By Brian Cazeneuve
November 17, 2010

We're back after a two-week hiatus, with a dramatically reshuffled deck.

NOTE: All stats and records through games of Monday, Nov. 15.

NHL Power Rankings
1 Washington Capitals
Last Week: 11
An overtime loss at Buffalo was the only game in the eight matches since our last ranking that the Caps failed to win. Even trailing three times against the Rangers on the road wasn't a problem. "I never thought that we were behind," coach Bruce Boudreau said after his team's 5-3 win. You're never far behind when you have firepower like Alex Semin's five-point night in Tampa. Last week: 3-0-1
2 Philadelphia Flyers
Last Week: 10
The defending Eastern champs are 9-0-1 in their last 10. They outscored three foes 18-4 during the past week. Captain Mike Richards, who had one goal in his first 12 games, has seven in his last six. "I know it's not going to last the whole season," says Daniel Briere,"but we'll try to take advantage of it while it's going." Last week: 3-0-0
3 Detroit Red Wings
Last Week: 5
In a 6-2 win against Edmonton, coach Mike Babcock kept only his top unit of Pavel Datsyuk, Henrik Zetterberg and Tomas Holmstrom together and each of the Wings' top nine forwards had a point. That's what you call balance. Goalie Jimmy Howard is now 22-1-3 in his last 26 starts. Last week: 2-0-0
4 Los Angeles Kings
Last Week: 2
A 6-3 loss to San Jose snapped their six-game win streak, but these Kings still rule at home (8-0)where they've killed off 30 straight power plays. Sharks coach Todd McLellan says, "L.A.'s obviously the measuring stick -- not only in our conference, but maybe in the league." Last week: 2-0-1
5 Montreal Canadiens
Last Week: 6
In a signature game, goalie Carey Price made 34 saves to shut out the Canucks, his hometown team that lit him up for seven goals in 40 minutes last season. "That was obviously lingering in the back of my mind," Price said. Also of a note: the power play that started the season 3-for-47 was 6-for-14 during the week. Last week: 3-0-0
6 Vancouver Canucks
Last Week: 13
After a shutout in Montreal ended their six-game win streak, the Canucks nimbly recovered to amass five points in the next three matches of their five-game Eastern swing. Despite rough patches against the Senators and Leafs, Roberto Luongo made key saves to earn two wins. Another plus: Alex Burrows notched his first points since offseason shoulder surgery. Last week: 2-1-1
7 San Jose Sharks
Last Week: 9
It took Joe Pavelski a team-leading with 68 to finally score his first goal, in a 4-3 win against Calgary. Two nights later, he scored again in the team's best game so far, a 6-3 victory over the hot Kings. Pavelski later joked that he'd forgotten how to celebrate, but it should all come back quick. Last week: 3-0-1
8 St. Louis Blues
Last Week: 3
Not only did they nix a seven-game win streak with an 8-1 stinker at Columbus, they followed it with losses at Phoenix and Colorado. Jaroslav Halak entered the Avs game with gaudy numbers (1.79, .932), but gave up six goals. This may be a good team coming back to Earth after a great start. Last week: 0-3-0
9 Boston Bruins
Last Week: 4
Boston Bruins (9-5-1)
They rung up seven on Pittsburgh, then sleepwalked through home losses to Montreal and Ottawa, scoring once in the two games, including Tim Thomas' first loss of the season. Marc Savard and Marco Sturm won't be back until December. A team that struggles to score consistently could use them now. Last week: 2-2-0
10 New York Rangers
Last Week: 18
They won three, even while resting Henrik Lundqvist against Buffalo, and the line of Alex Frolov, Erik Christensen and Marian Gaborik totaled 11 points and plus-5's all around against Edmonton. Even enforcer Derek Boogaard got into the act, spoiling a shot at history by scoring against Washington, his first goal in 234 contests, 21 shy of Ken Daneyko's NHL mark for goalless games. Last week: 3-0-1
11 Phoenix Coyotes
Last Week: 22
