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January 19, 1999|HELENE ELLIOTT | Times Staff Writer

Team (Record): Comment

1. Philadelphia (23-10-10): Leave it to Beezer.

2. Ottawa (23-14-6): No one laughs at 8-1-3 surge.

3. Toronto (25-16-3): One loss in last five.

4. Buffalo (23-12-7): Offense erratic, defense holds up.

5. Dallas (27-8-7): Modano, Lehtinen formidable duo.

6. Phoenix (23-11-6): Injury jinx hits Roenick (eye).

7. Pittsburgh (20-13-7): Czech out Jagr and Lang.

8. New Jersey (23-14-5): Outplayed by top dogs.

9. Colorado (20-19-4): Looking good during win streak.

10. Boston (20-15-7): Khristich leads iffy offense.

11. Edmonton (18-19-6): Weight's early return a big lift.

12. Detroit (22-19-3): Champs still can't get going.

13. Carolina (20-17-7): Coffey hurts more than he helps.

14. Montreal (17-20-8): Habs' 8-2-1 revival a marvel.

15. Florida (15-16-11): Bure bound to give them claws.

16. San Jose (15-18-11): Sharks have bite in 9-3-4 surge.

17. Mighty Ducks (17-18-8): Old second-line weakness.

18. St. Louis (16-15-9): Scored only six in 1-3 slump.

19. Kings (16-23-4): Robitaille carries scoring burden.

20. N.Y. Rangers (17-19-7): Harvey's a big loss.

21. Washington (16-22-4): Injured list shrinking.

22. Nashville (15-24-4): Game but too thin up front.

23. Calgary (14-26-4): Fleury is only reason to watch.

24. Vancouver (15-23-6): Did they get maximum for Bure?

25. Chicago (12-25-7): Graham may be first coach axed.

26. N.Y. Islanders (13-28-3): How to ruin a hockey team.

27. Tampa Bay (9-30-4): Raze 'em and start over.



When--Wednesday. Time--5:30 p.m.

* Story line--The NHL's highest-scoring team meets the best defensive team in a matchup of conference leaders and a possible preview of the Stanley Cup finals. The Maple Leafs have opened up offensively, taking advantage of their speed and skillful forwards, and it has paid off. But look for Coach Pat Quinn to clamp down as the playoffs approach. The Stars have put some distance between themselves and the second-place Coyotes in the Pacific Division and have a 6-0-1 streak at home. Dallas won the teams' previous meeting Dec. 23, 5-1, thanks to a hat trick by Mike Modano.


Rookies seem to have less impact in the NHL these days. Scoring totals have fallen dramatically since Teemu Selanne set rookie records with 76 goals and 132 points for Winnipeg in 1992-93.

Top rookie scorers in last six seasons:

Season, Player, TeamG-A--Pts

1997-98, Sergei Samsonov, Boston 22-25--47

1996-97, Jarome Iginla, Calgary 21-29--50

1995-96, Daniel Alfredsson, Ottawa 26-35--61

1994-95, Peter Forsberg, Quebec* 15-35--50

1993-94, Mikael Renberg, Phila. 38-44--82

1992-93, Teemu Selanne, Winnipeg 76-56--132

*Season shortened to 48 games by lockout.

This season's top-scoring rookies:

Player, Team G-A--Pts

Bill Muckalt, Vancouver 14-13--27

Chris Drury, Colorado 10-11--21

Brendan Morrison, N.J. 5-6--21

Milan Hejduk, Colorado 5-4--19

Mark Parrish, Florida 11-7--18

Tomas Kaberle, Toronto 3-14--17

Jan Hrdina, Pittsburgh 5-11--16

Mike Watt, N.Y. Islanders 5-11--16

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