NHL Power Rankings: Ovechkin and the Capitals Lead the East

Tom Schreier@tschreier3Correspondent INovember 15, 2010

NHL Power Rankings: Ovechkin and the Capitals Lead the East

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    BOSTON - OCTOBER 21:  Head coach Bruce Boudreau of the Washington Capitals and (l-r) Marcus Johansson #90, Alex Ovechkin #8, Nicklas Backstrom #19, Mike Knuble #22, Alexander Semin #28 and assistant coach Dean Evason look on from the bench against the Bos
    Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

    Washington, Philly and LA all have been playing up to expectations. Time will tell if the Caps and Kings will perform in the playoffs.

    The Flyers have to be happy to know that Jeff Carter will be in Philly long-term after losing Simon Gagne over the summer.

    Anaheim has been playing surprisingly well and the Pacific, in general, is looking solid.

    Vernon Fiddler and Ray Whitney had back-to-back hat tricks for the 'Yotes.

    St. Louis has hit the skids after a solid showing last week. Columbus looks like it wants to take the Blues' place.

    Just when things couldn't go worse for the Devils, Kovalchuk botches a shootout.

1. Washington Capitals

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    WASHINGTON - NOVEMBER 14:  Alex Ovechkin #8 of the Washington Capitals celebrates with teammates after scoring in the first period against the Atlanta Thrashers at the Verizon Center on November 14, 2010 in Washington, DC.  (Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Imag
    Greg Fiume/Getty Images

    Last week: 4

    Record: 13-4-1 (27 pts)

    The Capitals are among the NHL's top 10 in goals per game (first), goals against (10th), power-play percentage (ninth) and penalty-kill percentage (10th) and they have won six straight at home.

    Alexander Ovechkin and Alexander Semin have been clicking offensively. And Brooks Laich has the best plus-minus in the league with a plus-13 rating.

    Right now it looks like the Caps are the team to beat in the Southeast again. The question will be what they can do in the clutch.

2. Philadelphia Flyers

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    PHILADELPHIA - NOVEMBER 01:  Jeff Carter #17 of the Philadelphia Flyers skates against the Carolina Hurricanes on November 1, 2010 at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Flyers defeat the Hurricanes 3-2.  (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Image
    Mike Stobe/Getty Images

    Last week: 5

    Record: 11-4-2 (24 pts)

    The team is among the league's top 10 in goals per game (second), goals against (fifth), power-play percentage (eighth) and penalty kill (seventh).

    Additionally, Jeff Carter signed an 11-year, $58 million deal with the Broad Street Bullies.

    All is well in the City of Brotherly Love.

3. Los Angeles Kings

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    LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 30:  (L-R) Jake Muzzin #6, Jarret Stoll #28 and Dustin Brown #23 of the Los Angeles Kings celebrate their teams victory over the New Jersey Devils at Staples Center on October 30, 2010 in Los Angeles, California. The Kings defeat
    Jeff Gross/Getty Images

    Last week: 2

    Record: 12-3-0 (24 pts)

    The Kings have the league's best defense and penalty kill. Their three goals per game is eighth in the league.

    If they can get their power play going, the Kings are going to be tough to beat in the West.

    In their six-straight wins heading into San Jose, the Kings have only given up more than one goal once.

4. Detroit Red Wings

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    DETROIT,MI - NOVEMBER 13:  Niklas Kronwall #55 of the Detroit Red Wings defends in a game against the Colorado Avalanche on November 13, 2010 at the Joe Louis Arena in Detroit, Michigan. The Wings defeated the Avalanche 3-1. (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty
    Claus Andersen/Getty Images

    Last week: 7

    Record: 11-3-1 (23 pts)

    While everyone else in the Central is hitting the skids, the Wings continue to propel themselves forward.

    Detroit has the league's third-best offense and is among the top 10 in goals against and penalty kill. However, like LA, they need to get their power play going.

    The team has won three straight and has a big matchup with St. Louis in the Joe on Wednesday.

