Carter's NHL Power Rankings: December 25

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Carter's NHL Power Rankings: December 25
Jeff Gross/Getty Images

The Chicago Blackhawks have recorded a 9-3 record this December and grabbed 18 much needed points. The main reason I have them at the top spot is because of the FOUR shutouts they have recorded this December: Two from Antti Niemi and two from Cristobal Huet.

The Blackhawks are the top team in my rankings because I just think that they are the NHL’s best team.  They are my current favorites to win the Stanley Cup this year. But, we still have a long way to go before we can have in-depth conversations about the playoffs.

1. Chicago Blackhawks (51 points)
Last Week’s Results: def Bruins 5-4 in SO, def. Red Wings 3-0, lost to Sharks 3-2, def Red Wings 3-0
This Week’s Games: at Predators, vs. Predators, at Stars
Key Players: Patrick Kane, Duncan Keith, Patrick Sharp
Key Stat: 16-4-1 home record (leads NHL), 74 goals against this season (fewest in NHL)

2. Washington Capitals (52 points)

Last Week’s Results: lost to Canucks 3-2, def. Oilers 4-2, def Sabres 5-2
This Week’s Games: vs. Devils, vs. Hurricanes, at Sharks
Key Players: Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom, Mike Green
Key Stat: 135 goals scored this season (most in NHL), Mike Green leads all NHL defenseman with 35 points.

3. New Jersey Devils (53 points)

Last Week’s Results: def. Senators 4-2, def. Thrashers 5-4, def. Penguins 4-0
This Week’s Games: at. Capitals, vs. Thrashers, vs. Penguins
Key Players: Zach Parise, Jamie Langenbrunner, Travis Zajac
Key Stat: 13-2-1 road record (leads Eastern Conference), 75 goals against this season (fewest in Eastern Conference), Martin Brodeur leads the NHL with 23 goaltending wins.

4. Pittsburgh Penguins (53 points)
Last Week’s Results: def. Flyers 3-2 in SO, def Sabres 2-1 in SO, lost to Devils 4-0, def Senators 8-2
This Week’s Games: vs. Maple Leafs, at Sabres, at Devils
Key Players: Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Bill Guerin
Key Stat: Sidney Crosby: 46 points this season (4th-most in NHL), Marc Andre Fleury: 22 goaltending wins (2nd-most in NHL)

5. San Jose Sharks (51 points)
Last Week’s Results: def Ducks 4-1, def Stars 4-2, def Blackhawks 3-2
This Week’s Games: vs. Ducks, vs. Coyotes, vs. Capitals
Key Players: Joe Thornton, Patrick Marleau, Dany Heatley
Key Stat: 13-6-2 road record (leads NHL), 122 goals scored this season (leads Western Conference), Joe Thornton leads NHL with 51 points.

6. Vancouver Canucks (42 points)
Last Week’s Results: def Capitals 3-2, lost to Blues 3-1, def Predators 4-1
This Week’s Games: vs. Oilers, at Flames, at Coyotes
Key Players: Henrik Sedin, Ryan Kesler, Mason Raymond
Key Stat: 6-10-0 road record (worst in Western Conference), Henrik Sedin has 47 points this season (3rd-most in NHL)

7. Phoenix Coyotes (48 points)

Last Week’s Results: def Blue Jackets 2-1 in SO, lost to Ducks 4-2, def Blue Jackets 5-2, def Ducks 4-0
This Week’s Games: vs. Kings, at Sharks, vs. Canucks
Key Players: Shane Doan, Matthew Lombardi, Radim Vrbata
Key Stat: Ilya Bryzgalov: 21 goaltending wins (3rd-most in NHL)

8. Buffalo Sabres (47 points)
Last Week’s Results: def Maple Leafs 5-2, lost to Penguins 2-1 in SO, def Maple Leafs 3-2 in OT, lost to Capitals 5-2
This Week’s Games: vs. Senators, at Blues, vs. Penguins
Key Players: Derek Roy, Tim Connolly, Jason Pominville
Key Stat: Ryan Miller 1.99 GAA (2nd-best in NHL)

