Posted: Wednesday November 24, 2010 4:30PM ; Updated: Wednesday November 24, 2010 4:30PM
Brian Cazeneuve
Brian Cazeneuve>NHL POWER RANKINGS

Timeless Lidstrom's Wings rise

Story Highlights

Alexander Ovechkin's protracted slump is costing the Capitals

The hot Coyotes are pulling together like they did last season

The Canucks must find the spine to stand up to the Blackhawks

NOTE: All stats and games are through Monday, Nov. 22

NHL Power Rankings
1Detroit Red Wings
Last Week: 3
Though they scored four times in a 3:14 span during a 7-3 win against the Blues, ageless defenseman Nick Lidstrom saw his streak of points in 11 straight games come to an end. He started fresh later in the week by scoring the overtime winner against Calgary in a game Henrik Zetterberg had tied with 3.2 seconds to play in regulation. Last week: 2-0-1
 
2Philadelphia Flyers
Last Week: 2
The week's big win was topping the Caps, 5-4. Playing his first game in a month, goalie Brian Boucher stopped Nick Backstrom, Alex Ovechkin and Alex Semin in the shootout. Said forward Danny Briere: "It's one thing to beat the lower-seeded teams, but we have to start showing that we belong among the best." That was a start. Last week: 2-2-0
 
3Washington Capitals
Last Week: 1
Alex Ovechkin's slump is taking its toll. After 5-0 blankings in Atlanta and New Jersey, the sniper had scored two measly goals in his last 11 games. Coach Bruce Boudreau called the loss to the Thrashers "as bad of a defeat I think I have had since I've been here." Last week: 1-2-1
 
4Montreal Canadiens
Last Week: 5
Carey Price won 13 games in 2009-10 and had four shutouts in his last three campaigns. After his 2-0 whitewash of the Leafs, he had 12 wins and four shutouts this season alone. On the down side, Habs' coach Jacques Martin fumed at his top line of Tomas Plekanec, Mike Cammalleri and Brian Gionta (combined minus-8 in a 3-0 loss to Nashville), decryihg "a lack of intensity to win our battles." Last week: 2-2-0
 
5Phoenix Coyotes
Last Week: 11
They've been outshot in 15 of their last 20 games, but Ilya Bryzgalov plus some resilience added up to a six-game win streak. Tyler Pyatt, who scored twice in a win over Vancouver, noted that all Yotes are getting in on the act: "It's different guys stepping up different nights, scoring big goals. That's what we saw a lot of from us last year." Last week: 3-0-0
 
6Columbus Blue Jackets
Last Week: 12
During an impressive three-game sweep of California teams, they handed the Kings their first home loss and snapped the Ducks' five-game win streak. Rick Nash ignited with a hat trick in a 3-0 shutout of the Sharks. "Early on they weren't going in for me," he said, "but I knew they'd come sooner or later." Last week: 4-0-0
 
7St. Louis Blues
Last Week: 8
Jaroslav Halak may be emerging from a 0-4-1 slump in which he leaked 22 goals. "He's going to shoulder the burden and the bulk of the work in our net," said coach Davis Payne. "Any player goes through it. You've got to make sure you regroup." Halak did, with 35 saves in a 3-2 win over New Jersey that left the Blues 6-0 vs. the East this season. Last week: 2-1-0
 
8Colorado Avalanche
Last Week: 15
Is the swagger of yore back? Despite being outshot, 30-11, over two periods, the Avs stayed calm and beat San Jose, 4-3, on Kevin Porter's OT goal. "We knew we were going to win once we got into overtime," said Porter, who later had a shootout winner against Dallas after his squad blew a 3-0 lead. Last week: 3-0-0
 
9Tampa Bay Lightning
Last Week: 18
The roller coaster took them on a bounce-back that included a wild 8-7 win over the Flyers in which Steven Stamkos had a hat trick and Martin St. Louis added five assists. "I've never been part of anything like this even going back to minor hockey," said Stamkos, who leads the NHL with 20 goals. "It was like we were back in the '80s. The goals were coming left, right and center. It was a flashback." Last week: 4-0-0
 
