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Inside the NHL

The Times' Rankings

Helene Elliott's Nhl Rankings And Comments

March 02, 2004|HELENE ELLIOTT

*--* Rk. Team (Rec.) Comment 1 DETROIT (37-17-9-2) Legace holds the fort until Cujo (sprained ankle) returns. 2 OTTAWA (35-16-9-5) Goal differential of +76 (216 for, 140 against) is NHL's best. 3 TAMPA BAY (36-17-7-5) Only one regulation loss in last 21. Could be a playoff force. 4 VANCOUVER (35-19-7-4) Defensemen Sopel, Ohlund are chipping in offensively. 5 SAN JOSE (32-16-11-6) Marleau (27 goals) one from tying career best. Sharks look solid. 6 DALLAS (32-22-11-0) Modano blames bad home ice for sore groin. Welcome to the NHL. 7 COLORADO (33-16-11-5) Forsberg to play for Sweden's MoDo? Avalanche says it's a no go. 8 PHILADELPHIA (33-15-12-6) Roenick (concussion) improving, but Flyers won only two of last eight. 9 BOSTON (31-15-13-7) Shut out twice in last four but earned at least a point in 15 of last 16. 10 TORONTO (35-19-9-3) Sloppy 3-5 stretch ended when Belfour's bad back healed. 11 NEW JERSEY (33-20-11-1) May have to trade to replace Stevens (concussion), Rafalski (leg bruise). 12 NASHVILLE (32-23-8-2) Vokoun shines, keeps plucky Predators in West playoff picture. 13 MONTREAL (34-25-6-2) Three Rs -- Ryder, Rivet, Ribiero -- fuel Canadiens' 6-1 surge. 14 CALGARY (32-24-5-3) Scoring has become erratic, but Flames are clinging to playoff spot. 15 KINGS (25-18-15-7) Should be buyers at deadline; there may not be a next season. 16 N.Y. ISLANDERS (30-23-9-3) Defensive lapses are ugly, but they should hold playoff spot. 17 FLORIDA (23-26-14-3) Luongo earns three shutouts in four games. A future Vezina winner. 18 EDMONTON (26-27-10-2) Squandered 4-1 lead in 5-4 loss at Dallas on Sunday. Playoffs out of reach 19 ATLANTA (26-32-6-2) Kovalchuk scores two against Rangers after benching at New Jersey. 20 ST. LOUIS (29-25-8-2) Blues go 0-2-1 under Kitchen. Quenneville wasn't the problem. 21 BUFFALO (28-30-6-1) Bubble burst quickly from 10-2-1 to 0-4 and outscored, 23-4. 22 DUCKS (23-26-9-8) Sure, Fedorov and Prospal are scoring NOW. Where were they in December? 23 CAROLINA (20-27-13-4) Irbe 1-0-1 in return from exile to East Coast League. 24 COLUMBUS (19-34-8-4) OT win at Colorado on Sunday is highlight of disappointing season. 25 N.Y. RANGERS (23-30-7-5) Sather gives up coaching to rearrange deck chairs on Titanic. 26 MINNESOTA (21-25-17-2) Fernandez likely trade bait as Wild retrenches. 27 CHICAGO (18-33-9-5) Ruutu playing well, though it doesn't matter much now. 28 PHOENIX (20-26-15-4) Surprising that Francis lasted as long as he did, not that he got fired. 29 WASHINGTON (20-35-8-2) Will the last Capital left at MCI Center please turn out the lights? 30 PITTSBURGH (13-43-5-4) Two wins in 21. If this were soccer, Penguins would be relegated.

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