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The Times' Rankings

March 09, 2004|HELENE ELLIOTT



*--* Rk. Team (Rec.) Comment 1 DETROIT (39-17-10-2) Hatcher returned Monday. Draper (shoulder), Datysuk (ankle) out. 2 TAMPA BAY (39-17-7-5) Lightning strikes in 8-0-1 streak. One regulation loss in last 25. 3 DALLAS (35-22-11-0) Impressive 7-0-1 on home stand, 8-0-1 overall. 4 PHILADELPHIA (35-17-12-6) Trader Clarke shores up defense with Malakhov. 5 OTTAWA (37-18-9-5) Bondra proving a good addition to NHL's most prolific team. 6 BOSTON (32-16-14-7) Offense slows, scores only 12 in last seven. Gonchar will help. 7 MONTREAL (37-26-6-2) Defense, goaltending outstanding in 9-2 playoff surge. 8 VANCOUVER (36-21-8-4) Embarrassed Monday by Colorado. Goaltending still questionable. 9 NEW JERSEY (35-20-11-2) Defending Cup champs might seek blue line help. 10 TORONTO (37-20-9-3) Belfour's sore back is holding up well for the moment. 11 SAN JOSE (33-18-11-6) Might look for forward now that Sturm (ankle) is out long-term. 12 NASHVILLE (33-25-8-2) Bombardir, Zholtok good pickups. Tough two weeks ahead though. 13 CALGARY (34-26-11-2) Scoring seven in beating Avalanche could be morale boost. 14 COLORADO (35-17-12-5) Did 9-2 rout of Canucks end 2-6-2-1 skid? 15 KINGS (25-19-16-7) Carter's size, physical play should help battered team. 16 ST. LOUIS (31-26-9-2) Making late playoff charge. Now is when Osgood earns his money. 17 BUFFALO (30-31-6-1) Nice try, but lost too much ground during 2-5 slide. 18 EDMONTON (28-27-11-2) Points in eight of nine. But Colorado, Vancouver, Ottawa up next. 19 N.Y. ISLANDERS (30-25-10-3) Doing all they can to give playoff spot away in 1-3-2-1 slump. 20 ATLANTA (27-32-7-3) Defense has improved, but too late for them to crack top eight. 21 FLORIDA (24-28-14-3) Luongo yanked before end in each of last two games. 22 DUCKS (25-28-9-8) Loss at Pittsburgh ended playoff hopes. Watch for moves today. 23 COLUMBUS (20-37-8-4) Beat Russian federation for right to keep Zherdev. That's something. 24 CAROLINA (22-29-13-4) Hill says he'll accept trade. Who will accept him? 25 MINNESOTA (21-26-19-2) No reason to be Wild about 0-4-3 stretch. 26 N.Y. RANGERS (24-33-7-5) Fans honor traded Leetch with chant of "Go Leafs Go." 27 PITTSBURGH (15-44-6-4) Two straight wins -- break up the Pens! Oh, that already happened. 28 WASHINGTON (21-38-8-2) Kolzig, Witt, almost sure to be dealt today. 29 PHOENIX (20-27-16-5) An 0-4-2-2 streak is no way to fill a new arena. 30 CHICAGO (18-35-9-6) Sutter-Arnason tiff a low point in a bottom-scraping season.




The team Ken Hitchcock guided to the Stanley Cup in 1999 faces the team he hopes to lead there this season. The Stars are challenging the Sharks for the Pacific Division lead and a top-three playoff seeding, but the Flyers are trying to find solid footing without Jeremy Roenick (concussion) and with less than stellar goaltending. They were involved in a batch of brawls with the Senators last Friday, earning 213 penalty minutes in the third period and raising questions -- not for the first time -- about whether Hitchcock can control his bench. The Flyers wanted to avenge Martin Havlat's hit on Flyer forward Mark Recchi a week earlier and Donald Brashear obliged, but the Flyers lost their next game and, maybe, their focus. They also might have awakened the once-passive Senators, not a smart move.

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