. (17) 11-6-6 The Stars have quietly made their way into the Top 10 with wins in three of their last four games and 28 points in 21 games for Brad Richards. That’ll work.

Ottawa Senators8. (21) 12-6-3 Four wins in a row for the Sens. Should make for an interesting “Saturday Night’s All Right For Fighting” matchup with the B’s this weekend.

Nashville Predators9. (20) 13-8-1 Please don’t tell me you saw the Preds taking off on a 8-2 run in their last ten.

Columbus Blue Jackets 10. (12) 12-7-3 The Blue Jackets are making a great case that the second-best team in the Central Division might be from Ohio, not Michigan or Illinois.

Colorado Avalanche11. (5) 14-7-3 Hanging in there, but slowly falling. They are more like a glacier than an Avalanche.

Los Angeles Kings 12. (8 ) 13-9-2 No sophomore slump for skilled D-man Drew Doughty, who has 20 points in 24 games, fourth-best among defenseman. Leading scorer Anze Kopitar has just three assists and no goals in last five games.

Phoenix Coyotes13. (18) 13-10-1 The Coyotes only move this season is toward greater heights in the standings.

Philadelphia Flyers14. (12)  12-8-1 A tough loss for the Flyers in San Jose makes sense. Follow-up setbacks in Phoenix and Colorado, not so much.

Detriot Red Wings15. (10) 11-7-4 The Red Wings already had defensive problems, and losing Niklas Kronwall to a cheap hit will not help.

Boston Bruins 16. (22) 11-8-4 The Bruins are glad to be getting key players back into lineup — and glad that Patrice Bergeron never left it.

Minnesota Wild17. (6). 12-6-2  The Sabres are starting to meander through a 4-5-1 stretch in last ten, with three straight losses.

Tampa Bay Lightning 18. (13) 9-5-7 Steven Stamkos is bringing it for the Bolts with 24 points in 21 games. Ryan Malone adding 22 points in 21 games is more of a surprise.

Atlanta Thrashers19. (15) 10-7-3 Thrashers play entertaining hockey, with power play and penalty killing units within the Top 10. But that needs to translate into wins.

Vancouver Canucks20. (19) 12-11-0 A mediocre 5-5 stretch for the Canucks is not where this team expected to be.  Last Sunday’s return of  leading goal scorer Daniel Sedin after a five-week absence should help.

New York Islanders21. (14) 9-8-7 Still playing tough, but counting on Dwayne Roloson to make 58 saves to beat the Leafs is not a great plan. Tests against Flyers, Pens and Devils this week will tell us something.
Florida Panthers22. (24) 10-9-3 The Panthers squandered a two-goal lead in a 3-2 OT loss to Pens Monday, but are still 6-2-2 in last 10. They will be making some noise.

New York Rangers 23. (16) 12-10-1 The plummet continues. Rangers are 4-6 in last 10, now hitting the road for three.

Anaheim Ducks24. (26) 8-11-3 The Ducks are starting to turn a corner — only a home loss to Sharks marred a decent week. Corey Perry run his league-best point streak to 15 games.

Montreal Canadiens25. (23) 11-11-1  Yep. Even keel, .500  hockey sure sounds like a nice time in Montreal.

Minnesota Wild 26. (25) 8-12-2  After slow start, the Wild has gone 5-3-2 in last ten. Interesting test against B’s.

St. Louis Blues27. (29) 8-9-4 An uptempo opening period against Boston Monday showed what the Blues can do. So did a mediocre final two periods.

Edmonton Oilers28. (27) 10-11-3 Not a lot of life here, but the Oilers have won two of three and host the suddenly teetering Kings Wednesday.

Toronto Maple Leafs29. (29) 4-11-7 The play of Phil Kessel (six goals, three assists, in nine games)  still stands as the most entertaining part of the Leafs.

Carolina Hurricanes30. (30) 5-13-5  Canes pick up a pair of wins, could be ready to make a move. 

