Updated NHL Power Rankings: For Games from December 20-26

Andre Khatchaturian@AndreKhatchCorrespondent IIIDecember 28, 2011

Christmas has come and gone, and the New York Rangers are heating up with less than a week away from their Winter Classic tilt with the Philadelphia Flyers, who are also playing some solid hockey. On the other side of the spectrum, the Minnesota Wild are free-falling after a fast start. Where do they rank in the weekly power rankings? 

Let's take a look in the second edition of our power rankings. 

Power Rankings History: Dec 13-19 |


1. Boston Bruins 
Last week: 1 

Sorry, Rangers fans, the Bruins have outscored opponents 25-4 in the last five games and have won six straight. The team itself has only allowed 63 goals all season. Second place? The Rangers with 72 goals allowed, and they've only played one more game.

Oh, and the Bruins are also third in goals-scored, behind Chicago and Vancouver with three games in hand against both teams. Wow. 


2. New York Rangers 
Last week: 7 

The Rangers have won five straight and now have the most points in the Eastern Conference. Although the Bruins have a game in-hand against them, the Rangers are still playing very well, defeating the Philadelphia Flyers on Friday night.


3. Chicago Blackhawks 
Last week: 2 

The Blackhawks have the best record in the NHL and have a very favorable schedule up until the All-Star break with 13 of their next 16 games at home.

The Hawks' winning streak ended last Tuesday on the road at Pittsburgh, but they bounced back with two wins against the lowly Canadiens and the struggling Jackets.


4. Philadelphia Flyers 
Last week: 3 

How do you come back from a concussion? How about score a goal and three assists? That's what Claude Giroux did in his first game back against the Dallas Stars.

The Flyers, as a whole, have played well; but they got shutout 6-0 to Boston and recently lost to the Rangers indoors in the outdoor tuneup. This is a big week for the Flyers; Jaromir Jagr returns to Pittsburgh after turning his back on them for the second time this past summer, and they play the Rangers in Citizens Bank Field in the 2012 Winter Classic. 


5. Vancouver Canucks
Last week: 6 

After missing six weeks with a fractured foot, Andrew Ebbett returned and scored two big goals for the Canucks last night against the Oilers. The Canucks have now won four of their last five and finish up the year with Pacific Division opponents—San Jose, Los Angeles and Anaheim on the road.


6. Detroit Red Wings
Last week: 4 

A rough week for the Red Wings after losing twice in Canada before Christmas. They're now third in the Central Division but can make up ground with two games against the Blues and one more against the Blackhawks this week. 

7. St. Louis Blues
Last week: 8 

The Blues showed this week that they can win in more ways than one. They don't have to defensively shut down opponents; they put up five goals against the Stars and three more against the Coyotes.

Other than losing to the Avalanche, who nobody is beating these days, the Blues are on a roll. They've won three of four and now face the Red Wings twice this week for a chance to make a statement in the Central Division.


8. Pittsburgh Penguins
Last week: 9 

The Penguins defeated the Blackhawks last week, and it was a big statement. They had struggled against the NHL's best, losing games to the Rangers, Bruins, Flyers and Red Wings this past month.


9. San Jose Sharks
Last week: 11 

The Sharks' six-game point streak ended against Anaheim of all teams. 


10. Minnesota Wild
Last week: 5 

The free fall continues. Maybe a home game against Edmonton on Thursday will be the cure.


11. Nashville Predators
Last week: 10 

After a five-game winning streak, the Predators lost three of four games this week. Then, to top things off, they lost Shea Weber to a concussion.

It'll be interesting to see how the Predators respond to adversity.


12. Toronto Maple Leafs
Last week: 15 

It's true that Toronto only beat Buffalo and the Islanders this week. But considering that the teams surrounding them in these rankings didn't do much better, Toronto finds itself ranked No. 12.

The Leafs should thank Joffrey Lupul, who has recorded a point in eight of his last nine games.


13. Dallas Stars
Last Week: 13 

It's hard to make anything of the Stars just yet. They're an even .500 in their last ten games and seem to win and lose on an alternating basis.