With captain Shane Doan missing six straight games because of a sore lower back, it was up to role players to play bigger roles -- and a week of firsts for Vernon Fiddler and Ray Whitney. Fiddler, a boyhood Oiler fan and Flame-hater, scored his first goal of the season, and his first career hat trick, against Calgary in his 397th career game. Whitney broke a scoring drought against St. Louis with a hat and two assists. Last week: 3-0-0
12 Columbus Blue Jackets
Last Week: 15
The up and down Jackets thrashed the Blues, 8-1, for the biggest rout in franchise history, then bonked in a 5-1 loss to Colorado. "It's frustrating," said goalie Steve Mason. "You win one and then you come back with an effort like this." Last week: 1-1-0
13 Anaheim Ducks
Last Week: 28
Anaheim Ducks (10-7-2)
After five straight, sometimes ugly, one-goal wins, Bobby Ryan's empty-netter against Dallas made their sixth straight triumph a more sightly 4-2 final. Needing stitches after taking a practice shot under the left eye on Saturday, Jonas Hiller came back to stop 40 shots in an OT loss to Chicago that ended the win streak. But even in defeat, these sturdy Ducks have mettle. Last week: 3-0-1
14 Pittsburgh Penguins
Last Week: 12
Sighs of relief in Pittsburgh, no doubt. After Marc-Andre Fleury beat Tampa Bay, 5-1, for just his second win in nine starts, coach Dan Bylsma put him back in the next night -- a 4-2 win in Atlanta. "Marc's guy who's going to carry the load for us," Bylsma says. "He's a big part of our success and giving him a chance to get back in there tonight was the perfect chance for him to get two wins." And continue to build his confidence. Last week: 2-1-1
15 Colorado Avalanche
Last Week: 16
In a 4-2 loss to Calgary, the wounded but gritty Avs were down eight injured players, including four defensemen. Yet they managed wins against Columbus and St. Louis while getting a player back each night. "No one feels sorry for you in this league," says coach Joe Sacco. "We feel we can compete with anybody. It doesn't matter who is in the lineup." Last week: 2-2-0
16 Dallas Stars
Last Week: 17
Dallas Stars (8-7-0)
They took 26 penalty minutes, including Adam Burish's careless boarding major, in the third period of a loss to the Kings. Then they committed costly turnovers in a 4-2 defeat by the Ducks. "Once again, we found a way to lose a game," groaned the justifiably frustrated Brendan Morrow. Not a good trend. Last week: 0-2-0
17 Minnesota Wild
Last Week: 24
After scoring one goal in a pair of losses to Atlanta and Florida, the Wild sprung loose for four, despite being outplayed by Tampa Bay, as Nick Backstrom made 37 saves. "I'm not concerned how many shots we get," said Wild forward John Madden. "I'll take quality over quantity any day." Last week: 1-2-0
18 Tampa Bay Lightning
Last Week: 1
The team that led these rankings the last time around fell hard, dropping six of seven. Not only did they lose three straight by a combined 15-5 score, they lost Vinny Lecavalier for a month with a broken hand. "We're in a cloud right now," says coach Guy Boucher, striking a note of optimism. "The opportunities are there. We'll get through it." Last week: 1-3-0
19 Chicago Blackhawks
Last Week: 8
Bottom may have been reached during a 2-1 loss to Phoenix when coach Joel Quenneville benched his Norris-Trophy-winning defenseman during the second period as Duncan Keith dropped to -7 for the season. "He can be better," Quenneville drolly said of his ace. A team that often plays better on the road, the Hawks will get their chance with a six-game swing that starts this week. Last week: 1-1-1
20 Nashville Predators
Last Week: 7
With the Country Music Awards in town, the Preds bagged shootout wins over St. Louis and Chicago during a critical stage in which they'll play 11 of 13 games on the road. Against the Hawks, Pekka Rinne impressively stopped Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane and Patrick Sharp, boosting his career mark to 13-5 in shootouts. Last week: 2-0-0
21 Ottawa Senators
Last Week: 26
