Philadelphia Flyers or Vancouver Canucks: Who Tops the BCS NHL Power Rankings

Alan Zlotorzynski@@zlotsportsCorrespondent IIIFebruary 21, 2011

Philadelphia Flyers or Vancouver Canucks: Who Tops the BCS NHL Power Rankings

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    Andre Ringuette/Getty Images

    What a great day for hockey in all of North America. The United States celebrated "Hockey Day in America" and of course the Heritage Classic was played in Calgary tonight. What could top off a great week of hockey, a week that ended with 10 points separating the No. 3 and the No. 13 seeds in the Western Conference? How about a BCS-style NHL power rankings poll.  

    Welcome to Week 3 of the BCS-style NHL power rankings. Please click on the link below to see how this poll works. Remember, only the top 16 teams get ranked and any teams eligible for the playoffs not in the top 16 in the NHL.

    This week was a tad bit quieter than last week. This week resembled the NHL in February instead of the MMA on a Friday night in Vegas. There is a new No. 1 in this week's poll but not by much.

    Please leave your hate comments below, and as always, enjoy the show. 

No. 18 Carolina Hurricanes

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    Rod Brind'Amour had his jersey retired Friday nightJim McIsaac/Getty Images

    Last week rank: 18

    Points this week: 115

    Third in S.E. and eighth in East

    The best that happened in Carolina all week was the jersey retirement of Rod Brind'Amour. Every time I see Brind'Amour, I cannot help but think of my father. He almost got me killed at the All-Star game in Philadelphia one year because he kept pissing off the Philly faithful. My father was not, is not very good at pronouncing hockey names and used to call him Brian Damoore. You know how those Philly fans get. Cannot say I blame them with the way he was butchering the name.

    The Canes are holding on to the last playoff spot in the east. Right now, they are there by default. With a record of 3-5-2 in their last 10 games, staying there even by default may be a chore. The next two chasers for the final spot, the Sabres and Thrashers, are on three-game losing streaks, and Buffalo lost those three at home. Whatever happens with this year’s eighth spot, rest assured they won't be in the conference finals like the Canadians were last year.  

No. 17 Dallas Stars: Trouble in Big D

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    Everyone is celebrating against Dallas these daysDave Sandford/Getty Images

    Last week rank: 14

    Points: 140

    Third in Pacific and eighth in West

    The Stars have slid from third in the Western Conference all the way to eighth during a current 2-7-1 slide, and they have not won in regulation since Jan. 26. Losers of four straight, Dallas is in danger of missing the playoffs, and with the way they are losing games, snapping out of this bad stretch may be tough.

    Dallas took a 2-1 second-period lead in Calgary on Wednesday, but the game ended the way many have ended lately for Dallas. The Flames scored late in the period to tie it, and then added two more in the third to beat Dallas 4-2.

    With the red hot Devils, Red Wings and Predators on this week’s schedule, it could be a long week in Big D.

No. 16 Anaheim Ducks: Looking For Some Aflac Without Hiller

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    Ryan and GetzlafJeff Gross/Getty Images

    Last week rank: 15

    Points: 195

    Fifth in Pacific and 10th in West

    Jonas Hiller is out with symptoms of fatigue and dizziness, and that is how the Ducks are playing without him on defense. The Ducks need backup goalie Curtis McElhinney to step up, and it has not happened. Young rookie defenseman Cam Fowler continues to ride the minus train but so does the rest of the Ducks team.

    Two nights after surrendering four leads and seven goals to Washington, McElhinney was beaten five times by the offensively-challenged Wild in a 5-1 loss at Minnesota, and on Saturday night, were hammered by the Blues 9-3. McElhinney was given the hook after allowing four goals on 11 shots in the first period in favor of rookie Timo Pielmeier.

    The Ducks have dropped to 10th in the west and are 6-4 in their last 10 games.

No. 15 Calgary Flames; Trade Rumors as Cold as Temperature at Classic

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    Andre Ringuette/Getty Images

    Last week rank: 17

    Points: 195

    Second in Northwest and sixth in West

    While Calgary is not the No. 1 team in this week's poll, they do own the distinction, in my opinion, of having the greatest looking old-time throwback uniforms in the history of sports at the Heritage Classic. They were historic looking (without the history) and ugly enough to make you think they were actually around 100 years ago.

    Where are all of those trade rumors now Flames fans? Sure has cooled a bit here on B/R and who can blame them if the Flames stand pat, allowing Feb 28 to come and go without making a big-time deadline deal.

    The Flames are winners of three in a row and are 7-1-2 in their last 10 games. The Flames have collected 27 of a possible 34 points in their last 17 games. Over that span, Calgary is averaging 3.76 goals per game.

