NHL power rankings: Kings' reign in SoCal is officially over
JAN 28, 2014 5:23p ET
That was Anaheim's second consecutive victory over its SoCal rivals. It came on the heels of two losses in three games -- the Ducks' first two losses of the new year.
"We just have to realize each game matters right now," forward Nick Bonino told NHL.com. "We've put ourselves in a good spot up to this point."
That is why the Ducks remain atop our Power Rankings. Here is how this week's pecking order shakes out . . .
For more puck coverage, check out The Iceman Cometh.
1 Ducks 39-10-5
GOOD NEWS: Center Ryan Getzlaf leads the NHL with 3.35 points per 60 minutes at even strength.
BAD NEWS: Goaltender Viktor Fasth is still working his way back from a lower-body injury.
BOTTOM LINE: A five-game homestand gives them an opportunity to build on their Pacific Division advantage heading into the Olympic break.
2 Penguins 37-14-2 +1
GOOD NEWS: They have maintained the NHL's most productive power play this season despite working around multiple injuries.
BOTTOM LINE: The Eastern Conference's top team just keeps rolling along. Despite a 3-0 loss at Dallas, the Penguins were 8-2-1 in an 11-game stretch.
3 Blackhawks 32-10-12 -1
GOOD NEWS: The Blackhawks went five games without allowing a power-play goal.
BAD NEWS: Struggling forward Bryan Bickell earned just one point and a minus-6 rating in his first 11 January games.
BOTTOM LINE: Their seven losses in 10 games triggered some alarm. Their power play hit a serious lull and coach Joel Quenneville continues his search for consistent secondary scoring.
4 Blues 35-11-5
GOOD NEWS: Alexander Steen returned from his concussion and scored six points in his first five games back.
BOTTOM LINE: By closing their four-game road trip with victories against the New York Rangers and Islanders, they kept within range of the Blackhawks.
5 Sharks 34-13-6
GOOD NEWS: Forward Joe Pavelski continued his scoring surge with seven goals and three assists during a five-game streak. During a stretch of 22 games he scored 19 times.
BAD NEWS: Their offense went eerily quiet during a 1-0 home loss to the Los Angeles Kings.
BOTTOM LINE: The Sharks won six consecutive games before that setback, so they remain on target for a high playoff seed.
6 Bruins 33-15-3 +1
BOTTOM LINE: After losing four times in six games, the Bruins regrouped with victories over the Kings, Philadelphia Flyers and Islanders by a combined 15-6 score.
7 Lightning 31-16-5 +1
GOOD NEWS: Superstar Steven Stamkos (broken leg) resumed practicing with his teammates, albeit not at full tilt. But he is getting closer to active duty.
BAD NEWS: They entered the week with the 26th-ranked penalty-killing unit.
BOTTOM LINE: The Lightning soldiered on without Stamkos, thanks to rookie center Tyler Johnson (21 points in a 25-game stretch) helping fill the void.
8 Avalanche 33-14-5 +1
GOOD NEWS: Veteran forward Alex Tanguay returned to the lineup, making a deep offense even more imposing.
BOTTOM LINE: With plenty of offense and strong goaltending, the Avalanche rank among the NHL's elite.
9 Kings 30-18-6 -3
GOOD NEWS: They played shutdown team defense to win 1-0 at San Jose and snap their latest five-game losing streak.
BAD NEWS: They scored more than two goals just four times during a span of 18 games.
BOTTOM LINE: A sustained 4-10-2 downturn sent them plunging off the Pacific Division pace.
10 Canadiens 27-20-5
GOOD NEWS: The NHL's second-most efficient power play has offset some even-strength offensive struggles.
BAD NEWS: In his first 10 January starts, goaltender Carey Price was 4-5-1 with a 3.74 goals-against average and an .877 save percentage.
BOTTOM LINE: The pressure mounted on this team during a pronounced 4-6-2 slump. Defensive breakdowns magnified its offensive shortcomings.
11 Rangers 28-23-3
GOOD NEWS: Forward Rick Nash scored goals in five consecutive games and has 11 goals in his last 11.
BAD NEWS: Ryan McDonagh was their only defenseman with more than 15 points after 54 games.
BOTTOM LINE: Goaltender Henrik Lundqvist went 6-3-1 with a 2.09 goals-against average in his first 10 January games.
12 Canucks 27-18-9
GOOD NEWS: They finally caught some offensive breaks while outlasting Phoenix in a 5-4 victory.
BAD NEWS: Top center Henrik Sedin suffered a cracked rib, forcing him out of the lineup and ending his iron-man streak. He failed to score a goal in 15 consecutive game before getting hurt.
BOTTOM LINE: Through 52 games this season, the Canucks ranked 22nd in NHL scoring with 2.44 goals per game. Remember when this team scored in bunches?
13 Wild 28-20-6 +1
GOOD NEWS: Top gun Zach Parise finally returned after missing 14 games with a foot injury. But he did not score in his first two games back.
BAD NEWS: Top center Mikko Koivu remains sidelined by an ankle injury. Before getting hurt, he ranked third among NHL forwards in ice time.
BOTTOM LINE: No. 3 goaltender Darcy Kuemper has filled in admirably, helping Minnesota maintain the NHL's sixth-best goals-against average.
14 Maple Leafs 27-21-6 +1
GOOD NEWS: Center David Bolland is back practicing with the Leafs. He hopes to return from his leg injury shortly after the Olympic break.
