NHL Power Rankings: Ottawa Senators Join Top 10, Boston Bruins Keep Making History

OTTAWA, CANADA - JANUARY 8: Daniel Alfredsson #11 and Kyle Turris #7 of the Ottawa Senators celebrate their first period goal at the bench against the Philadelphia Flyers during an NHL game at Scotiabank Place on January 8, 2012 in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Francois Laplante/Freestyle Photography/Getty Images)

The Boston Bruins are making history every single time they step onto the ice, and it doesn't appear there's much to stop them. Meanwhile, the Ottawa Senators are the big surprise of the week in our NHL Power Rankings, jumping into the top-10.

The top teams in the Western Conference have separated themselves from the pack and have made the final three spots a five horse race. Chicago, Detroit, San Jose, St. Louis, and Vancouver are the best in the West and jockey for position on a nightly basis. This week's installment of the SB Nation NHL Power Rankings reflects that jockeying. San Jose is up, Chicago is down and the rest are cemented into the top five.

They all trail the Bruins, the team making history every night.

Rank Team Last Note
1 Boston Bruins 1 The Bruins are one of the best first-half teams in NHL history. They're 23-4-1 since November, which means 8-2 in their last ten games is off of the pace. They've got my mid-season Norris winner and Vezina finalist. Seems like only injuries or the variance of a seven game series can stop them.
2 San Jose Sharks 7 The Sharks are 7-1-2 in their last 10, and 2nd in the conference in points %. Antti Niemi has been outstanding at even strength, but dreadful on the penalty kill, where the Sharks give up the 2nd most shots in the league. They could use help there, but their fans are thinking bigger, much bigger.
3 St. Louis Blues 5 The Blues are first in the conference in points % and are on a four game winning streak. Their most recent victim was Montreal, where Jaroslav Halak was received as a hero in his return.
4 Vancouver Canucks 4 Even though the Canucks knocked off the Bruins, outside of that storyline, they're going about the business of slicing through the Western Conference quietly. If the Boston game was a preview of the Cup Finals, fans think they should use Cody Hodgson as trade bait.
5 Detroit Red Wings T-2 The Islanders whip them and suddenly the Red Wings look mortal. Most of that has to do with Ty Conklin, who has been terrible thus far. Ken Holland likes a rusted old veteran on the bench, but he might want to shop around for a reliable old veteran instead.
6 New York Rangers 10 The Rangers are like a building wave. Their terrible start to the season seems like a decade ago. They aren't just relying on their first-half Vezina winner anymore, they've found their scoring touch. Put it all together and the Rangers are 9-1 in the last ten.
7 Philadelphia Flyers T-11 Emotion, toughness, heart, grit, hate - all qualities of the famous Broad Street Bullies. How many of the Bullies do you think pulled off a Briere Hat Trick?
8 Los Angeles Kings T-11 Simon Gagne is gone for the season, but things aren't all bad. The Kings have just one regulation loss in their last ten, the first-half Hart Trophy winner and have the assets to replace Gagne with Ales Hemsky or Alex Semin.
9 Ottawa Senators 14 Ottawa catapults into the top ten for the first time this season. The goaltenders have been terrible and the offense just so-so. How are they doing it? Maybe first-half Adams winner Paul MacLean knows. He's been so quietly effective that even the fans forget to rate him.
10 Washington Capitals T-8 The Capitals need Alex Ovechkin to score. In fact, they aren't competitive unless he's scoring. No pressure, Alex, score a bunch of goals, but make sure you mind Hunter's system.
11 Pittsburgh Penguins 6 Crosby out, Staal out, Neal badly injured. The forwards are decimated, but Kris Letang is close to his return. Get the defense & Neal healthy, wait on Jordan Staal to come back and use the defensive depth in the organization to nab Ales Hemsky. All the while Evgeni Malkin has to shoulder the largest workload of his career.
12 Chicago Blackhawks T-2 Dan Carcillo's ridiculous act brought swift and vengeful retribution from the hockey gods. The Blackhawks lost that game to the Oilersand then three more in a row. One man who escapes blame is Dave Bolland, my first-half Selke winner.