10Pittsburgh Penguins
Last Week: 14
Even by Sidney Crosby's lofty standards, his has been an especially fast start. With nine goals in nine games, he has reached 14 tallies at his quickest pace ever. He's also tied for the NHL points lead(35) and seeing more even-strength ice time with Evgeni Malkin than usual. And thanks in part to Sid, the Pens got their first regulation win over the Canucks in 10 years. Last week: 3-0-0
 
11Boston Bruins
Last Week: 9
Boston Bruins (11-6-2)
The motor still hasn't quite turned over yet. It took playoff starter Tuukka Rask six starts before he got his first win: a 4-0 shutout of Florida. And the B's came back flat in a 3-1 loss at Tampa, outshot 31-15 over two periods. "To win a hockey game you need to play 60 minutes," observed captain Zdeno Chara. "It's too late when you turn on the engines in the last 20." Last week: 2-1-1
 
12Los Angeles Kings
Last Week: 4
After a brilliant start, including eight straight wins at home, they've coughed up four of five. Their 4-2 loss to the Sabres at the start of a four-game trip dropped them to 1-10-0-1 in Buffalo since 1993. It took a dramatic 4-3 shootout win in Boston, with Michal Handzus scoring in the sixth round, to avoid a completely lost week. Last week: 1-3-0
 
13Chicago Blackhawks
Last Week: 19
A 5-0 win avenged two losses to the lowly Oilers earlier in the season. Then the Hawks opened a six-game trip with a lousy 7-2 loss in Calgary. But there's no tonic quite like the Canucks. Continued mastery of them was "exactly what we were hoping for," coach Joel Quenneville said after his boys' six-goal win, noting they had been "embarrassed and disappointed" by the loss to the Flames. Last week: 2-1-0
 
14Minnesota Wild
Last Week: 17
Two suspenseful one-goal wins against Anaheim and Detroit preceded a stultifying 5-2 home loss to the Rangers. "We're staying in games, but we can't be too fooled by ourselves, either," warned coach Todd Richards. "We're finding ways to win, you've got to give the guys credit for that. We have to be more consistent in our play." Last week: 2-1-0
 
15San Jose Sharks
Last Week: 7
They looked like their old playoff selves while spitting up two-goal leads in shootout losses in Colorado and Dallas. "We've got a mature enough group, a strong enough group, that we should have a little more composure down the stretch," coach Todd McLellan moaned. The end of the week was no prettier: a 3-0 clunker against Columbus. Last week: 0-1-2
 
16Vancouver Canucks
Last Week: 6
During a 7-1 home loss to Chicago, coach Alain Vigneault yanked goalie Roberto Luongo for letting in four goals on 20 shots in 35 minutes. "We embarrassed ourselves in front of our fans," Vigneault sighed. If the Canucks can't find more spine against the team that beat them physically and psychologically last spring, the rest of the regular season will be just a prelude to another disappointment. Last week: 0-3-0
 
17New York Rangers
Last Week: 10
They're still working through their flaws, but at least they've been bouncing back from ugly losses. A day after a 5-1 drubbing in Denver, the Blueshirts smothered the Wild 5-2 in a road win that wasn't really that close. "You'd like to think we're developing a little bit of mental toughness in trying to grind through and stop the bleeding after a game like last night," said coach John Tortorella. Last week: 2-2-0
 
18Dallas Stars
Last Week: 16
Dallas Stars (10-8-1)
Mike Ribeiro, who averaged 21 goals during his last four years in Dallas, had none until a slump-buster in which he scored the knotter with 2:06 left in regulation and potted the winner at 2:52 of OT to beat the Sharks. Said the veteran forward: "It was a relief to get that monkey off my back." He'll have to keep that particular primate at bay if the Stars are to make a playoff run. Last week: 2-1-1
 
19Nashville Predators
Last Week: 20
A loss to the red hot Jackets and a brutal 5-4 defeat in Toronto demanded a gut check and the Predators responded with a disciplined 3-0 win in Montreal, with Marcel Goc scoring twice and Pekka Rinne making 30 saves. "This was very much a character game for us," said forward Steve Sullivan, "and we came through it with flying colors." Let's see if the confidence carries over. Last week: 2-2-0
 
