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The Times Rankings: Top To Bottom

April 21, 1998|Helene Elliot

No. Team (Record): Comment

1. Dallas (49-22-11): Strong 6-1 finish.

2. New Jersey (48-23-11): Defensive demons.

3. Detroit (44-23-15): Cup repeat not impossible.

4. St. Louis (45-29-8): Top offense, nifty defense.

5. Pittsburgh (40-24-18): Upbeat end silences discord.

6. Colorado (39-26-17): Vulnerable to an upset.

7. Washington (40-30-12): Late 8-2-1 surge a good omen.

8. Philadelphia (42-29-11): Flyers flat in 3-5 ending.

9. Boston (39-30-13); From worst to top 10.

10. Buffalo (36-29-17): Gold medal-Cup double for Hasek?

11. Montreal (37-32-13): Sluggish finish a concern.

12. Kings (38-33-11): Offense, goaltending look wobbly.

13. Phoenix (35-35-12): Everyone's injury-free, for once.

14. Ottawa (34-33-15): Defense rises to occasion.

15. Edmonton (35-37-10): Oilers click in 6-1 surge.

16. San Jose (34-38-10): Late 7-2-3 push wins berth.

17. Carolina (33-41-8): Almost squeezed in.

18. N.Y. Islanders (30-41-11): Enough talent for foundation.

19. Chicago (30-39-13): Raze 'em and start again.

20. N.Y. Rangers (25-39-18): Gretzky great, they're not.

21. Toronto (30-43-9): Don't blame Murphy for this.

22. Calgary (26-41-15): Still a few years away.

23. Ducks (26-43-13): What a difference a year makes.

24. Florida (24-43-15): R.I.P season, Miami Arena.

25. Vancouver (25-43-14): Town too small for Keenan and Bure.

26. Tampa Bay (17-55-10): Already at the ninth hole.

PHOENIX AT DETROIT

* When--Wednesday. * Time--4:30 p.m. PDT. TV--ESPN2.

* Story line--The Red Wings begin defense of the Stanley Cup, which no team has won two years in a row since the Pittsburgh Penguins in 1991-92. Steve Yzerman and Igor Larionov have recovered from groin injuries, but defensive winger Doug Brown (separated shoulder) is out for the playoffs and grinder Kris Draper (sprained knee) will miss the first few games of this series. Left wing Brendan Shanahan (bulging back disk) is also questionable for the opener. Phoenix won five of its last seven games, including impressive one-goal victories over St. Louis, Detroit and Dallas. The Phoenix-Winnipeg franchise hasn't won a playoff series since 1987, but if the Coyotes can maintain their season-ending momentum, they can put up a good fight.

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