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Helene Elliott's NHL rankings

Sidney Crosby, Penguins take over the top spot, followed by the Devils. Kings drop to fourth.

December 22, 2009|Helene Elliott

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

1. Pittsburgh, 25-10-1; Penguins are 6-0 in shootouts, with Marc-Andre Fleury stopping 12 of 13 shooters. That, and a hot Sidney Crosby (22 goals, 43 points) too. (3)

2. New Jersey, 25-8-1; Devils have won 11 of 13. Martin Brodeur was pulled one game after he broke Patrick Roy's games-played record, but Devils still won. (2)

3. Chicago, 23-8-3; Blackhawks blank Red Wings to win fourth straight and eighth of 11. Even Brian Campbell, a bust last season, isn't looking so bad. (6)

4. Kings, 22-12-3; Earned a break after going 7-2-1 on 10-game, 17-day haul. Ryan Smyth (ribs) should be ready to return. That sound you hear is Anze Kopitar cheering. (1)

5. Washington, 22-8-6; Capitals hit 50 points soonest in franchise history. Alexander Ovechkin helps with three-point third period in a rally at Edmonton. (4)

6. Buffalo, 21-10-3; Sabres' power play is merely one for 26 in its last five games. For a low-scoring team, that's too many wasted opportunities. (5)

7. San Jose, 20-8-7; Patrick Marleau-Joe Thornton-Dany Heatley line split. Devin Setoguchi is on the right and Heatley is with Joe Pavelski and Ryane Clowe. (9)

8. Nashville, 22-11-3; Predators scored 23 goals in winning four straight, including an Alberta sweep. They've also won six of their last seven. (13)

9. Phoenix, 21-13-2; Dave Tippett deserves consideration for coach of the year for keeping the Coyotes in thick of the West race. They're 6-2-1 in December. (7)

10. Calgary, 20-11-4; Flames' offense stalls in 1-3-1 slump. Jarome Iginla broke 0-for-eight streak with two against Nashville but in a loss. (8)

11. Colorado, 20-11-6; Avalanche continue to draw small crowds despite sustaining its early season success and playing well at home (10-4-2). (10)

12. Detroit, 18-13-5; Latest addition to injury list is Henrik Zetterberg with a separated shoulder, which hurts at both ends of the ice. They've been shut out four times in last 14 games. (15)

13. Vancouver, 20-16-0; Inconsistency, thy name is Canucks. They beat Washington, then lose to St. Louis. Go figure. (12)

14. Dallas, 15-9-11; Stars have gone to overtime or a shootout in five of their last seven but got a big win over the Red Wings Saturday in regulation. (16)

15. Atlanta, 18-13-3; Thrashers are keeping it close: Each of their last five games was decided by one goal. They're 3-2-0 in that span. (14)

16. Ottawa, 18-13-4; Losing Jason Spezza for six to eight weeks because of a torn knee ligament is damaging. He wasn't playing his best but he's a proven scorer. (18)

17. Minnesota, 17-15-3; Please, no fire-sale jokes for the Wild, which lost most of its equipment in a fire last week in Ottawa. (19)

18. Boston, 16-11-7; Bruins' defense has been battered by injuries but that alone doesn't explain their 0-2-2 slump. (11)

19. Florida, 15-15-7; David Booth is still out of the Panthers' lineup eight weeks after Mike Richards' hit gave him a concussion, but Booth is skating again. (26)

20. Ducks, 14-14-7; They're playing pretty well, but they might have dug themselves too big a hole to overcome in ultra-competitive West. (24)

21. Edmonton, 15-16-4; Oilers have lost three in a row after winning five in a row. That's not going to get them far. (17)

22. Toronto, 13-16-7; Goalie Jonas Gustavsson shuts out Bruins in his return from his second minor heart procedure this season. (21)

23. St. Louis, 15-14-5; Sure, the Blues can beat the Canucks twice now. Where were those wins in their playoff series last spring? (22)

24. Montreal, 16-18-3; Canadiens welcome early return of defenseman Andrei Markov, who missed 35 games after a skate sliced a tendon in his foot. (20)

25. N.Y. Rangers, 16-16-3; Coach John Tortorella's X-rated tirade -- and some key benching -- inspires underachieving team to win two in a row. (28)

26. N.Y. Islanders, 13-16-7; Their offense is vanishing, and so are they. They've lost seven of their last 10 and have scored only five goals in their last four games. (29)

27. Columbus, 14-15-7; Blue Jackets are a major disappointment, winning only one of last 10. (23)

28. Philadelphia, 15-17-2; The good news: Simon Gagne has returned from hernia surgery. The bad news: Flyers have only one win in their last six games. (27)

29. Tampa Bay, 12-14-9; Lightning's six goals against Blues were more than they'd scored in their previous four games. (25)

30. Carolina, 9-20-6; Eric Staal's 14 points in 12 games back from an abdominal injury are lifting the Hurricanes from atrocious to just awful. (30)

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