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NHL Power Rankings 10.21.09 at 8:18 am ET
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There are a ton of cool success stories in the NHL this season, even if that hasn’t been the case in Boston thus far. The Avalanche, Oilers and Senators all have sneaked into the top 10 without marquee names or much fanfare, as the wins keep piling up for each of these surprise franchises.

Penguins coach Dan Bylsma and forward Sidney Crosby are sitting pretty at No. 1 in the rankings.

Penguins coach Dan Bylsma and forward Sidney Crosby are sitting pretty at No. 1 in the rankings. (AP)

Meanwhile, the No. 1 spot continues to reside with Pittsburgh, where the talk is about how boring the season’s first few weeks have been for an awesome hockey power that hasn’t been challenged by anything or anyone in the early going. Barring injury, there might not be a week this season when the Penguins aren’t waddling their way through the very top of the power rankings.

For big movers and shakers, we’re buying into the Thrashers, at least as quasi-real. Atlanta has moved up 11 spots from No. 26 to No. 15. The Flyers, on the other hand, have dropped seven spots from No. 6 to No. 13 after a three-game winless streak. Meanwhile, the Bruins sit at No. 19 behind many teams that have nowhere near the talent that sits on the Boston roster.

At least the Maple Leafs continue to stink.

As New England Sports Museum curator Dick Johnson wrote in my favorite Facebook quote of the week:

“The Maple Leaf situation reminds me of an old joke. … Dark brown is beef stock … light brown is chicken stock … and royal blue is laughing stock.”

Well played, Dick, well played.

Here are the WEEI.com NHL power rankings:

Pittsburgh Penguins1. 7-1-0 (1 last week). No hangover for these Penguins after last year’s Stanley Cup championship. That seems to have only made a hungry bunch more determined and confident than ever. Pittsburgh is undefeated on the road and has taken down just about everyone in their path. The only question is how on earth defenseman Sergei Gonchar is a minus-2 on this dynastic club.

Chicago Blackhawks2. 5-2-1 (4) The Blackhawks have one incredibly weak link in Cristobal Huet but have been rolling otherwise. The Hawks are — in many ways — the Western Conference mirror image of the Bruins, but have done a much better job handling raised expectations and adversity in the early season. Who could have guessed that UVM’s Patrick Sharp would be their leading scorer with 10 points (5 goals, 5 assists) through eight games?

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NHL Power Rankings: Bruins can’t crack Top 10 10.14.09 at 10:56 am ET
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Interesting couple of weeks to start the NHL season, and now seems like a perfect time to drop WEEI.com’s NHL power rankings onto an unsuspecting public. In the Eastern side of things, meet the new boss, same as the old boss. Until somebody comes up and knows them off their pedestal, the Penguins are the rulers of everything they see in the hockey landscape.

Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin have picked up where they left off in the second half of last season, and it’s really not even a close race. Teams such as the Flames, Rangers and Blackhawks are off to fairly decent starts, but they can’t hang with the Penguins once they turn up the dial. Likewise, there’s not a team even remotely close to the Maple Leafs in the NHL dumpster. The Leafs are getting blown out nearly every night, and Vesa Toskala has been an abomination between the pipes. The pressure ought to be nice and reasonable for a hungry Toronto fan base once Phil Kessel is healthy enough to play in late November, shouldn’t it?

Here are the WEEI.com hockey power rankings:

Pittsburgh Penguins1. 5-1-0 The Penguins already have big wins over solid teams after beating the Rangers and Flyers last week, and they have most of last year’s Stanley Cup-winning cast back. Let’s face it. The top spot should be theirs most of the year provided Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Co. remain healthy and motivated. Everybody else in the Eastern Conference has miles to go before they’re a match for Crosby’s Penguins.

Calgary Flames2. 4-1-1 The Flames might have topped this list had they not blown a 5-0 lead against the Blackhawks on Monday night. That stunning collapse brought attention to the simple fact that the Flames haven’t played much of the NHL’s iron. But the Flames are still tied for the most goals (24) without a ton of offensive production from Jarome Iginla or Olli Jokinen.

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