Sharks smell blood

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The Hockey News

The Hockey News

Despite losing (twice) for the first time last week, the Washington Capitals remain No. 1 in THN's Power Rankings, but the San Jose Sharks are closing in fast.

The Sharks stumbled out of the gate with three losses in their first four regular season games. However, since then, they've won five in a row, including tough road wins over Boston and Detroit. They're getting solid goaltending from Antti Niemi (2.19 goals-against average, .917 save percentage), a boatload of offense from Joe Pavelski (a team-best seven goals and 11 points), and all-around admirable two-way play (seven players are a plus-4 or better). After finishing up their six-game road trip against the Rangers on Halloween night, San Jose has a much less frightening six consecutive home games. That said, four of those come against playoff teams from last season (Pittsburgh, Nashville, L.A. and Detroit), so they'll still have to be at their best.

Be sure to check back each Monday for the latest rankings.

RK.

TEAM

LW

OVERALL

THE SCOOP

1

1

7-2-0

First two losses of the season don't mean Caps aren't as dangerous as anyone

2

3

8-3-2

Numerous injuries don't seem to matter to sea-deep Penguins

3

13

6-3-0

White-hot Sharks have only allowed more than three goals once this season (a 4-2 loss to Blues)

4

4

6-3-2

Six of next seven games are at home for Kings

5

5

6-4-0

Derek Roy on pace for eight-goal, 32-point season

6

6

5-5-1

Manny Malhotra, Kevin Bieksa both minus-7; Keith Ballard a minus-9

7

7

6-4-1

Loss of Chris Pronger will test Flyers' defensive depth in a major way

8

9

8-3-0

Big rest for Stars this week - four days off before Colorado Friday, then Carolina Sunday to kick off difficult four-game road trip (Caps, Pens, Wings)

9

11

7-3-1

Resilient Leafs can build on surprising record with road games against Devils, Jackets home tilt against Bruins

10

10

6-2-2

Remember when some people thought the Hawks should've traded Patrick Sharp (who has a team-best eight points) a couple years ago? Hahaha

11

8

7-4-0

Semyon Varlamov, J-S Giguere have identical save percentages (.924)

12

2

5-4-0

Six straight home games just what doctor ordered for freefalling Wings, who are 3-1 at Joe Louis Arena

13

24

7-2-2

Nikolai Khabibulin looking like he did in his vintage Lightning days for surprising Oilers

14

14

5-4-2

Steve Downie a team-worst minus-6

15

20

5-4-1

None of Preds' top seven point-producers have a game-winning goal

16

21

6-4-0

Cats look good in spurts, but have yet to demonstrate game-to-game consistency

17

29

7-5-0

Have to give coach Paul MacLean, young Sens credit for six straight wins; three big division games this week (first Boston, then home-and-home against Montreal)

18

22

5-3-2

39-year-old Ray Whitney leading offensive attack for so-so Yotes

19

12

5-5-1

Win over Wild only Ducks' second in seven games since Oct. 17

20

15

4-4-1

Wait, you're telling me the Devils have trouble producing offense? Shocking

21

26

4-5-2

If only the Canadiens could play the skidding Bruins every night

22

16

5-6-0

Road trip began well with win over Canucks, but went pear-shaped with losses to Flames, Oilers

23

18

3-4-2

After winning three of their first four games, Isles have dropped their past five

24

25

4-3-3

Opening night 4-2 win over Blue Jackets the only time Wild have scored more than three goals

25

19

4-4-3

Canes are 1-4-3 when allowing three or more goals

26

17

3-7-0

If Bruins can't turn their slump around against Sens, Leafs this week, GM Peter Chiarelli will have to make roster adjustments quickly to salvage season

27

28

4-4-1

Two home wins don't cover up problems generating offense

28

23

3-3-3

Coach John Tortorella isn't taking reporters' questions, but doesn't have answers for Rangers' on-ice woes

29

27

3-6-1

Crazy 9-8 win over Flyers was nice, but offense was non-existent in losses to Rangers, Bolts

30

30

2-9-1

First two wins of the year came last week; now they must attempt the Herculean task of getting themselves back in the playoff race

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.

For more great profiles, news and views from the world of hockey, subscribe to The Hockey News magazine.

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