13 Colorado Avalanche 13 Without their best defenseman and a key role player, they've lost the first two of four in a row against teams competing for the bottom three playoff spots. First-half Calder finalist Gabriel Landeskog is heating up, but Colorado's hopes lie with Semyon Varlamov.
14 Toronto Maple Leafs 18 The Leafs are once again chasing goaltending. But consider this - the Leafs are 26th in Fenwick close, 25th in power play shots, and 16th in preventing penalty kill shots. Yes, the goaltending is bad, but there are other glaring holes that aren't "forward size" on this team.
15 New Jersey Devils T-8 The Devils have had some rotten luck and terrible goaltending thus far. It should rebound in the second half of the season with Travis Zajac helping first-half Calder winner Adam Henrique down the middle. Unless of course this is all Brodeur and Hedberg have left in the tank.
16 Nashville Predators 16 The Predators are relying on Pekka Rinne to pull then, kicking and screaming, into the playoffs. Rinne is on pace to set minutes played records and Barry Trotz can't give him a break.
17 Winnipeg Jets 15 The Jets are 5-4-1 in their last 10, or 1.1 points per game. They've hovered right around 1.1 points per game for a couple of weeks now. If they want a playoff spot, they're going to have to string together a dominant (or lucky) 10 game segment.
18 Florida Panthers 17 The offense went cold last week, but Scott Clemmensen responded with a .940 save percentage. The Panthers have again opened up a lead on the rest of the Southeast & Manitoba Division.
19 Dallas Stars 20 Dallas is one of those 5 teams battling for the last 3 playoff spots in the West. They've won 5 of their last 10, largely on the back of Jamie Benn and Loui Eriksson, who are no longer unheralded.
20 Phoenix Coyotes 19 Even though Mike Smith is back, the Coyotesare still struggling. Though Smith has been the Yotes' MVP, the team relies on the defense to produce offense more than any other team in the league. Smith's save percentage has slowly regressed towards historical levels, any more regression and the Yotes will quickly fall out of the race.
21 Calgary Flames T-26 The Flames are barely hanging on to playoff hopes, but hope is alive. Though Mark Giordano returns soon, it seems like the Flames are going to need their franchise player to be better than ever to get them into the post-season.
22 Tampa Bay Lightning 21 I'm beginning to wonder if Steve Yzerman has talked to all 29 teams about trading for a goalie. I also wonder what he thinks of Mike Smith, the Coyote.
23 Montreal Canadiens 24 No.
24 New York Islanders T-26 The Islanders have won five of the last ten after laying a 5-1 whooping on Detroit, and that's as good as any team ranked 17th or worse. But they're so far back, and their defense is so bad, fans would rather flagellate themselves over some really awful history than talk Steve Staios.
25 Columbus Blue Jackets 23 This is such a strange team. They're top 10 in shots on the power play, shot prevention on the penalty kill, and 10th in Fenwick close. There's talent here and as the team looks ahead, new coach Todd Richards can be much better than Scott Arniel simply by scratching Steve Mason.
26 Carolina Hurricanes 29 First Joni Pitkanen, now Chad LaRose has been injured. It's going to be a long winter in Raleigh. One thing to look forward to is the return when they sell Allen, Gleason, Ponikarovsky, Ruutu and Spacek.
27 Minnesota Wild 25 The Wild's crash back to earth has them firmly planted amongst the 5 teams competing for the final 3 playoff spots in the West. The current roster isn't enough to get it done, so is there a trade in the near future? The Wild are well-stocked with prospects and could really use Tim Gleason and Andrei Kostitsyn.
28 Edmonton Oilers 22 The team MVP is out for a month. Their leading scorer is out for three weeks. Ryan Whitney is still on the IR, as is Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. The lack of real NHL players and organizational depth is killing the Oilers for the third year in a row.
29 Buffalo Sabres 28 Maybe it's Derek Roy's laziness and poor work ethic that has torpedoed the Sabres season. The Sabres are at the cap and are headed to the lottery, a colossal mistake by Darcy Regier. Will he lose his job?
30 Anaheim Ducks 30 How about this for a rebuild? Ryan, Perry, Getzlaf, Fowler and Hiller for Laich, Sharp, Koivu, Krejci and Karlsson. Add in Yakupov and a goaltender and the Ducks are ....
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