NHL Power Rankings: Rangers cling to No. 1 as Wild make run at top

NHL Power Rankings: Getting Wild near the top as Rangers cling to No. 1.
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Welcome to the newest installment of our 2014–15 NHL Power Rankings. Though they’ve hit a bit of a rough patch of late the Rangers steadfastly remain our top team for the fourth week in row, but there is a new challenger on their heels. The Wild continue their dramatic revival and are now No. 2, their highest ranking of the season. Alas last week's surprise team, the Senators with their cagey Hamburglar, proved to be a flash in the pan.

Capitals coach Barry Trotz: I was wrong about Alex Ovechkin

 on-ice performance, strength of schedule, assorted aches and pains, general outlook and how high each club came in on our writers’ ballots. In some cases another inexplicable and entirely inexcusable formula involving hat pins and coins was used to break ties, rank teams that were chosen by only one or two writers and inspire you, gentle reader, to mutter "what a joke" and "watch some hockey, you clowns" under your radish-scented breath while you furiously hammer out snide remarks in the comments section below.

We’ve presented the 30 teams in groups, with the top 10 receiving the most trenchant commentary. Overview paragraphs precede both the middle 10 and bottom 10. Weekly movement up or down has been duly noted by colorful little arrows. So without further ado, unleash your cracks 'n scorn.

1. New York Rangers

PREVIOUS: 1

RECORD: 47-21-7

Last week: 1-3-0

2. Minnesota Wild

PREVIOUS: 7

RECORD: 44-25-7

Last week: 3-0-0

3. Anaheim Ducks

PREVIOUS: 6

RECORD: 49-22-7

Last week: 3-1-0

4. Nashville Predators

PREVIOUS: 10

RECORD: 47-22-8

Last week: 3-1-0

5. Tampa Bay Lightning

PREVIOUS: 2

RECORD: 47-23-7

Last week: 2-2-0

6. Montreal Canadiens

PREVIOUS: 3

RECORD: 47-22-8

Last week: 1-2-1

7. Chicago Blackhawks

PREVIOUS: 5

RECORD: 46-24-6

Last week: 2-2-0

8. St. Louis Blues

PREVIOUS: 4

RECORD: 46-23-7

Last week: 1-2-0

9. Pittsburgh Penguins

PREVIOUS: 14

RECORD: 42-23-11

Last week: 2-1-1

10. Washington Capitals

PREVIOUS: 15

RECORD: 41-25-10

Last week: 2-1-0

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Surprising Flames boast NHL’s hottest line by far

I keep waiting for a Big Statistically Ordained Comeuppance but it hasn’t happened yet for the surprising Flames. And it might not. Despite their propensity for ceding possession to their opponents, Calgary keeps finding ways to win hockey games. The Flames block a ton of shots, they’re getting solid goaltending, and their top line is remarkably proficient (55 points this month alone). That they’re even in the race at this point is one of the season’s best stories. After a year of not including them in his top 10, Sam Page wanted to throw them a deserved bone for their unlikely run for a wild card spot. He still doesn’t think they’re very good—especially without captain Mark Giordano—but they’re young and fun and dramatically better than he gave them credit for during the preseason.

Has the Hamburglar’s magic run out? After dropping three straight, including losses to Toronto and Florida, two teams below Ottawa in the standings, the Senators now sit three points out of eighth place with a game in hand on the Bruins. This race will go down to the wire, but if Ottawa has a fighting chance to steal that last playoff spot, the Sens will need a better effort across the board, not just from their netminders. 

11. Calgary Flames

PREVIOUS: 16

RECORD: 42-28-7

Last week: 2-1-1

12. Winnipeg Jets

PREVIOUS: 12

RECORD: 39-25-12

Last week: 1-2-0

13. New York Islanders

PREVIOUS: 9

RECORD: 45-27-5

Last week: 1-2-1

14. Vancouver Canucks

PREVIOUS: 11

RECORD: 44-27-5

Last week: 2-1-1

15. Detroit Red Wings

PREVIOUS: 13

RECORD: 40-23-12

Last week: 1-2-1

16. Boston Bruins

PREVIOUS: 19

RECORD: 38-25-13

Last week: 2-0-1

17. Ottawa Senators

PREVIOUS: 8

RECORD: 37-26-12

Last week: 0-2-1

18. Los Angeles Kings

PREVIOUS: 17

RECORD: 37-25-14

Last week: 2-2-0

19. Dallas Stars

PREVIOUS: 20

RECORD: 37-30-10

Last week: 2-2-0

20. Florida Panthers

PREVIOUS: 18

RECORD: 35-26-15

Last week: 2-1-1

After a really dismal season, hand it to the Blue Jackets not to pack things in and to go on a run to show that the bones of this team do give fans in Columbus some reason to hope. Cam Atkinson, with four goals and seven points in three games this week, earned second star honors from the league, and helped the Blue Jackets win their eighth straight on the road, a franchise record. 

21. Columbus Blue Jackets

PREVIOUS: 23

RECORD: 36-35-4

Last week: 3-0-0

22. San Jose Sharks

PREVIOUS: 22

RECORD: 37-30-9

Last week: 2-0-1

23. Colorado Avalanche

PREVIOUS: 21

RECORD: 35-29-12

Last week: 2-2-0

24. Philadelphia Flyers

PREVIOUS: 24

RECORD: 30-29-17

Last week: 1-0-1

25. New Jersey Devils

PREVIOUS: 25

RECORD: 31-33-12

Last week: 0-2-1

26. Toronto Maple Leafs

PREVIOUS: 29

RECORD: 28-42-6

Last week: 1-1-0

27. Carolina Hurricanes

PREVIOUS: 26

RECORD: 28-36-11

Last week: 2-0-1

28. Edmonton Oilers

PREVIOUS: 27

RECORD: 23-40-13

Last week: 3-0-0

29. arizona Coyotes

PREVIOUS: 30

RECORD: 23-46-8

Last week: 2-2-0

30. Buffalo Sabres

PREVIOUS: 28

RECORD: 21-47-8

Last week: 1-1-1