NHL power rankings: Kings’ reign in SoCal is officially over
The Anaheim Ducks have been the NHL’s best for several weeks. They put an exclamation point behind that claim by throttling the Los Angeles Kings 3-0 at Dodger Stadium on Sunday.
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.
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.
GOOD NEWS: They have maintained the NHL’s most productive power play this season despite working around multiple injuries.
BAD NEWS: Chuck Kobasew was the latest to flunk his audition on the Sidney Crosby line. The Penguins really miss injured winger Pascal Dupuis.
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.
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.
GOOD NEWS: Alexander Steen returned from his concussion and scored six points in his first five games back.
BAD NEWS: Goaltenders Brian Elliott and Jaroslav Halak both melted down during a 7-1 loss at New Jersey.
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.
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.
GOOD NEWS: Winger Jarome Iginla snapped an eight-game pointless streak by scoring twice against the Philadelphia Flyers.
BAD NEWS: Winger Loui Eriksson went 11 games without scoring a goal. He finally broke through during a 6-3 victory against the New York Islanders.
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.
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.
GOOD NEWS: Veteran forward Alex Tanguay returned to the lineup, making a deep offense even more imposing.
BAD NEWS: After scoring 18 goals in 48 games last season, P.A. Parenteau scored just nine in his first 41 games this season. That explains while Colorado considered trading him to Montreal.
BOTTOM LINE: With plenty of offense and strong goaltending, the Avalanche rank among the NHL’s elite.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
GOOD NEWS: Goaltender Jimmy Howard (knee) and forward Johan Franzen (concussion) returned to action.
BAD NEWS: Forward Henrik Zetterberg aggravated his persistent back injury, joining running Pavel Datsyuk (lower body) on the injured list.
BOTTOM LINE: The Red Wings haven’t won more than two consecutive games at home this season. How does that happen?
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.
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.
BOTTOM LINE: Their best forward line lately has featured Jason Chimera, Jay Beagle and Tom Wilson. That is good for those fellows, but bad for this team.
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.
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.
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.
BOTTOM LINE: This season has become a lost cause. That sad fact, combined with the acquisition of talented defenseman Michael Del Zotto, stirred some Shea Weber trade speculation.
GOOD NEWS: Defenseman Lubomir Visnovsky (concussion) and goaltender Evgeni Nabokov (lower body) came off injured reserve. Defenseman Travis Hamonic (concussion) was nearly ready to do the same.
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.
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.
GOOD NEWS: Anton Khudobin has provided stability in goal, winning 11 of his 15 appearances this season. Winger Alexander Semin suddenly woke up and scored nine points in six games.
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…
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.
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.
GOOD NEWS: Rugged center Steve Ott moved to the wing on Cody Hodgson’s line and scored eight points in a nine-game span.
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.
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.