Most of the teams have reached the 10 game mark with a few surprises. The Avs have got to a hot start, and the Red Wings have not played like the Red Wings who have made the playoffs every year since the 1990's. Anyways, let's get started. Enjoy!
*Note - Records are as of October 28th, 2009.
1) New York Rangers (8-3-1)—The Rangers have had a real good start, beating a lot of good teams, despite only winning one of the past four, they are at the top of my rankings.
2) Pittsburgh Penguins (9-2-0)—Now I realize that there are no style points in the NHL. 9-2-0 is a great record, but the defending cup champs have only played against five playoff teams last year, only one of those making it past the first round (Carolina). Plus an unimpressive shutout loss to the Coyotes, who soon might not even be the Coyotes. Plus the loss of Gonchar can be a real blow to this team's start.
3) Chicago Blackhawks (7-3-1)—The Hawks have had a good start to their season. With the addition of Marian Hossa, this could be the year we don't see the Red Wings atop the Central Division.
4) Buffalo Sabres (6-1-1)—The Sabres are starting hot. In eight games they have only given up 16 goals. After missing the postseason last year, it looks as if they can make it back.
5) Calgary Flames (7-2-1)—Other than that heartbreaking loss to the Blackhawks, the Flames look to be in the form they were before the lockout, a high octane offense, and you always have to take Miika Kiprusoff in factor, he'll heat up eventually.
6) Washington Capitals (7-2-2)—After a tough start to the season, facing six playoff teams in the first seven games, have won five straight. The big question remains, can the Caps defense and goaltending hold. When they are playing D, this is a Stanley Cup caliber team.
7) Colorado Avalanche (9-1-2)—I'm not a believer yet in the Avs. Remember, they were in the basement of the Western Conference last year. But they have played well against a very difficult start to their schedule, and so far are proving me wrong.
8) San Jose Sharks (7-4-1)—The Sharks have time and time again had a solid season, and then stumble in the playoffs. If they want to win a cup, people better stop jinxing them...cough*ESPN*cough...They also have had another solid start to the 09-10 year.
9) New Jersey Devils (6-3-0)—The Devils always have to be taken into factor with Brodeur in the net, despite the heartbreaking loss to Carolina last postseason.
10) Philadelphia Flyers (5-4-1)—The Flyers are looking to get back the Atlantic Division crown from the Penguins and Devils and have a Top-Three seed for the first time since 2004. With the addition of Chris Pronger and Ray Emery playing pretty well between the pipes, the tough Flyers just got tougher.
11) Ottawa Senators (5-2-2)—The Sens have gotten off to a good start to the year, coming off the first time they missed the playoffs this decade. Canada's Capital have lost two OT games in a row, but they are always a team to be reckoned with.
12) Los Angeles Kings (8-4-0)—THE KINGS ARE ATOP THE PACIFIC DIVISION! TIME TO PANIC! Not yet, the Kings have not played a very hard schedule at all so far, playing five playoff teams, two against a disappointing Detroit team. They should come back to earth soon.
13) Montreal Canadiens (6-5-0)—The 24-Time Stanley Cup winners are on a hot streak right now, winning four straight after dropping five in a row. With the addition of veterans Scott Gomez and Hal Gill, the Habs are looking good to grab a playoff spot yet again.
14) Edmonton Oilers (6-5-1)—In my mind the Oilers have had a very tough start to their schedule, playing nine of their first 11 games against teams that made the postseason last year. With the addition of a solid goaltender in Nikolai Khabibulin, this team could see a return to that 1980's form.
15) Vancouver Canucks (6-6-0)—After having a rough time getting their year going, dropping their first three, the 'Nucks have won six of their last nine. Roberto Luongo played poorly to start, but is hot right now, just racking up his 48th career shutout.
16) Columbus Blue Jackets (6-4-0)—The Jackets have dropped three of their last four, but still find themselves at six and four. With veteran Rick Nash leading the offense and new goalie Steve Mason in the net, this could be the year for Columbus to go places.
17) Boston Bruins (5-4-1)—The defending Northeast Division champs had a rough start, only winning half their games, but you have to expect that they will be near the top of the conference again with brute Zdeno Chara leading the D, Bergeron, Savard, and Lucic on offense and Vezina Trophy winner Tim Thomas in goal.
18) Dallas Stars (5-2-4)—The Stars are off to a good start, but I think that is all they will have. They really haven't played a lot of tough teams, yet and their record isn't that good considering who they played. Mike Modano isn't what he used to be, but Brad Richards and Brenden Morrow can help this team. Playoffs? I don't think I see it.
19) Detroit Red Wings (4-4-2)—More like the "Dead Wings" now. The worst start this team has seen a while has bandwagon fans jumping ship. Don't worry, the Red Wings have won every Central Division title this decade, so I think they'll recover. But there is no denying that Detroit's stars are aging.
20) St. Louis Blues (4-4-1)—The Blues haven't been atop the Central Division in a while, but with the Wings faltering, here is their chance. With the addition of Andy McDonald, and the veteran leadership of Paul Kariya and Keith Tkachuk, this team is set for another playoff appearance.
21) Atlanta Thrashers (4-3-1)—The Thrashers will always have a chance to win with Ilya Kovalchuk, but with their star hurt, it will be a rough period for them until he returns.
22) Phoenix Coyotes (6-4-0)—The Coyotes are having financial troubles as now a new owner is being permitted to buy the team. The NHL is looking to keep them in Arizona, but soon we could see a seventh Canadian team.
23) Tampa Bay Lightning (3-3-3)—Coming off a disappointing year last year, the Bolts are looking to get back into the playoffs, but with no solid goaltending and aging stars, it will be tough.
24) Anaheim Ducks (3-6-1)—A very disappointing start to what was thought a cup-caliber team leaves me wondering if they will recover after losing to the Maple Leafs.
25) Minnesota Wild (3-8-0)—The Wild are starting to recover from the five game winless streak with two wins in the past four, but with a now very competitive Northwest Division, the Wild could miss out on the playoffs.
26) Carolina Hurricanes (2-5-3)—The Hurricanes made it to the conference finals last year, but making the playoff this year could be hard with all their well-known players not getting any younger. Cam Ward may have to drag this team on his own. The Canes have not won in the last six games.
27) Nashville Predators (3-6-1)—The Predators are last in the league in goal scoring, averaging 1.8 goals per game, that can't happen. The Predators need to start scoring or else they'll be at the bottom of the Western Conference pretty soon.
28) New York Islanders (1-4-5)—A lot of OT losses keeps them from the bottom of the rankings, but without DiPietro in the net, rookie Tavares can't help this desperate team recover, and maybe not even keep them in Long Island, with rumors of them moving.
29) Florida Panthers (2-6-1)—The Panthers have a three game winless streak, and are really hurting right now. People have them going to the playoffs this year, but they are the second-worst team in terms of points and in terms of goals scored. The Panthers haven't made the playoffs since the 99-00 season and could miss out yet again if they don't start to score goals.
30) Toronto Maple Leafs (1-7-1)—The Leafs just got their first win on Monday against the Ducks (finally), but this team is playing miserably right now. They have given up more goals per game than any other team right now, and could miss the playoff for the fifth straight year.
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