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Helene Elliott's NHL rankings

Don't look now but Kings move to the top. Capitals fall to fourth.

December 16, 2009

Through Monday's games (last week's ranking)

1. Kings, 21-11-3; Four wins in last five and seven of nine -- very impressive. And they've done it without Ryan Smyth or much from Anze Kopitar and Dustin Brown.(8)

2. New Jersey, 22-8-1; Goaltender Martin Brodeur has played all but one period of the Devils' last 17 games. His next shutout will break Terry Sawchuk's record of 103. (4)

3. Pittsburgh, 22-10-1; Penguins' power-play struggles (13.6%) are mystifying. But a power-play goal by Evgeni Malkin in overtime helped them beat Florida on Saturday. (3)

4. Washington, 20-7-6; Capitals need overtime to beat lowly Hurricanes and then fall in regulation to almost-as-lowly Maple Leafs. Their defense is showing some cracks. (1)

5. Buffalo, 20-9-2; Sabres are 8-3 in last 11 games. Can't say it enough: they owe just about everything to Ryan Miller (1.88 goals-against, .937 save percentage). (9)

6. Chicago, 20-8-3; Patrick Kane hit his head on the ice and suffered a cut over his eye Sunday. He's possible for the Blackhawks' next game, against the Blues on Wednesday. (22)

7. Phoenix, 19-12-2; Ice Edge Holdings signs letter of intent to buy Coyotes from the NHL and plans to keep club in the desert. Because it likes the deserted look in the stands? (7)

8. Calgary, 19-8-4; Flames haven't given up more than three goals in any of their last 12 games. They're 7-3-2 in that span because they're not scoring many either. (5)

9. San Jose, 19-8-7; Sharks' 0-2-3 streak is their longest drought under Coach Todd McLellan. Defenseman Dan Boyle, hit hard in Phoenix on Saturday, is day to day because of an unspecified injury. (6)

10. Colorado, 18-10-6; Every time the Avalanche appears ready to fade, it pulls out a big win, like Sunday over Calgary. Avalanche is 3-0 against the Flames this season.(14)

11. Boston, 16-10-6; Bruins are 8-3-1 in their last 12 games, though their offense has been inconsistent and their power play (17.4%) not much of a force. (10)

12. Vancouver, 19-14-0; Henrik Sedin leads the way as Canucks open pivotal eight-game homestand with victories over Atlanta, Minnesota and the Kings. (16)

13. Nashville, 19-11-3; Rugged right wing Jordin Tootoo suffers a broken leg when he blocks teammate Shea Weber's shot. Ouch. (11)

14. Atlanta, 17-11-3; Overtime goal against Montreal ends three-game scoreless streak for Ilya Kovalchuk (17 goals, 31 points) and three-game winless streak for Thrashers. (12)

15. Detroit, 17-11-5; Todd Bertuzzi scores in regulation and overtime twice in a row, against Ducks and Predators. Chris Osgood wins his first start in four games, against Predators. (15)

16. Dallas, 14-8-10; Stars lead the NHL in losses in overtime or shootout, with 10, including three in their last four games. A dubious honor, certainly. (13)

17. Edmonton, 15-13-4; Oilers have won five straight games, all on the road. Revitalized Dustin Penner (18 goals, 36 points) keeps rolling. (24)

18. Ottawa, 16-12-4; Alex Kovalev was scoreless in 16 games, then got three goals in beating Carolina. He got his 11th hat trick and 400th goal. (18)

19. Minnesota, 15-14-3; Wild goes 3-2 on tough trip and gets back within reach of the top eight in the West. Staying there could be tough, though. (21)

20. Montreal, 15-16-3; Canadiens killed 33 straight penalties, but the 34th became a power-play goal for Atlanta and a 4-3 loss to the Thrashers. (25)

21. Toronto, 12-14-7; Maple Leafs are suddenly 8-3 in their last 11 games. Matt Stajan has 19 points in 19 games centering for Phil Kessel. Playoffs are still a long shot but not a fantasy. (27)

22. St. Louis, 13-12-5; Blues still haven't won more than two games in a row and they're still awful at home -- 4-10-2 after blowing a 3-0 lead to Edmonton on Friday. (19)

23. Columbus, 14-13-6; Blue Jackets are in 1-6-3 skid. Derek Dorsett, three games after returning from a concussion, breaks his hand in a fight. (20)

24. Ducks, 12-13-7; Rookie Dan Sexton (four goals in five games) has been a pleasant surprise. Unfortunately, not too many of his teammates can say the same. (30)

25. Tampa Bay, 11-12-9; Only one win in last nine games. Steven Stamkos (17 goals, 30 points) continues to be mentioned as Canadian Olympic candidate, but it's a longshot. (17)

26. Florida, 13-14-7; Beating Devils and taking Penguins to overtime is highlight of 3-2-3 month for the Panthers. (28)

27. Philadelphia, 15-15-1; Flyers have lost 10 of their last 13, including four of six under new Coach Peter Laviolette. And they were supposed to be a Stanley Cup contender. (26)

28. N.Y. Rangers, 14-15-3; Below .500 at home (7-8-1) and among the NHL's lowest-scoring teams with 88 goals. If not for Henrik Lundqvist, they'd be done. They might be anyway. (22)

29. N.Y. Islanders, 12-14-7; Rick DiPietro has another setback in his endless comeback, experiencing knee stiffness in a rehab start. (23)

30. Carolina, 7-19-6; Defenseman Tim Gleason gets a goal against Capitals and 30 stitches in his face. He's in better shape than the Hurricanes are. (29)

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