NHL power rankings: The champs regain the throne

Jonathan Daniel

The Avalanche have finally relinquished the top spot, and it's no surprise who's taken over.

1. Chicago Blackhawks (14-3-4, Last week: 5)

The (figurative) kings have reclaimed the hill. Rejoice, Chicago! You're No. 1!

2. Phoenix Coyotes (14-4-3, Last week: 4)

The Coyotes have collected points at such a rapid pace, and they're doing it in the Pacific Division. Their only loss this week came via the shootout against the Blackhawks.

3. San Jose Sharks (13-3-5, Last week: 7)

A successful road trip, which resulted in three wins against Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver. The only loss? Yeah, against Chicago.

4. St. Louis Blues (13-3-3, Last week: 6)

The Blues demolished the Avalanche in addition to defeating Carolina. A lopsided loss against the Capitals kept them from a higher position this week.

5. Minnesota Wild (13-4-4, Last week: 8)

Minnesota is bringing the heat and Josh Harding is still playing out of his mind. Harding has held opponents to two goals or fewer in each of his last seven appearances. He has allowed more than two goals only once this season (three goals to Montreal on Nov. 1).

6. Tampa Bay Lightning (14-6-0, Last week: 3)

Steven Stamkos is out of the lineup but Tampa Bay has continued to win. Of course, that wasn't the case against Phoenix, but we'll give the Lightning a break because the Coyotes are on fire.

7. Anaheim Ducks (15-6-2, Last week: 2)

A rough Eastern road trip knocked the Ducks down a few pegs this week. The club collected one point out of a potential eight in games against Carolina, Florida, Pittsburgh and Tampa Bay. The good news is they return home for a two-game stand starting Wednesday against New Jersey.

8. Los Angeles Kings (14-6-1, Last week: 10)

Jonathan Quick is expected to miss six weeks, but backup Ben Scrivens has registered consecutive shutouts. Dare I say Scrivens is ready to play ... a game of thrones with Quick? (That was bad. Please don't leave.)

9. Colorado Avalanche (14-5-0, Last week: 1)

The fall from the top is a long one for the Avalanche as they've lost three straight since our last ranking. Matt Duchene will miss some time due to an oblique strain and the road ahead is not friendly: Tuesday vs. Chicago, Thursday at Phoenix, Saturday at LA, Wednesday vs. St. Louis and a back-to-back against Minnesota on Friday and Saturday. Wanna know if Colorado is for real? Well, you're about to find out.

10. Washington Capitals (12-8-1, Last week: 16)

Washington has collected wins in three straight and scored four goals in each game. The club is now jostling with the Penguins for the Metropolitan Division lead.

11. Boston Bruins (13-6-1, Last week: 11)

With the exception of Friday's loss against Ottawa, the Bruins have held opponents to two goals or fewer in five of their last six and have scored at least three goals in five of those six games.

12. Vancouver Canucks (11-8-3, Last week: 9)

The Canucks only played two games since our last ranking, which included a loss to the red-hot Stars and a shootout loss to the Sharks. Given the quality of competition, they didn't take too hard of a hit.

13. Pittsburgh Penguins (13-8-0, Last week: 12)

Pittsburgh beat Anaheim and Nashville but lost to New Jersey and Philadelphia. It doesn't make much sense because these guys should be one of the league's best teams. Positive spin: They're saving it for later in the season. The key guys are going to Sochi, which means the latter months of this year are going to include some serious hockey.

14. Dallas Stars (11-7-2, Last week: 19)

Red-hot fire. This team has dominated November with the stellar play of several players. Awesome things have been happening for Dallas lately, and Kari Lehtonen is making a case for Sochi in the process.

15. Toronto Maple Leafs (12-7-1, Last week: 13)

Took Minnesota to a shootout and beat Buffalo at home. Also lost to Buffalo, but it was the first game after the Sabres cleaned house.

16. Winnipeg Jets (10-10-3, Last week: 20)

Might be a little high, but Winnipeg has played well recently and deserves a bump. A four-game winning streak was snapped by the Wild before Calgary beat the Jets in a shootout. Nine out of 12 points ain't too shabby!

17. Detroit Red Wings (9-5-7, Last week: 14)

Plus side: The Red Wings have recorded points in five straight. Negative: They haven't recorded a win in six straight.

18. Montreal Canadiens (10-9-2, Last week: 15)

Montreal has managed to limit its opponents' offense, but has struggled to produce much of its own. 1-1-1 since our last ranking.

19. New York Rangers (10-10-0, Last week: 17)

Road trip over, check. Henrik Lundqvist back, check. Carl Hagelin back, check. Ryan Callahan back, check. Rick Nash back, check. Okay Rangers, time to see what you really are.

20. New York Islanders (8-10-3, Last week: 24)

The Islanders' only loss this week came against Los Angeles. Of course, Thomas Vanek is still out, which is unfortunate.

21. New Jersey Devils (7-8-5, Last week: 23)

The Kings like to beat up on the Metropolitan Division, as the Devils' only loss this week also came from Los Angeles. Their two wins came against the Penguins and Rangers.

22. Nashville Predators (9-9-2, Last week: 22)

A lopsided victory against Chicago was neutralized by losses against New Jersey and Pittsburgh. Fortunately, the club's difficult road schedule is starting to ease up after it lost the remaining four games of a season-long seven-game road trip (a franchise record to boot!).

23. Ottawa Senators (8-8-4, Last week: 18)

The Senators are a yo-yo: 5-0 loss to Philadelphia, followed by a 4-2 win over Boston, concluded by a 4-1 loss to Columbus. Maybe things will even out soon?

24. Carolina Hurricanes (8-9-4, Last week: 21)

Cam Ward is back and the Hurricanes recorded wins against the Avalanche and Ducks. Unfortunately, neither of those wins involved Cam Ward.

25. Philadelphia Flyers (7-10-2, Last week: 27)

Things are looking up in Philadelphia, as the Flyers kinda learned how to score goals again. Still not totally out of the dark yet, but a three-game homestand against struggling opponents might do the trick.

26. Columbus Blue Jackets (7-10-3, Last week: 26)

Marian Gaborik is hurt, which kind of doesn't matter because he hasn't been playing very well. Fortunately, Nathan Horton has resumed practicing, which means he's closer to making his Blue Jackets debut than ever before!

27. Florida Panthers (5-12-4, Last week: 28)

Two wins this week and Kris Versteeg was traded. Things are happening, Florida. Things!

28. Calgary Flames (7-11-3, Last week: 25)

Well, the bubble has popped. After an encouraging start, the Flames have dropped off a bit.

29. Edmonton Oilers (5-15-2, Last week: 29)

I know, they won the Battle of Alberta, but the Oilers are way too frustrating to move them ahead of anyone.

30. Buffalo Sabres (5-16-1, Last week: 30)

Send down the kids. They can't be exposed to this. This season is a train wreck, if Pat LaFontaine provides room for hope.

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