5. Montreal Canadiens

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    BUFFALO, NY - NOVEMBER 05: Tyler Ennis #63 of the Buffalo Sabres fights for puck control with P.K. Subban #76 of the Montreal Canadiens on November 5, 2010 at HSBC Arena in Buffalo, New York.  (Photo by Rick Stewart/Getty Images)
    Rick Stewart/Getty Images

    Last week: 9

    Record: 11-5-1 (23 pts)

    Defense is keeping the Canadiens among the league's finest. They're third overall in goals against and penalty kill.

    In addition, PK Subban is emerging as a young star.

    The team put up seven against Carolina on Saturday, but it needs a consistent effort from its offense every night.

6. Vancouver Canucks

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    TORONTO - NOVEMBER 13: Daniel Sedin #22 and Ryan Kesler #17 of the Vancouver Canucks celebrate Ryan Kesler goal during game action against the Toronto Maple Leafs at the Air Canada Centre November 13, 2010 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Abelimages
    Abelimages/Getty Images

    Last week: 3

    Record: 10-4-2 (22 pts)

    Behind the dangerous Sedin twins, the Canucks have the league's best power play and are scoring more than three goals per game.

    The Canucks' D remains solid and the penalty kill is coming together.

    Vancouver has won eight of its last nine, but it may hit a roadblock with games in Pittsburgh and against Chicago next week.

7. St. Louis Blues

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    ST. LOUIS - OCTOBER 30: Erik Johnson #6 of the St. Louis Blues controls the puck against Dustin Byfuglien #33 of the Atlanta Thrashers at the Scottrade Center on October 30, 2010 in St. Louis, Missouri.  The Blues beat the Thrashers 4-3 in a shootout.  (P
    Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

    Last week: 1

    Record: 9-3-3 (21 pts)

    After winning seven straight, the Blues have dropped three in a row, including an embarrassing 8-1 blooper in Columbus.

    The Blues have an opportunity to bounce back on Monday when they face the young Colorado Avalanche on Versus.

8. Pittsburgh Penguins

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    Last week: 15

    Record: 9-8-1 (19 pts)

    Pittsburgh is scoring more than three goals per game and it has the fifth-best penalty kill. But it is struggling on the power play and is not playing great defense.

    Evgeni Malkin has stepped his game up. He had a hat trick in Atlanta on Saturday.

9. Phoenix Coyotes

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    DETROIT - OCTOBER 28:  Vernon Fiddler #38 of the Phoenix Coyotes skates against the Detroit Red Wings during their NHL game at Joe Louis Arena on October 28, 2010 in Detroit, Michigan.(Photo By Dave Sandford/Getty Images)
    Dave Sandford/Getty Images

    Last week: 25

    Record: 7-5-5 (19 pts)

    Like the Ducks, the Coyotes continue to hang around in the Pacific thanks to hat tricks from Vernon Fiddler and Ray Whitney on back-to-back nights.

    Phoenix has won three-straight, including contests against Chicago and St. Louis. But it will have to prove itself with three road games north of the border next week.

10. Anaheim Ducks

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    SAN JOSE, CA - NOVEMBER 09:  Kent Huskins #40 of the San Jose Sharks is surrounded by Josh Green #12, Ryan Carter #20 and George Parros #16 of the Anaheim Ducks defense at HP Pavilion on November 9, 2010 in San Jose, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty
    Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

    Last week: 20

    Record: 10-7-2 (22 pts)

    The scrappy Ducks won six straight before losing to Chicago in OT on Sunday.

    Jonas Hiller has been solid in net, and the young core of Bobby Ryan, Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry have been providing him offensive support on a regular basis.

11. Ottawa Senators

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    OTTAWA, CANADA - NOVEMBER 11:  Alex Kovalev #27 of the Ottawa Senators skates up ice with the puck during a game against the Vancouver Canucks at Scotiabank Place on November 11, 2010 in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.  (Photo by Phillip MacCallum/Getty Images)
    Phillip MacCallum/Getty Images

    Last week: 17

    Record: 9-7-1 (19 pts)

    Ottawa has won five of its last six contests and continues to hang around in the Eastern Conference.

    Three road games in Philly, Raleigh and St. Louis will be a test for this team next week.