9. Calgary Flames (45 points)
Last Week’s Results: def Kings 2-1, lost to Predators 5-3, lost to Blues 2-1 in SO
This Week’s Games: vs. Canucks, at Oilers, vs. Kings
Key Players: Jarome Iginla, Rene Bourque, Olli Jokinen,
Key Stat: .928 save percentage (4th-best in NHL)

10. Boston Bruins (43 points)
Last Week’s Results: lost to Blackhawks 5-4 in SO, lost to Maple Leafs 2-0, def Senators, 2-0, def Thrashers 6-4
This Week’s Games: at Panthers, at Lightning, vs. Thrashers
Key Players: Patrice Bergeron, Zdeno Chara, Mark Recchi
Key Stat: Tuukka Rask: 1.97 GAA (best in NHL)

11. Atlanta Thrashers (40 points)
Last Week’s Results: def Stars 6-5 in OT, lost to Devils 5-4, lost to Canadiens 4-3 in OT, lost to Bruins 6-4
This Week’s Games: at Lightning, at Devils, at Bruins
Key Players: Ilya Kovalchuk, Maxim Afinogenov
Key Stat: Tobias Enstrom: 29 points this season (5th-most among NHL defensemen)

12. Los Angeles Kings (47 points)
Last Week’s Results: lost to Flames 2-1
This Week’s Games: at Coyotes, vs. Wild, at Flames
Key Players: Anze Kopitar, Dustin Brown, Jarret Stoll
Key Stat: Jonathan Quick: 20 goaltending wins (5th-most in NHL)

13. Nashville Predators (47 points)
Last Week’s Results: def Oilers 6-3, def Flames 5-3, lost to Canucks 4-1
This Week’s Games: vs. Blackhawks, at Blackhawks, at Blues
Key Players: J.P. Dumont, Martin Erat, David Legwand

14. Colorado Avalanche (48 points)

Last Week’s Results: vs. Blue Jackets 5-2, at Wild 4-3, lost to Ducks 4-2
This Week’s Games: vs. Stars, at Senators
Key Players: Paul Statsny, Wojtek Wolski, Milan Hejduk
Key Stat: Craig Anderson: 969 saves this season (best in NHL)

15. New York Rangers (39 points)
Last Week’s Results: def Islanders 5-2, def Flyers 2-1, def Hurricanes 3-1, def Panthers 4-1
This Week’s Games: vs. Islanders, vs. Flyers
Key Players: Marian Gaborik, Vaclav Prospal, Michael Del Zotto
Key Stat: Marian Gaborik: 49 points this season (most in Eastern Conference)

16. Detroit Red Wings (41 points)

Last Week’s Results: def Lightning 3-0, lost to Stars 4-3, lost to Blackhawks 3-0, lost to Blackhawks 3-0
This Week’s Games: vs. Blue Jackets, at Blue Jackets
Key Players: Henrik Zetterberg, Pavel Datsyuk, Todd Bertuzzi

17. Dallas Stars (43 points)

Last Week’s Results: lost to Thrashers 6-5 in OT, def Red Wings 4-3, lost to Sharks 4-2, def Blue Jackets 3-1
This Week’s Games: at Avalanche, vs. Blackhawks
Key Players: Brad Richards, Loui Eriksson, James Neal
Key Stat: 11 overtime losses (leads NHL), Brad Richards has 32 assists this season (4th-most in NHL)

18. St. Louis Blues (39 points)

Last Week’s Results: lost to Lightning 6-3, def Canucks 3-1, def Oilers 7-2, def Flames 2-1 in SO
This Week’s Games: at Wild, vs. Sabres, vs. Predators
Key Players: Brad Boyes, Erik Johnson, Andy McDonald
Key Stat: 6-11-2 home record (worst in NHL), 93 goals scored this season (worst in Western Conference)

19. Philadelphia Flyers (34 points)

Last Week’s Results: lost to Penguins 3-2 in SO, lost to Rangers 2-1, lost to Panthers 4-1, def Lightning 5-2
This Week’s Games: at Hurricanes, at Islanders, at Rangers
Key Players: Mike Richards, Jeff Carter, Chris Pronger
Key Stat: Daniel Carcillo: 100 penalty minutes this season (2nd-most in NHL)