14. New Jersey Devils
Last week: 14 

They've won seven of ten, but they've lost two of their last three. Also, it's never a good thing when your star player, Ilya Kovalchuk, scores a 200-foot goal in the opposing team's net.


15. Ottawa Senators
Last week: 18 

Another solid week for the Senators puts them three games above .500. The Sens have had great contributions from Jason Spezza and Erik Karlsson. Inconsistency at goal from Craig Anderson (15-11-3, 3.27 GAA, .900 SV%) may end up doing this team in the long run, though.


16. Florida Panthers
Last week: 12 

Is it more surprising that the Panthers have a six-point lead in the Southeast Division or that they're seeded third in the Eastern Conference?

In their last two games against the Bruins and Rangers, the Panthers have been outscored 14-1. It'll be interesting to see if they can hang with the big boys for the rest of the season.


17. Phoenix Coyotes
Last week: 16 

A Weak powerplay that's clicking at just 13 percent. No real scoring threats. Low attendance.

It's hard to see the Coyotes being successful, even if they do make the playoffs with this team.


18. Los Angeles Kings
Last week: 21 

Not a bad start to the Sutter era. The Kings are 2-0-1 with their new coach. Hopefully for them, this is the spark plug they needed to push them over the top.


19. Colorado Avalanche
Last week: 23 

What do Tim Tebow and the Colorado Avalanche have in common besides both playing in Denver?

All they do is win! The Avs have won six of seven, and they've beat some good teams like the Flyers, Sharks, Wild (albeit they're struggling) and the Blues along the way.


20. Winnipeg Jets
Last week: 19 

The Jets have had a favorable schedule this month. Twelve of their 14 December games were at home. They're 7-2-1 in those home games and have risen from the dead.

It'll be interesting to see if they can sustain this once their schedule gets tougher next month. 


21. Calgary Flames
Last week: 24 

After wins against the Wild, Wings and the Canucks, talk about a great week for the Flames. 


22. Buffalo Sabres
Last week: 16 

The Sabres didn't win a single game on their three-game road trip. They haven't won a road game since December 3. They beat Washington last week, but many questions face this injury-riddled team.


23. Washington Capitals
Last week: 20 

Good news for the Caps:

2008 Winter Classic participant: Pittsburgh.
2009 Stanley Cup champion: Pittsburgh.

2009 Winter Classic participant: Chicago.
2010 Stanley Cup champion: Chicago.

2010 Winter Classic participant: Boston.
2011 Stanley Cup champion: Boston.

There's still hope, Washington. 


24. Montreal Canadiens
Last week: 22 

Yeah, we're still sure that the Canadiens are struggling because their coach can't speak French.

Not because Scott Gomez hasn't scored in ages. Not because they have a leaky defense. Not because Michael Cammalleri only has six goals.

It's because their coach can't speak French. 

(Sarcasm for the Montreal media.)


25. Tampa Bay Lightning
Last week: 25 

The Lightning are only 8-7 when Stamkos scores a goal. He can't even do it on his own. Dude needs help on his team from his teammates. That's you, goalie. 


26. Edmonton Oilers
Last week: 26 

The Oilers have lost five of their last six, and their fast start seems like a dream from a long time ago.

That being said, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins is easily the Calder favorite with 13 goals and 21 assists.


27. Carolina Hurricanes
Last week: 28 

It's always awesome when a goalie gets a goal, even if he didn't shoot it.


28. Anaheim Ducks
Last week: 30 

The Ducks limped back to Anaheim on a positive note after a long trip. They lost to the Kings in a shootout and defeated the Sharks. 


29. New York Islanders
Last week: 27 

Isn't it kind of obvious why Evgeni Nabokov didn't want to play for this team?


30. Columbus Blue Jackets
Last week: 29 

They've lost seven of eight, and things don't seem like they're going to turn around sooner or later.

Maybe they can get that coveted No. 1 overall pick this year for the first time since drafting Rick Nash. 


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