Thrashers flying along

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The Hockey News

The Hockey News

Steered by the guidance of new coach Craig Ramsay, the Atlanta Thrashers continue to turn heads – and climb up the THN.com Power Rankings.

The Thrashers, who move up two slots this week from No. 13 to No. 11 (after jumping to No. 13 from the No. 18 position two weeks ago), are third place in the Southeast Division and sit just four points back of Washington with two games in hand on the slumping Capitals.

Backed by outstanding goaltending from Ondrej Pavelec (8-2-0, 1.39 goals-against average and .956 save percentage in his past 10 games), Atlanta is the NHL’s second-hottest team in the league behind only the Pittsburgh Penguins, who have won all of their past 10.

Two of their off-season acquisitions (Dustin Byfuglien and Andrew Ladd) are leading the way in goal-scoring with 10 apiece, followed closely by sophomore left winger Evander Kane (nine). Byfuglien also leads the team in assists (20), shots (117), game-winning goals (five), and is tied with four other Thrashers for the lead in power play markers (four).

The Thrashers have a punishing schedule this week, playing four games in six days. If there’s a bright side to that pace, it’s that the teams they’ll face (Ottawa, Tampa Bay, Carolina and New Jersey) are nowhere close to juggernauts.

RK.

TEAM

LW

OVERALL

P10

THE SCOOP

1

1

19-6-3

6-3-1

Valtteri Filppula leading Wings in game-winning goals (four)

2

2

21-8-2

10-0-0

White-hot Pens look ready for their HBO close-up

3

4

19-7-5

6-1-3

Only Penguins (plus-30) have better goals-for/against differential than Flyers (plus-29)

4

8

16-8-4

5-3-2

Nathan Horton on pace for career-best 32 goals, 67 points

5

5

18-10-2

5-4-1

Scott Gomez (cap hit: $7.35 million) has four goals, nine points; Mathieu Darche (cap hit: $500,000) has five goals, 10 points

6

3

18-11-3

18-11-3

Ovechkin dropped the gloves vs. New York, but the losing continues for Caps

7

7

16-8-4

16-8-4

No fluke the arrival of Manny Malhotra (63.1 percent) has made Canucks league’s best faceoff team (57.2 percent)

8

6

17-10-2

17-10-2

Stars face Sharks twice this week before weekend road trip to take on Blue Jackets, Red Wings

9

10

16-10-1

4-5-1

It will take more than newly-acquired Marco Sturm to jump-start Kings’ moribund offense

10

9

16-10-4

5-3-2

Bolts taking deserved heat for whining over Linus Omark’s shootout-winning goal

11

13

16-11-3

8-2-0

Mere percentage points separate Thrashers’ average number of shots allowed (34.5) from NHL’s worst team in that department (Edmonton, 34.7)

12

14

18-13-1

6-4-0

Blueshirts are road beasts (11-5-0); sub-standard at home (7-8-1)

13

11

14-8-6

6-3-1

Only one of Shane Doan’s four goals this season has come at even strength

14

15

14-8-6

5-2-3

Marcel Goc has Preds��� lone shorthanded goal this season

15

16

15-10-4

6-4-0

Drop-off in point total between Sharks’ No. 7 scorer (Dan Boyle, 20 points) and No. 8 (Jason Demers, eight points) is precipitous

16

17

15-10-4

4-3-3

Tomas Fleischmann has a goal, four points in five games since being dealt to Avs from Washington

17

12

16-11-1

4-5-1

Rusty Klesla a team-best plus-18; his career high is plus-7

18

18

14-9-5

4-4-2

With Andy McDonald now out, Blues aching more than ever for help on offense

19

19

16-12-3

6-3-1

Duncan Keith, Jonathan Toews have identical average number of shifts per game (27.6), but where Keith averages 27:19 of ice time, Toews averages 21:01

20

20

16-13-4

6-3-1

Despite missing seven games, old man Teemu Selanne leads Ducks in power play goals (six)

21

22

12-12-4

3-3-4

Jussi Jokinen on pace for a 14-goal season; last year, he had a career-high 30

22

21

13-12-4

3-5-2

Wild tied with Bruins for league’s worst shootout record this year (0-3)

23

23

11-13-5

6-3-1

Loss of Shawn Horcoff a mixed blessing – they’ll miss his experience, but youngsters will get more time to develop

24

24

13-15-0

4-6-0

Panthers’ power play particularly pitiful – a league-worst 8.3 percent

25

25

12-14-4

5-4-1

Thomas Vanek has 104 shots – 24 more than second-best Sabre (Jochen Hecht)

26

26

11-14-4

4-5-1

Leafs go 3-2 in five straight games vs. elite opponents

27

27

12-15-3

4-4-2

Perpetual disappointments mean something’s gotta give

28

28

13-16-2

3-6-1

Predators have one less goal than Senators – in three fewer games

29

29

8-19-2

3-7-0

For all his struggles, Ilya Kovalchuk has Devils’ only two overtime goals

30

30

5-17-5

1-7-2

Matt Moulson has two more points than John Tavares

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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