20. Montreal Canadiens (39 points)
Last Week’s Results: lost to Wild 3-1, def Islanders 3-0, def Thrashers 4-3 in OT, Hurricanes 5-1, Maple Leafs 3-2 in OT
This Week’s Games: at Senators, at Lightning
Key Players: Tomas Plekanec, Mike Cammalleri, Andrei Kostitsyn
Key Stat: Tomas Plekanec: 36 assists (2nd-most in NHL)

21. Minnesota Wild (39 points)
Last Week’s Results: lost to Senators 4-1, lost to Avalanche 4-3, def Oilers 3-1
This Week’s Games: vs. Blues, at Kings, at Ducks
Key Players: Mikko Koivu, Andrew Brunette, Martin Havlat

22. Ottawa Senators (40 points)
Last Week’s Results: lost to Devils 4-2, def Wild 4-1, lost to Bruins 2-0, lost to Penguins 8-2
This Week’s Games: at Sabres, vs. Canadiens, vs. Avalanche
Key Players: Daniel Alfredsson, Mike Fisher, Milan Michalek
Key Stat: 13-5-3 home record (leads Eastern Conference)

23. Florida Panthers (39 points)

Last Week’s Results: def Hurricanes 6-3, lost to Hurricanes 3-2, def Flyers 4-1, lost to Rangers 4-1
This Week’s Games: vs. Bruins
Key Players: Stephen Weiss, Nathan Horton, Steve Reinprecht
Key Stat: 6-6-5 home record (worst in Eastern Conference)

24. Anaheim Ducks (37 points)
Last Week’s Results: lost to Sharks 4-1, def Coyotes 4-2, def Avalanche 4-2, lost to Coyotes 4-0
This Week’s Games: at Sharks, vs. Wild
Key Players: Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry, Bobby Ryan

25. Edmonton Oilers (34 points)
Last Week’s Results: lost to Predators 6-3, lost to Capitals 4-2, lost to Blues 7-2, lost to Wild 3-1
This Week’s Games: at Canucks, vs. Flames, vs. Maple Leafs
Key Players: Dustin Penner, Lubomir Visnovsky, Ales Hemsky

26. Tampa Bay Lightning (35 points)
Last Week’s Results: lost to Red Wings 3-0, def Blues 6-3, def Islanders 4-2, lost to Flyers 5-2
This Week’s Games: vs. Thrashers, vs. Bruins, vs. Canadiens
Key Players: Martin St. Louis, Steven Stamkos, Ryan Malone
Key Stat: Martin St. Louis: 34 assists (3rd-most in NHL)

27. Toronto Maple Leafs (34 points)
Last Week’s Results: lost to Sabres 5-2, def Bruins 2-0, lost to Sabres 3-2 in OT, lost to Islanders 3-1
This Week’s Games: vs. Canadiens, at Penguins, at Oilers
Key Players: Tomas Kaberle, Matt Stajan, Niklas Hagman

28. New York Islanders (35 points)

Last Week’s Results: lost to Rangers 5-2, lost to Canadiens 3-0, lost to Maple Leafs 4-2, def Maple Leafs 3-1
This Week’s Games: at Rangers, vs. Flyers, vs. Blue Jackets
Key Players: John Tavares, Matt Moulson, Kyle Okposo

29. Columbus Blue Jackets (35 points)
Last Week’s Results: lost to Coyotes 2-1 in SO, lost to Avalanche 5-2, lost to Coyotes 5-2, lost to Stars 3-1
This Week’s Games: at Red Wings, vs. Red Wings, at Islanders
Key Players: Rick Nash, Antoine Vermette, Kristian Huselius
Key Stat: 134 goals against this season (worst in Western Conference)

30. Carolina Hurricanes (24 points)
Last Week’s Results: lost to Panthers 6-3, def Panthers 3-2, lost to Rangers 3-1, lost to Canadiens 5-1
This Week’s Games: vs. Flyers, at Capitals
Key Players: Ray Whitney, Tuomo Ruutu, Jussi Jokinen
Key Stat: 1-13-4 road record (worst in NHL), 90 goals scored this season (also worst in NHL), 136 goals against this season (most in NHL)

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