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  • Power Rankings: Senators surge to the top Print
    Written by Blake Benzel   
    Monday, 16 January 2012 04:04
    Ottawa Senators

    The NHL is so close this season that just 10 points separate first in the league from 17th. Right in the mix, and the hottest team in the NHL right now, are the Ottawa Senators.
    1)      Ottawa Senators (25-15-6) – If I told you that there was a team whose starting goaltender was giving up 2.96 goals per game and had just a .907 save percentage, you might assume that they were towards the bottom of the league. In the case of the Ottawa Senators, though, you’d be dead wrong.
    2)      Nashville Predators (25-15-4) – Nashville is sending three players to the All-Star Game in Ottawa this season, and all three are a testament to how well certain facets of the Preds’ game have been going. Namely, their defense and Craig Smith.
    3)      Detroit Red Wings (28-15-1) – The big buzz around the league lately is that Detroit could be hosting the Winter Classic next season at the Big House in Ann Arbor. It’s not quite Detroit, but 100,000 fans are 100,000 fans either way.
    4)      New York Rangers (28-11-4) – With their 3-0 loss against the Ottawa Senators, the Rangers became the last team in the NHL to lose 10 games this season. All of that with no Sean Avery. Who would have guessed?
    5)      Washington Capitals (24-17-2) – For those of you wondering, yes, Alex Ovechkin did make a cameo in a Russian rap video.
    6)      New Jersey Devils (25-17-2) – It’s been reported that the New Jersey Devils’ debt is about $80 million right now. The good news is that they can just ask Ilya Kovalchuk for the money because, you know, the Devils are good for it, right?
    7)      Boston Bruins (28-12-1) – Hey, what do you know, someone’s talking about All-Star snubs instead of celebrating the players that made the roster. In his defense, though, Patrice Bergeron is one heck of a player.
    8)      St. Louis Blues (26-12-6) – David Perron is starting to get comfortable on the ice again, and that can only mean bad things for teams playing the Blues.
    9)      Vancouver Canucks (28-15-3) – Wow. According to this article, the Canucks are closing in on being the most hated thing on the planet. My, how I missed hyperbole.
    10) Chicago Blackhawks (27-13-6) – Dan Carcillo is having season-ending knee surgery which, while unfortunate, is all sorts of ironic considering his suspension for his hit on Tom Gilbert.
    11) San Jose Sharks (25-12-5) – With a team that has powerhouse players like Joe Thornton and Brent Burns on its roster, San Jose’s lone representative in the All-Star game will be Logan Couture. That says a heck of a lot about the season that Couture is having.
    12) Philadelphia Flyers (26-13-4) – Well, Claude Giroux has hit a rough patch and so have the Flyers. That should tell you all you need to know about how important the success of his line is to the team.
    13) Los Angeles Kings (22-15-9) – In terms of ridiculous accusations, questioning the desire of a coach to coach a team after he accepts the job and has been coaching there for almost a month is up there in terms of ridiculousness.
    14) Colorado Avalanche (24-20-2) – Good news for the Avs – Peter Mueller has returned from his concussion. That’s fortunate for a team that’s been surging without injured superstar Matt Duchene.
    15) Pittsburgh Penguins (23-17-4) – More good concussion news: Sidney Crosby has started skating again.
    16) Dallas Stars (24-18-1) – Bad news for the Stars: Jamie Benn had to have an appendectomy on Sunday.
    17) Florida Panthers (21-14-8) – Despite their recent struggles, panic is not a word that is in the Panthers’ vocabulary, which is a good thing, really, because the words “secondary” and “scoring” don’t seem to be either.
    18) Toronto Maple Leafs (22-17-5) – Frustration is starting to set in for the Toronto Maple Leafs’ top two scorersas the Leafs continue to struggle and they slow down. I guess that’s what happen when two players account for a third of your goals…
    19) Minnesota Wild (22-16-7) – Speaking of frustration, the floundering Wild have now lost Mikko Koivu for a month with a shoulder injury. Uh-oh.
    20) Montreal Canadiens (17-20-8) – The Habs have seemed to be Lost in Translation this season. Unfortunately, Pierre Gauthier is nowhere near as endearing as Bill Murray.
    21) Calgary Flames (21-20-5) – It looks like nostalgia came calling in Calgary again, bringing in Mike Cammalleri. Of course, when your team needs scoring, a player who scored 82 points in 81 games for you can be pretty hard to ignore.
    22) Phoenix Coyotes (20-18-7) – The rest of the league is finally starting to realize what fans of the Coyotes have known for quite a while now. Keith Yandle is pretty darn good.
    23) Anaheim Ducks (15-22-7) – It’s pretty amazing but, at 41 years old, Teemu Selanne looks even further from retiring than he did a few seasons ago. The fact that he’s playing like he’s in his mid-20s probably doesn’t hurt anything.
    24) New York Islanders (16-20-6) – Rick DiPietro is looking at season-ending surgery again. Insert joke here.
    25) Carolina Hurricanes (16-24-7) – Great news for Carolina. Jeff Skinner has returned to the lineup.
    26) Winnipeg Jets (20-19-5) – The Jets are entering a critical point in their season. Basically, it’s whether they want the playoffs or a lottery pick.
    27) Tampa Bay Lightning (17-23-4) – From Conference Finals to the basement of the East in less than a season. That’s either impressive or sad – hard to tell which.
    28) Buffalo Sabres (19-20-5) – The biggest reason why the Sabres aren’t winning? They’re not scoring. It’s a pretty easy equation to figure out.
    29) Edmonton Oilers (17-23-4) – Ryan Nugent-Hopkins was the lone Oiler invited to the All-Star game in Ottawa, and he might have to miss it with an injury. He very well might get a gift basket from Jordan Eberle if that’s the case.
            30) Columbus Blue Jackets (12-27-5) – Stop the presses. The Blue Jackets have claimed Colton Gillies off of waivers from the Minnesota Wild.      Todd Richards is starting to make an impact, so to speak.

    Photo by Getty Images

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    Last Updated on Monday, 16 January 2012 15:16