No. 14 Montreal Canadiens: With Bruins Wheeling and Dealing, Will Habs Stand Pat

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    Andre Ringuette/Getty Images

    Last week rank: 12

    Points: 210

    Second in N.E and sixth in East

    If props go to Calgary's best throwback uni's ever, then Carey Price for sure for best and most original mask in recent memory. All style points aside, the Habs could be in trouble. Montreal is 4-4-2 in their last 10, and without Carey Price, could easily be 2-8 over that stretch. The Canadiens need help on offense, and with the Boston Bruins very active this week on the trade market, the Habs are now backed into a corner.

    The Habs had a golden opportunity to overtake Washington this week, and in fact, did for an evening but quickly fell back to sixth place in the east after losing at Edmonton.

    The Bruins made a pair of big trades Friday, landing standout defenseman Tomas Kaberle from Toronto as well as forward Rich Peverley and defenseman Mark Stuart from Atlanta; the natural question became what, if anything, the Habs will do in response prior to the Feb. 28 trade deadline.

    "If you look at it, there's a couple teams in the Conference that have tried to add and really bolster their lineups here in the last few weeks," Montreal forward Mike Cammalleri said. "Time tells. I say it all the time but that's how we play sports, that's why we drop the puck and play. We never know how things are going to unfold. Managers make these moves to try and strengthen their rosters, but we’ll see."

    General Manager Pierre Gauthier and head coach Jacques Martin should have a very busy week.  

No. 13 Washington Capitals: 7 Goals against Ducks Looks Like No Big Deal Now

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    Rick Stewart/Getty Images

    Last week rank: 13

    points: 225

    Second in S.E and fifth in east

    Everybody in Washington was proclaiming the return of the Caps offense and Alexander Semin this week when they put seven goals on the board, and Semin scored his fourth hat trick of the year, Wednesday night in Anaheim.

    Problem is not only did Anaheim make the Caps feel good about their offense this week, they obliged the Minnesota Wild and St. Blues as well. In fact, seven goals was not even the most the Ducks surrendered this week. The Blues scored nine times Saturday night.

    Washington's power play and offense are in bad shape, and now, their defense showed some signs of weakness this week.Washington went 22 straight games without allowing multiple goals in the third period of any of its games. The Capitals allowed a total of just six third-period goals in those 22 contests. 

    Lately, the Capitals have been vulnerable, allowing at least one third-period goal in each of five straight games, the first time this season that has occurred. Washington has allowed two or more goals in the last period in three of its last five games and has surrendered a total of nine third-period tallies in its last five games.


No. 12 Minnesota Wild: In the Land of 1000 Lakes, a Draught Watch Is in Effect

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    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    Last week rank: ninth

    points: 242.5

    Third in N.W and seventh in west

    Minnesota is 6-3-1 in their last 10 games and have cooled slightly over last week, What drops the Wild down three spots are their drop in offensive production. Now a minus-one in goal differential, the Wild must start to find some kind of offensive rhythm, or this will be a season of would have, could have and most definitely should have made the playoffs.

    Prior to scoring five goals against Anaheim on Friday night, the Wild were outscored 8-3 in losses to Vancouver, Chicago and Detroit. I'm not sure that without some outside help, this offense can hold on and make the playoffs this year.

No. 11 New York Rangers: Big Game in Carolina on Tuesday

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    Chris Trotman/Getty Images

    Last week rank: ninth

    points: 245

    Third in Atlantic and seventh in east 

    The Rangers, like the Hurricanes, are holding on, just barely. The Blue Shirts take a trip to Carolina on Tuesday to play in a game with a lot of meaning. The Rangers are just 2-7-1 in their last 10, and since the clock struck 2011, the Rangers have won just seven of 20 games.

    So why in the hell are they ranked so high you ask? Compared to the rest of the poll, the Rangers score 40 or more pints in four of the six categories and are a plus-16 in goal differential compared to teams like Tampa Bay, Minnesota, Anaheim and Dallas who are all a minus on the year.

    Look for the Rangers to be active this week in trying to land some help on their power play, which is ranked 25 out of 30 teams in the NHL.

No. 10 Los Angeles Kings: They're on Their Way, Home Sweet Home

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    Paul Bereswill/Getty Images

    Last week rank: 11

    points: 257.5

    Fourth in Pacific and ninth in west

    The Kings are sitting pretty right now. pretty much finished with their franchise record 10-game road trip, with the last stop coming just 50 miles from home, in Anaheim on Wednesday night. The Kings have played as well as any team could with 10 straight on the road.