They spent all their emotion in Saturday's 2-0 win in Boston, having learned the day before of the tragic death of assistant coach Luke Richardson's teenage daughter. "I don't think anyone can understand," said captain Daniel Alfredsson, "but it's probably worse than you can imagine." Last week: 2-2-0
22 Florida Panthers
Last Week: 25
They knocked off Toronto and Minnesota during the week, getting goals 52 seconds apart from Chris Higgins and Mike Santorelli in their win against the Wild, then looked plenty overmatched in a 5-2 loss at Philadelphia. The Cats could end up in the playoff mix, but this is still a club that shows no sign of being able to beat top teams with any regularity. Last week: 2-1-0
23 Carolina Hurricanes
Last Week: 23
As his team struggled after its opening European swing, coach Paul Maurice saw lingering jetlag as a contributor to lagging play. "The body clocks and alarm clocks were disagreement," he says. Well, a month has passed and fatigue can't explain the recent poor showings of goalie Cam Ward, who was pulled after giving up four goals in an 8-1 loss to Philadelphia and a 7-2 setback in Montreal, where he had been 9-0-1. Someone or something has to wake the former Conn Smythe-winner. Last week: 1-2-0
24 Atlanta Thrashers
Last Week: 14
While dropping five of six, coach Craig Ramsey assembled an odd line of their youngest player, (Alex Burmistrov, 19), their oldest (Freddy Modin, 36) and their enforcer (Ben Eager). The trio scored twice and was the best line on the ice in a 5-1 over Minnesota. Nothing a little duct tape and baling wire won't fix, right? But Ramsey has to hope it wasn't a sign that the Thrashers will need their spare parts to assume large roles just in order to compete. Last week: 1-3-0
25 Buffalo Sabres
Last Week: 29
Ryan Miller made a highlight save on Alex Ovechkin's breakaway in one game and 36 saves against tough Vancouver the next. And with those back-to-back wins, the Sabres are officially back, right? Thomas Vanek thinks so. "We knew we were going to turn it around," he said. "We're righting the ship here pretty good." Last week: 3-0-1
26 Calgary Flames
Last Week: 19
One win in their last seven games brought predictably blunt heat from behind the bench. "Mistakes were made due to lack of intelligence," said coach Brent Sutter. "That urgency has to be there. We're in November and we need to have that now." Alas, even a decent effort produced only a 4-3 loss at San Jose. Last week: 1-2-0
27 Toronto Maple Leafs
Last Week: 21
That sizzling first week is deep in the rearview mirror. Outscored 13-4 in losses to Tampa Bay, Florida and Vancouver, the wilting Leafs have now won once in 12 games. During one pitiful power play against the Bolts, they never controlled the puck in their opponent's zone for the entire two minutes. "When it snowballs, it snowballs," said defenseman Brett Lebda. "It's getting a little out of control right now." Last week: 0-3-0
28 New Jersey Devils
Last Week: 30
At his best, Ilya Kovalchuk can do what he did against Edmonton, drawing a penalty on one shift and scoring the OT winner on his next. But he disappeared in a 3-0 loss in Boston. The Devils have scored one goal or less for nine times and proved they do not have the firepower to overcome deficits. "Hopefully we'll get out of it and laugh," said goalie Martin Brodeur, "but right now it's not much fun." No kidding, eh? Last week: 1-1-1
29 Edmonton Oilers
Last Week: 27
A purely horrendous week, outscored 25-8 in four road losses. In a 7-1 loss to Carolina, coach Tom Renney benched rookies Jordan Eberle and Taylor Hall and pulled goalie Nikolai Khabibulin, who gave up four goals in a span of 7:19. "Bad," said Renney, stating the painfully obvious. "Just bad." Last week: 0-3-1
30 New York Islanders
Last Week: 20
But at least the Oilers aren't the Isles, whose fast start has vanished in a 10-game losing streak that led to the canning of coach Scott Gordon. In a shootout loss in San Jose, the bedeviled Isles took their first lead in nine games. They've now scored eight goals in eight contests. This is stuff not seen since the franchise's expansion years. Last week: 0-2-1

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