Any question — not that there was much of one — regarding which team is the best in hockey right now was answered by the Blackhawks’ victory over the Sharks last week. Meanwhile, the Devils again move up the charts and are 19 spots ahead of where they started the season in the FOXSports.com rankings.
1. Blackhawks 10-0 -2 —
Twelve games in, the ’Hawks still haven’t lost in regulation. Almost as impressive: Forward Patrick Kane has a point in all but one of Chicago’s games this season and is on a five-game goal streak.
2. Devils 8-1 -3 +4
In the span of eight days, the Devils knocked off the Penguins (twice), Islanders, Rangers and Lightning, allowing just five goals in those six games.
3. Sharks 7-2 -2 -1
San Jose hasn’t won a game this month. Trouble? Maybe. The Sharks do have defenseman Brent Burns back, though, as they begin a six-game trip Monday.
4. Bruins 8-1 -1 —
Now that goalie Tim Thomas (or at least his salary-cap hit) has been offloaded to the Islanders, the only recent impediment has been the blizzard that forced the postponement of Saturday’s game.
5. Ducks 8-2 -1 +6
Anaheim is certainly one of the surprises so far, and the guy brought in to back up starting goalie Jonas Hiller, Viktor Fasth, has gone 5-0-0. It’s never a bad thing to have depth in goal, especially with Hiller’s durability issues.
6. Canucks 7-2 -2 +4
Shocker that Canucks general manager Dan Gillis says he won’t offload goalie Roberto Luongo unless the price is right. It’s really “the price” and whether Luongo’s protégé, Cory Schneider, shows he’s capable by the April 3 trade deadline.
7. Senators 6-4 -2 +2
The Sens enter the week 19th in goals per game (2.58), although mediocre scoring is fine as long as you have a goalie playing as well as Craig Anderson. If the early Vezina Trophy front-runner cools, though, Ottawa will be primed for a freefall.
8. Penguins 8-5 -0 -5
How exactly does a team as stacked as the Pens score a single goal three times already this season, including in their past two games (back-to-back losses to the Devils)?
9. Red Wings 7-4 -1 +3
A hot goalie can hide a lot, including the retirement of one the game’s best defenseman (Nicklas Lidstrom) and a rash of injuries. Jimmy Howard did that again with a 45-save performance in a thrilling win over the Kings on Sunday.
10. Blues 6-4 -1 -5
If a four-game skid (with 22 goals allowed during that stretch) wasn’t bad enough, the Blues lost veteran forward Jamie Langenbrunner to what could be career-ending hip injury.
11. Maple Leafs 7-5 -0 +11
Leafs forward Mikhail Grabovski’s alleged bite of Habs forward Max Pacioretty late in Saturday’s game obscured something more crucial: A 6-0 Toronto victory that ran its win streak to three games.
12. Stars 6-5 -1 +15
Former holdout Jamie Benn has goals in three consecutive games. (The Stars won each of those games.) Maybe Dallas can get its goal differential (minus-2) in the plus column next.
13. Canadiens 6-4 -1 -5
Andrei Markov has returned to being Andrei Markov (no, that doesn’t mean he’s injured). The defenseman has been stuck at four goals for seven games and has taken three shots during that span.
14. Lightning 6-5 -0 -7
Coach Guy Boucher’s faces (machinations that drew a bench minor last week) have been more fun to watch than his Lightning, who enter the week on a four-game skid.
15. Predators 5-3 -4 +1
The Preds are about where you expect them to be with their roster: dead last in scoring (1.83 goals per game). Thanks to goalie Pekka Rinne and the defense, at least they make the most of it.
16. Rangers 6-5 -0 -3
It’s a streak! Ok, it’s two wins in a row, but still new ground for the Rangers. Still not good enough for a team this deep, although Rick Nash had his second multi-point game of the season in Sunday’s win over Tampa Bay.
17. Coyotes 5-5 -2 +6
Goalie Mike Smith is coming off his best game of the season, a 33-save performance in a 1-0 shutout of San Jose on Saturday. While the Coyotes have won three of their past four, they need Shane Doan to produce soon.
18. Hurricanes 5-4 -1 +6
Cam Ward has looked increasingly confident in the ‘Canes’ net. That’s not always easy in front of shoddy defense, like Carolina played in a 4-3 loss to Philly on Saturday.
19. Flyers 5-6 -1 +1
Philly begins its longest trip of the season (six games) in Toronto on Monday night. The Flyers have leaned heavily on goalie Ilya Bryzgalov, who, unlike last season, has been the team’s most consistent performer.
20. Sabres 5-7 -1 -2
Thomas Vanek remains the top scorer in the league with 23 points. That’s great, but it’s problematic when one player is in on nearly 59 percent of your goals.
21. Jets 5-5 -1 +5
The Jets are giving up an average of 3.27 goals per game, 25th in the league. Defensemen Dustin Byfuglien and Zach Bogosian are skating again and could be back soon to help shore up the blue line.
22. Oilers 5-4 -3 -5
The Blue Jackets showed up at the right time for this reeling bunch. Sunday’s victory over Columbus halted a five-game skid.
23. Wild 5-5 -1 -8
Minnesota snapped a three-game skid with Saturday’s win over Nashville, as winger Devin Setoguchi scored in OT. Defenseman Ryan Suter had two assists for his second multi-point game, something the Wild will need more of to get back into contention.
24. Kings 3-5 -2 -5
The high point of the Kings’ season — defenseman Alec Martinez scoring with 53 seconds left to tie the score Sunday against Detroit — lasted all of a few seconds before the Red Wings answered to win 3-2. Not much has gone right for the defending champs.
25. Avalanche 4-6 -0 -4
The Avs have nearly wasted the first three games of the current four-game homestand, going 1-2-0 so far. Colorado needs more than just a solid penalty kill to remain competitive.
26. Capitals 3-8 -1 -1
Alex Ovechkin enters the week with points in four consecutive games. While he’s trending in the right direction, the team’s two goalies (Michal Neuvirth and Braden Holtby) need to play solidly against teams other than the Panthers.
27. Islanders 4-6 -1 -13
The Isles are on a four-game skid and have yet to win in February. Coach Jack Capuano is doing what he can to shake the team out of this funk, even sitting assistant captain Kyle Okposo.
28. Flames 3-4 -2 +2
The only thing that’s working for the Flames in a season that’s included putting goalie Miikka Kiprusoff (knee) on injured reserve is the team’s power play. Calgary starts the week ranked fourth (25 percent) and has at least one power play goal in seven games this season.
29. Panthers 4-6 -1 -1
Florida followed a 3-2 shootout victory Thursday over the Flyers with a horrendous display against the Capitals. The 5-0 loss on Saturday showed just how deficient the Panthers are in so many parts of the game.
30. Blue Jackets 3-7 -2 -1
Leave it to Columbus to outshoot a team 40-14 — like it did Sunday against the Oilers — and lose 3-1. That lone Columbus goal came from RJ Umberger, giving him his first since the 2011-12 regular-season finale.