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Power Rankings (cont.)

Posted: Tuesday February 6, 2007 3:11PM; Updated: Tuesday February 6, 2007 7:08PM
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Note: All statistics are through Sunday.

NHL Power Rankings
Rank LW Team
11 9 They've been foudering a bit the past month (8-5-3), but are seeing positive signs from two players. After going 16 games without a goal, Markus Naslund has four in his last 11. Henrik Sedin had a 14-game goal-scoring drought before potting one in each of his last two. With Roberto Luongo between the pipes, the Canucks are a good candidate to pull off a first-round upset. Yes. I'm already putting them in.
Last Week: 1-1-1 Early Prediction: 6th in West
12 13 If you didn't know it by now, these kids can play. They even proved a win is possible when Sidney Crosby fails to score a point. The Pens are the NHL's most improved team and, with an 8-0-2 record in their 10 games, are in good position to make the playoffs for the first time since 2001. They have 26 more points than they did last season, when they were 12-29-10 and already out of playoff contention. Not one team wants to face these guys in the first round.
Last Week: 3-0-1 Early Prediction: 6th in East
13 12
Ottawa Senators (30-21-3)
They let goalie Martin Gerber join his former Carolina teammates as the defending Cup champions visited President Bush at the White House. Ottawa's other goalie, meanwhile, has been the biggest reason the team has won eight of its last 11. Ray Emery is 10th in GAA (2.40), 5th in save percentage (.921) and 5th in shutouts (4). Not too shabby for a guy who'll be a restricted free agent after the season.
Last Week: 1-1-1 Early Prediction: 5th in East
14 16 Tuesday's win over Carolina in Raleigh was history-making. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, it was only the fifth time in the expansion era (1967-68) that Toronto has won two road games in one season against a defending Cup champ. Also making history was Mats Sundin, who became just the second player to score at least 20 goals in each of his first 16 (or more) seasons, joining Marcel Dionne.
Last Week: 3-0-0 Early Prediction: 9th in East
15 19
Minnesota Wild (29-21-4)
It's a good thing they have a capable backup goalie. The day the Wild revealed that No. 1 Manny Fernandez (sprained knee) will miss at least three weeks, Niklas Backstrom came up big, with his second shutout of the season. The win was the Wild's eighth in 11 games (8-2-1) and seventh in eight roadies. But Marian Gaborik and Brian Rolston need help if this team is to make the playoffs.
Last Week: 2-0-0 Early Prediction: 9th in West
16 20 Has Johan Holmqvist put a strangle-hold on the No. 1 goaltending job? The 28-year-old has started eight of Tampa's last 11 games and won seven with a 2.06 GAA and .925 save percentage. In his last five, he's won four with a 1.75 GAA -- including his first shutout on Thursday. But if the Bolts are going to make the playoffs, it'll be on Vinny Lecavalier's shoulders. The center has scored a goal in three straight and nine of 11.
Last Week: 3-0-0 Early Prediction: 8th in East
17 14 They chose a bad time to hit the skids, dropping four straight and six of their last seven at home. They will return to the playoffs only if their 25th-ranked PP -- just 3-for-39 in the past seven games -- steps up. To make matters worse, the PK has allowed two goals in three of the last four. Another critical aspect is Cam Ward -- just 21-14-6 with a 2.93 GAA -- but I have a feeling he'll get hot down the stretch.
Last Week: 0-2-1 Early Prediction: 7th in East
18 22 The Isles are cooking, recording points in a season-high seven straight games (4-0-3). Saturday's win over Montreal saw a rarity. Miroslav Satan and Trent Hunter each scored two goals -- the first multi-goal game of the season for both. But the biggest reason for the surge has been the PK -- a perfect 14-for-14 over the past three games. I still say the playoffs this season is a reach. Maybe in 2007-08.
Last Week: 2-0-2 Early Prediction: 10th in East
19 15 If you can't take care of business at home, go ahead and make your tee times now, because you won't be making the playoffs. That's what the Avs face, having gone just 14-12-3 at Pepsi Center. Of course, optimistic fans would point out that the team has a stretch in which it plays 15 of 21 games on the road. This may be one occassion in which hitting the road could be a huge benefit.
Last Week: 1-2-0 Early Prediction: 10th in West
20 17 Where's the production from the first line? Jaromir Jagr, Michael Nylander and Martin Straka have been nearly invisible over the past three weeks. Maybe all the big minutes they piled up in October and November has caught up with them. Brendan Shanahan's lack of production isn't helping. After bolting out of the gate with 12 goals and 18 points in his first 13 games, the veteran winger has lit the lamp just four times in his last 22.
Last Week: 1-2-0 Early Prediction: 11th in East

Read on for teams 21-30 ...


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