BAD NEWS: Power forward David Clarkson (elbow surgery) is skating, but not practicing, with his team.
BOTTOM LINE: They allowed 12 goals in losses at Dallas and Winnipeg, sending up warning flares.
15 Flyers 25-22-6 -2
GOOD NEWS: First-line winger Jakub Voracek recovered quickly from his hand injury.
BAD NEWS: The Flyers fell apart defensively, allowing 37 goals in a span of nine games.
BOTTOM LINE: By losing four times in a span of six days, the Flyers undid some of their progress. A trip westward to face the three powerful California teams complicated matters.
16 Coyotes 24-18-10
GOOD NEWS: Center Mike Ribeiro perked up, scoring five points during a four-game streak.
BAD NEWS: Winger Radim Vrbata scored just one goal in his first 13 January games.
BOTTOM LINE: They won just four of their first 13 games in January, falling into a battle for one of the final Western Conference playoff spots.
17 Blue Jackets 26-22-4 +2
GOOD NEWS: Goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky continued his torrid play, winning 10 times in 11 starts.
BAD NEWS: The Blue Jackets coughed up a 2-0 lead while suffering an exasperating 3-2 loss at Carolina. That was their second straight loss after an eight-game winning streak.
BOTTOM LINE: They climbed into the middle of the Eastern Conference playoff fight to ease pressure on coach Todd Richards.
18 Red Wings 23-18-11 -1
BOTTOM LINE: The Red Wings haven't won more than two consecutive games at home this season. How does that happen?
19 Senators 22-20-10 -1
GOOD NEWS: Center Kyle Turris scored seven times during an eight-game stretch.
BAD NEWS: Center Jason Spezza has scored just three goals since Nov. 24.
BOTTOM LINE: After a nice 6-0-1 streak, the Senators suffered a 1-2-2 relapse. They are scrambling to stay in the wild-card battle.
20 Capitals 23-21-8
GOOD NEWS: Explosive winger Alexander Ovechkin made a quick recovery from his groin muscle strain.
BAD NEWS: Center Mikhail Grabovski remains sidelined with a left ankle injury.
21 Devils 22-20-11
GOOD NEWS: Ageless winger Jaromir Jagr hasn't run out of gas. His two points at Yankee Stadium gave him 44 points in 53 games.
BAD NEWS: Goaltender Martin Brodeur went 1-3-1 with a 3.88 goals-against average and an .862 save percentage during his first five January starts.
BOTTOM LINE: They haven't moved more than three games over .500 all season. Their season would be over if they played out West.
22 Stars 24-21-8
GOOD NEWS: They won three straight games while outscoring their opponents 14-1.
BAD NEWS: They won just one of their first 10 January games.
BOTTOM LINE: This explosive offensive team finally got organized in its own zone. Goaltender Kari Lehtonen went 3-1-0 last week with a 1.25 goals-against average, .944 save percentage and two shutouts.
23 Predators 23-23-8
GOOD NEWS: Emerging defenseman Roman Josi scored eight points in a seven-game span.
BAD NEWS: Goaltender Devan Dubyk allowed nine goals in his first two starts after arriving from Edmonton in a trade.
24 Islanders 21-26-8
BAD NEWS: Coach Jack Capuano finally figured out how to cool down John Tavares: Separate him from high-scoring winger Kyle Okposoy.
BOTTOM LINE: The Islanders generated a nice, midseason push before returning three key players. They appear poised for a big finish.
25 Jets 25-24-5 +1
GOOD NEWS: Goaltender Ondrej Pavelec won five of six starts while stopping 153 of 165 shots. Back in December he won just two of 10 starts.
BAD NEWS: Defenseman Zach Bogosian scored just three points in his first 17 games since coming off the injured list.
BOTTOM LINE: New coach Paul Maurice has had a magical effect on this underachieving team. Too bad the team didn't make this change sooner.
26 Hurricanes 24-19-9 -1
BAD NEWS: Top-line winger Jiri Tlusty scored just 10 points in his first 39 games this season.
BOTTOM LINE: A four-game winning streak kept Carolina in the Eastern Conference hunt. Are the Canes finally...
27 Panthers 21-24-7
GOOD NEWS: Veteran defenseman Tom Gilbert delivered three straight multi-point games.
BAD NEWS: Rookie forward Aleksander Barkov missed time with a lower-body injury.
BOTTOM LINE: They have been playing the spoiler role in the Eastern Conference, earning three shootout victories this month.
28 Oilers 17-32-6
GOOD NEWS: Forward Jordan Eberle had a five-game point streak, scoring four goals and adding two assists.
BAD NEWS: They lost six consecutive games before leaning on the Nashville Predators in a 5-1 win.
BOTTOM LINE: Edmonton has lots of skilled players, but it needs to swap some finesse for toughness. That is why Eberle's name is churning in the rumor mill.
29 Sabres 14-30-7
BAD NEWS: They lost five straight games before scoring a breakthrough 5-2 victory at Columbus.
BOTTOM LINE: They keep working hard for coach Ted Nolan, but the franchise's fire sale could start at any time.
30 Flames 18-27-7
GOOD NEWS: After losing four straight games, the Flames rallied to win the first two games of a five-game homestand.
BAD NEWS: They have more losses at home this season than on the road.
BOTTOM LINE: This organization is bereft of talent. That is why Matt Stajan got a contract extension despite producing just 19 points and a minus-16 rating in his first 44 games this season.