12. Columbus Blue Jackets

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    ATLANTA - NOVEMBER 04:  Derick Brassard #16 of the Columbus Blue Jackets reacts after scoring a goal against the Atlanta Thrashers at Philips Arena on November 4, 2010 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    Last week: 14

    Record: 9-6-0 (18 pts)

    With limited offensive firepower, the Blue Jackets hold the league's worst power play.

    However, they routed division rival St. Louis in Ohio on Wednesday, and Derick Brassard is coming into his own.

13. San Jose Sharks

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    ST. LOUIS - NOVEMBER 4: Antti Niemi #31 of the San Jose Sharks makes a save against the St. Louis Blues at the Scottrade Center on November 4, 2010 in St. Louis, Missouri.  (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
    Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

    Last week: 12

    Record: 8-5-2 (18 pts)

    The Sharks power play is clicking (fifth in the NHL), but their offense is not. They score less than three goals per game.

    Antti Niemi is struggling in teal, but he got the win against Calgary.

    Their game against the Kings in the Tank will give the Sharks an indication of where they are early in the season.

14. Tampa Bay Lightning

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    Last week: 8

    Record: 8-7-2 (18 pts)

    The Lightning have lost Vinny Lecavalier and still have a top 10 offense and one of the league's best special teams units.

    Steven Stamkos is having a strong year. He leads the league in points and goals. Three-straight losses have set this team back in the Southeast Division.

15. Boston Bruins

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    PITTSBURGH - NOVEMBER 10:  Tim Thomas #30 of the Boston Bruins makes a save against the Pittsburgh Penguins in the third period at Consol Energy Center on November 10, 2010 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  The Bruins defeated the Penguins 7-4.  (Photo by Jus
    Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

    Last week: 6

    Record: 8-5-1 (17 pts)

    The Bruins have the second-best defense in the league and fourth-best penalty kill, but cannot seem to accumulate points.

    Boston had a big 7-4 win over Pittsburgh, but it has lost four of its last five.

16. Nashville Predators

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    NASHVILLE, TN - NOVEMBER 13:  Cal O'Reilly #16 of the Nashville Predators scores a shootout goal against Marty Turco #30 of the Chicago Blackhawks at the Bridgestone Arena on November 13, 2010 in Nashville, Tennessee.  (Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Im
    Frederick Breedon/Getty Images

    Last week: 21

    Record: 7-5-3 (17 pts)

    The Predators struggled on their five-game road trip—only picking up two points.

    However, they have beat St. Louis and Detroit in their last two contests.

17. Chicago Blackhawks

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    NASHVILLE, TN - NOVEMBER 13:   Patric Hornqvist #27 of the Nashville Predators tries to defend Duncan Keith #2 of the Chicago Blackhawks at the Bridgestone Arena on November 13, 2010 in Nashville, Tennessee.  (Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images)
    Frederick Breedon/Getty Images

    Last week: 10

    Record: 9-9-2 (20 pts)

    The Hawks are clicking on the power play (third in the league) but otherwise they are struggling across the board.

    They've lost five of their last seven, with their only wins coming against Atlanta and Anaheim. And they are about to enter a massive six-game road trip.

18. New York Rangers

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    NEW YORK - NOVEMBER 14:  Ladislav Smid #5 of the Edmonton Oilers is throws to the ice by Sean Avery #16 of the New York Rangers after Smid said something to Avery regarding a hard check Avery threw during the third period of a hockey game at Madison Squar
    Paul Bereswill/Getty Images

    Last week: 18

    Record: 9-7-1 (19 pts)

    Marian Gaborik returned in great fashion, netting a hat trick in an 8-2 rout of the Oilers.

    Maybe this big win is just what the Blueshirts needed to get them through next week, when they face Pittsburgh, Boston and Colorado.

19. Colorado Avalanche

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    DENVER - NOVEMBER 09:  Goalie Peter Budaj #31 of the Colorado Avalanche defends the goal against the Calgary Flames at the Pepsi Center on November 9, 2010 in Denver, Colorado. The Flames defeated the Avalanche 4-2.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
    Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

    Last week: 13

    Record: 8-7-1 (17 pts)

    Peter Budaj has done well in place of Craig Anderson, who is suffering from a knee injury.