    6-1-3 over their last 10 games, the Kings play 11 of their next 15 games at home where they are 17-9-1 this season. I have a feeling that this team could separate from the pack over that span, but it still must be frustrating to be playing so well, and after Sunday, not be in a playoff spot.

    The Kings could control their own fate concerning the four-way tie with teams between sixth and ninth. LA plays Anaheim, Minnesota, Phoenix and Dallas. All teams in those spots are within close striking distance for LA.

No. 9 Tampa Bay Lightning: Bolts Wrapping Up Record Home Stand

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    Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

    Last week rank: sixth

    points: 270

    First in S.E. and second in east 

    Tampa coach Guy Boucher was afraid this might happen. At the beginning of the NHL record-tying 12- game home stand, Boucher cautioned that teams can get complacent, and no matter how good you are the NHL routine, including travel, plays a key role in a team’s success.

    The Lightning, who were on fire, have dipped lately, especially late in games. After winning six in a row, the Bolts have now lost five of their last seven. They have managed to earn a point in two of those losses, but it is very different from the streak they were enjoying.

    Part of Tampa's problem is defense, allowing just one goal per game over the six-game winning streak, Tampa is allowing 4.42 goals per game in their last seven. Like VP and GM Steve Yzerman has done since he walked in and took over in the offseason, he addressed the situation and acquired help on Friday.

    Tampa Bay acquired defenseman Eric Brewer from the St. Louis Blues for prospect Brock Beukeboom and a third-round pick in the 2011 Entry Draft. Brewer, who has been captain in St. Louis since the 2007-08 season, had eight goals and 14 points in 54 games for the Blues.

    The 31-year-old Brewer is averaging more than 22 minutes of ice time per game this season, a total he has achieved in seven of the previous eight seasons.

No. 8 Phoenix Coyotes: Howling Their Way to the Top in the Pacific

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    Frederick Breedon/Getty Images

    Last week rank: 16

    Points: 275

    First in Pacific and thhird in west

    Another game, another win for the streaking Coyotes, who have not lost since Vancouver, blew them out, 6-0 on Feb. 2. The Coyotes have won seven in a row and began a five-game road trip with a big win over a team ranked ahead of them in this poll—the Nashville Predators Saturday night. Only New Jersey is hotter over their last 10 games. The Coyotes are 8-2 over that span and are playing tight defensive-trapping hockey.

    Phoenix has scored an average 3.3 goals per game but has only given up 1.57 against during the winning streak. Beating Nashville on the road is no small feat—impressive actually. Nashville was coming off one of their best performances of the season in a 3-1 win over Vancouver and was 3-0-1 in their last four, until Sunday.

    Phoenix plays good team hockey and plays solid between the blue lines, leaving teams frustrated. Just the kind of hockey that wins you more than just a few games come April-May and possibly mid-June.

No. 7 San Jose Sharks: Sharks Taking Big Bites This Past Week

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    Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

    Rank last week: 10

    Points: 312.50

    Second in Pacific and fourth in west

    The Sharks and Coyotes are both 8-2 over their last 10 games and battling it out for the lead in the Pacific. They are ranked ahead of Phoenix because they have a better winning percentage (only slightly), have given up less goals and have a better record within the Pacific. They also have a better goal differential  than the Coyotes.

    San Jose is 3-0 against Phoenix this year with three left to play, including a home-and-home to close out the regular season. This is a long way from being decided.

No. 6 Nashville Predators:

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    Frederick Breedon/Getty Images

    Last week rank: seventh

    points: 315

    Second in central and fifth in west

    Before losing to Phoenix, the Predators were coming off one of their best performances of the season in a 3-1 win over Vancouver but are just 4-4-1 over their last 10, dropping to fifth in the west.

    Suffering offensively, David Poile went out and acquired Mike Fisher. The veteran center was acquired from the Ottawa Senators in exchange for a 2011 first-round pick. The Senators also will receive a conditional 2010 draft pick depending on how the Predators fare in the playoffs.

    Fisher has 14 goals and 24 points this season, and the Predators need all the offense they can get. They finished the week ranked 25 in offense, scoring just 2.54 goals per game. With their defense and goaltending, the Preds are nearly unbeatable when they get a good offensive output. Nashville is 23-4-1 when they score three or more goals this season.

No. 5 Pittsburgh Penguins: Pens Still Earning Points Despite Injuries

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    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    Rank last week: fourth

    Points: 355

    Second in Atlantic fourth in east 

    Despite the absence of Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, the Pens have managed to accumulate points. Pittsburgh managed to earn a point Sunday in a 3-2 shootout loss at Chicago. Brett Sterling erased a 2-1 deficit for the Pens when he scored with 3:18 left in regulation.

