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Hurricane winds

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The Hockey News

The Hockey News

The Carolina Hurricanes currently are sitting outside of a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, but if they keep playing the way they have of late, they’ll continue to rise up the standings – and the THN Power Rankings as well.

The Canes can’t be considered an elite team (such as our top-ranked Vancouver Canucks), but with seven wins in their past 10 games, they’re now within a single point of their Southeast Division rivals in Atlanta for eighth place in the East and have played three fewer games than the Thrashers.

As they did last season, the Hurricanes are attempting to make bygones for a slow start to the season. And once again, star center Eric Staal is leading the way (22 goals and 46 points in 44 games); Staal is on course to finish with 41 goals and 85 points, a total that would be his best since his career-high of 45 goals and 100 points in his sophomore season of 2005-06.

In addition, Carolina’s other key player – goalie Cam Ward – is earning his keep: he’s put up a 2.67 goals-against average and .921 save percentage in 37 games.

The Canes will continue to depend on goal production from rookie-of-the-year candidate Jeff Skinner, but they’ll also need contributions from veterans Tuomo Ruutu, Jussi Jokinen and Erik Cole to stay in the hunt for a post-season berth.

RK.

TEAM

LW

OVERALL

P10

THE SCOOP

1

1

29-10-6

7-2-1

Very clear why THN made Canucks our pick to win the Stanley Cup

2

2

29-11-5

7-3-0

Briere, Carter share Flyers’ lead in game-winning goals (five); both also are tied for second on team in power play goals (five)

3

3

28-11-6

6-2-2

Nik Kronwall now averaging more shifts per game (28.2) than Nick Lidstrom (26.8)

4

6

28-14-4

4-4-2

Pens’ power play rolling along without Crosby (5-for-19, or 26.3 percent in past five games)

5

8

27-13-5

6-3-1

Stars have allowed third-fewest number of goals in Western Conference

6

12

24-13-7

5-2-3

Patrice Bergeron headed for his best offensive season since 2006-07

7

4

26-15-5

5-5-0

Bolts still the only team that hasn’t scored a shorthanded goal this season

8

5

25-14-7

5-2-3

Almost unthinkable that Ovechkin is on pace for only three power play goals

9

16

23-13-9

7-1-2

Yandle averaging nearly two minutes per game (24:20) more than second-most utilized skater (Adrian Aucoin 22:23)

10

7

24-15-6

7-3-0

Suter a team-best plus-18; next best number is Marcel Goc’s plus-8

11

14

25-17-3

5-4-1

Halpern, Gionta, Spacek and Gill only Habs to play all 45 games so far

12

10

26-18-3

5-4-1

Gaborik has just three goals in past 19 games; no wonder he was benched for a period on Sunday

13

17

23-16-6

4-4-2

Avs have virtually identical home (12-8-3) and away (11-8-3) records

14

11

25-18-4

5-4-1

Hawks’ power play now league’s best (24.7 percent); penalty kill 27th overall (77.4 percent)

15

21

22-16-6

7-1-2

Hot Canes averaging identical goals-for (2.98) and goals-against (2.98)

16

19

24-19-1

3-7-0

Will Kings’ slump force GM Dean Lombardi to trade some youth for veteran know-how?

17

9

25-19-4

7-3-0

Ryan Getzlaf has two of Ducks’ three overtime goals

18

13

22-18-5

6-4-0

Brent Burns a horse on Wild blueline (an average of 32.4 shifts and 24:40 of ice time per game)

19

18

21-17-6

4-5-1

Inconsistent Blues host Kings, Wings, Blue Jackets this week

20

15

22-18-7

3-5-2

Thrashers still allowing a league-worst 34.3 shots per game

21

20

22-19-5

3-7-0

Something’s got to change soon for skidding Sharks

22

25

21-20-2

5-3-2

Loss of Bryan McCabe puts crimp in Panthers’ race for playoff seed

23

28

21-20-4

4-5-1

Waiving of Mike Commodore won’t solve Jackets’ many issues

24

26

20-20-5

6-2-2

Wins over super-soft Leafs, Sens give sad-sack Flames an inflated sense of worth

25

22

19-20-5

5-4-1

Sabres are fourth-worst in league at faceoffs (47.7 percent)

26

24

18-21-5

5-4-1

If Leafs trade Mikhail Grabovski or Kris Versteeg, look out for a wafflelanche at the ACC

27

27

17-23-6

2-6-2

The season is all over but the crying for hapless Sens

28

23

14-22-7

5-4-1

Isles the only NHL team this year that has yet to win a game when they’ve out-shot their opponent (0-14)

29

29

14-23-7

2-7-1

Oilers have league’s worst penalty kill (74.1 percent), second-worst power play (12.7 percent)

30

30

12-29-3

3-6-1

With Jamie Langenbrunner moved off this sunken ship, most expect Jason Arnott will be next to be traded

The Hockey News ranks the teams 1-30 each Monday based on a combination of last week’s play and a squad’s overall outlook.

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