20Ottawa Senators
Last Week: 21
Ottawa Senators (10-10-1)
Milestones -- Chris Neil and Jarkko Ruutu (600 career games, Milan Michalek (400), Alexei Kovalev (the third Russian, after Sergei Fedorov and Alexander Mogilny, to score 1,000 points)-- provided chances for this middling, emotionally battered team to celebrate a little. Last week: 1-2-0
 
21Anaheim Ducks
Last Week: 13
Anaheim Ducks (10-10-3)
After six straight wins, the Ducks laid six straight eggs and had trouble scoring. A sign of the times: they hammered 50 shots at the Wild, their highest one-game total in 11 years, but lost 4-3. "We're not doing a good enough job getting pucks there or getting people there [in the slot]," said forward Ryan Getzlaf. "The effort's there, but we've got to bear down." Last week: 0-3-1
 
22Toronto Maple Leafs
Last Week: 27
It looked bleak when coach Ron Wilson called timeout with his team down 3-0 to the Preds in the first period. "I tried to leave the building," he joked. "But contrary to the fire code, I think they chained the doors. I couldn't leave." Look what he would have missed: the Leafs came back to win 5-4 with four power play goals. Last week: 3-1-0
 
23Carolina Hurricanes
Last Week: 23
It's been feast or famine as their last seven games have included wins of 7-2, 7-1 and 7-1, and losses of 7-4, 8-1 and 7-2. Maybe the 'Canes just need a little inspiration from GM Jim Rutherford, who said his players "were embarrassed" by their recent poor play. That night, they thumped Ottawa 7-1, getting three goals and two assists from Eric Staal. Last week: 1-0-2
 
24Atlanta Thrashers
Last Week: 24
Speaking of feast or famine, this bunch can be as bad as it was in a 2-1 loss against Florida that led coach Craig Ramsay to say his team "quit for the first time" this season. Or it can wax the Caps for the second time, getting 29 saves from Ondrej Pavelec in a 5-0 win. Last week: 2-2-0
 
25Florida Panthers
Last Week: 22
They're a mess with the man advantage and haven't scored in 25 straight chances. "The power play cost us the game again," defenseman Bryan McCabe groused after a loss to the Pens. "It's got to win us a game at some point." Last week: 2-2-0
 
26Buffalo Sabres
Last Week: 21
Three quality foes provided a good, revealing test. The Sabres bagged a terrific win against the Kings, getting 34 saves from Ryan Miller, and suffered to two closes against the Caps and Bolts. "We feel like we're close to breaking out," said forward Thomas Vanek, "but something is still missing." Last week: 1-2-0
 
27Calgary Flames
Last Week: 26
Lost in their annual run to mediocrity: the superb recent play of captain Jarome Iginla. The subject of trade talk had a hat trick in a win against Chicago, three points in an OT loss to Detroit, and his 450th career goal in a 2-1 loss to the Rangers. "His whole game has been better," said coach Brent Sutter. "He's getting opportunities that he wasn't getting through the first 15 or so games. He's getting them now because his pace is better." Last week: 1-2-1
 
28New Jersey Devils
Last Week: 28
Hell froze over after a road trip that included three goals in three games, uninspired defeats in Toronto and St. Louis, and the loss of Martin Brodeur to a flare-up of the elbow injury that shelved him for much of last season. But with Johan Hedberg in net and the Devs outshot 30-13, they actually blanked the Caps, 5-0. Last week: 1-2-0
 
29Edmonton Oilers
Last Week: 29
A 5-0 loss to Chicago mercifully ended a five-game trip in which the young Oilers were outscored, 30-8. "There is a contagious look to our turnover game," said coach Tom Renney, before deftly mixing metaphors. "When you think you've got the leak plugged here, it springs somewhere else." Cough, glub, glug. Last week: 1-1-1
 
30New York Islanders
Last Week: 30
Falling to Atlanta 2-1 in OT, they tied their franchise mark of 13 straight games without a win that dates back to their abominable 1972-73 inaugural campaign. They've also scored 12 goals in 11 games worth of abject futility. "I thought we had a couple of passengers," new coach Jack Capuano solemnly noted after a 4-1 stinker against Florida. "As we move forward, guys need to be held accountable." Criminal charges pending. Last week: 0-2-1

 
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