     "Our team stayed with it and kept going," Penguins coach Dan Bylsma said. "We knew we were going to have to battle one out...we kept playing, and we got the goal and we'll take the point."

    How much longer can Pittsburgh continue to gut out wins with an injury report that reads liike this:

    Pittsburgh is without Crosby (concussion), Evgeni Malkin (knee), Mark Letestu (knee), Arron Asham (upper body), Chris Kunitz (lower body), Dustin Jeffrey (lower body) and Eric Tangradi (concussion). Nick Johnson also missed his first game Sunday with an upper-body injury.

    With all of the injuries, the Pens are still over .500 in their last 10  games with a record of 5-4-1.


No. 4 Detroit Red Wings: Detroit Waiting in the Wings To Make Their Move

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    Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

    Last week rank: fifth

    Points: 387.5

    First in central and second in west

    Detroit won its fifth straight game in a shootout on Sunday against the Minnesota Wild. Getting healthier by the day, the Wings seem to be surging at the right time.

    The Red Wings had at least one goal in 12 straight periods, scoring 20 times over the previous four games, but Wild goalie Nick Backstrom and the Minnesota defense stopped every opportunity by the league's second-highest scoring team over the first two periods on Sunday.

    Detroit's offense was "red wing" hot prior to today's game as it had combined for 20 goals in its last four games after netting only four goals in its previous four games. Over their last 10, they are 7-3 and have managed to close to within five of the Vancouver Canucks.


No. 3 Boston Bruins: Bruins Serious about Cup Run

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    Tomas KaberlePhillip MacCallum/Getty Images

    Last week rank: third

    points: 392.5

    First in NE and third in east

    On Friday afternoon, Boston Bruins General Manager Peter Chiarelli announced that the club had acquired defenseman Tomas Kaberle in a trade with the Toronto Maple Leafs, in exchange for forward Joe Colborn (currently with the Providence Bruins), Boston’s own first-round pick in this year’s draft and a conditional second-round pick in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft.

    Wait, there's more,  Just hours before the Boston Bruins were set to take on the Ottawa Senators, General Manager Peter Chiarelli announced that the club had acquired forward Rich Peverley and defenseman Boris Valabik in a trade with the Atlanta Thrashers in exchange for Bruins forward Blake Wheeler and defenseman Mark Stuart.

    I would say these moves send a very clear message about Boston's intentions this postseason—Stanley Cup.The Bruins are 6-4 in their last 10 and seemed to be back on track after losing three straight games for just the second time this year.

No. 2 Philadelphia Flyers: Drops To No. 2 This Week but For How Long

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    Chris Trotman/Getty Images

    Last week rank: first

    Points: 510

    First in Atlantic and First in east

    The Philadelphia Flyers made a great move Monday night in an attempt to end their 36-year-old Stanley Cup draught, as they acquired right wing Kris Versteeg from the Toronto Maple Leafs.

    The Maple Leafs, who acquired Versteeg from Chicago last summer, are currently 12th overall in the Eastern Conference. The Flyers gave up a first and third-round pick at the 2011 Entry Draft

    "Kris is an exciting young forward," Flyers GM Paul Holmgren said. "He's 24 years old, and he'll fit in with our group of players here. He's a quality forward that can play in a lot of different roles for our hockey team. He can move up and down our lineup. He can kill penalties. He can play on the power play. We think he's a guy that over the last few years, particularly in Chicago, has really blossomed into a good forward, and we think he's going to be a really good addition to our team."

    Versteeg, who has 14 goals and 21 assists this season in Toronto, should bolster an already potent offense.

    The Flyers are third in the League in goals per game and are 7-3 in their last 10 games. They finally beat the Lightning this year. Philly beat Tampa last Tuesday in a shootout to avoid the season series sweep.

No. 1 Vancouver Canucks: With Rash of Injuries How Long Can They Hold On

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    Frederick Breedon/Getty Images

    Last week rank: second

    points: 515

    First in northwest and first in west

    After winning six straight games, the Canucks have alternated wins and loses over their past four. 

    Things are getting a bit out of hand for Vancouver on the injury front. Defenseman Kevin Bieksa will miss the next 2-3 weeks of action with a broken foot. You can add Bieksa to the Canucks defensive injured list that includes Dan Hamhuis, Keith Ballard, Alex Edler, Lee Sweatt and Andrew Alberts. Getting to join the party from the AHL to take Bieksa’s place is Evan Oberg.

    Vancouver led the poll in goals scored and goal differential with a plus-60. Vancouver will play five in a row at home before traveling to play five in a row on the road.