    The Avalanche continue to play well offensively, but their poor defensive effort is catching up with them.

    Colorado has three games in Denver to pull it together next week.

20. Atlanta Thrashers

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    NEW YORK - OCTOBER 27:  Evander Kane #9 of the Atlanta Thrashers celebrates his seond period goal against the New York Rangers with teammate Anthony Stewart #22on October 27, 2010 at Madison Square Garden in New York City.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Ima
    Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

    Last week: 19

    Record: 7-8-3 (17 pts)

    Like the Avalanche, the Thrashers have been solid offensively but are not putting forth a great effort at their own end.

    As a result, they have lost five of their last six games.

21. Minnesota Wild

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    EDMONTON, CANADA - OCTOBER 21: Niklas Backstrom #32 of the Minnesota Wild skates against the Edmonton Oilers on October 21, 2010 at Rexall Place in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. (Photo by Dale MacMillan/Getty Images)
    Dale MacMillan/Getty Images

    Last week: 11

    Record: 8-6-2 (18 pts)

    Minnesota has been playing great defense and is prolific on special teams. But it plays inconsistently due to poor five-on-five play.

    The Wild were crushed by Atlanta 5-1 in Georgia and could not beat Florida on the road. However, they were able to rout the Bolts in Tampa.

    They return to St. Paul on Wednesday to play the Ducks.

22. Buffalo Sabres

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    Last week: 29

    Record: 6-9-3 (15 pts)

    Buffalo has gone into OT in its last four contests and won three of them.

    Ryan Miller is back and the team plays five of its next six in western New York.

    Maybe they can get it turned around.

23. Dallas Stars

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    LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 11:  Loui Eriksson #21 of the Dallas Stars warms up before the game against the Los Angeles Kings at the Staples Center on November 11, 2010 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
    Harry How/Getty Images

    Last week: 16

    Record: 8-7-0 (16 pts)

    Dallas has lost three straight, including a strangling at the hands of the young Avs in Denver. They lost 5-0.

    The Stars have two games in Texas before Colorado comes to town.

24. Carolina Hurricanes

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    PHILADELPHIA - NOVEMBER 01:  Jussi Jokinen #36 of the Carolina Hurricanes skates against the Philadelphia Flyers on November 1, 2010 at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Flyers defeat the Hurricanes 3-2.  (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Ima
    Mike Stobe/Getty Images

    Last week: 22

    Record: 8-9-0 (16 pts)

    Carolina is putting the puck in the net. But it has struggled on special teams and it has the second-worst defense in the league.

    The 'Canes have been drubbed in their last two contests—8-1 against Philly and 7-2 in Montreal.

25. Florida Panthers

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    SUNRISE, FL - NOVEMBER 3: Bryan McCabe #24 of the Florida Panthers skates with the puck prior to the game against the Atlanta Thrashers on November 3, 2010 at the BankAtlantic Center in Sunrise, Florida. (Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images)
    Joel Auerbach/Getty Images

    Last week: 24

    Record: 7-8-0 (14 pts)

    Florida snuffed the Wild (2-1) on a hot streak and drubbed Toronto 4-1, but it was routed by Philly 5-2 and it has to play its next three on the road.

    The Cats need to find some help on the power play. Their 10.4-percent conversion rate is second worst in the league.

26. Calgary Flames

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    DENVER - NOVEMBER 09:  Jarome Iginla #12 of the Calgary Flames skates against the Colorado Avalanche at the Pepsi Center on November 9, 2010 in Denver, Colorado. The Flames defeated the Avalanche 4-2.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
    Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

    Last week: 23

    Record: 7-9-0 (14 pts)

    Jarome Iginla is in head coach Brent Sutter's doghouse. He was demoted to the fourth line against San Jose on Saturday.

    The Sutter family may have some bigger fish to fry, however. Young Brett Sutter reportedly got rowdy while drunk and punched a cabbie.

27. Toronto Maple Leafs

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    TORONTO, ON - NOVEMBER 06:  Clarke MacArthur #16 of the Toronto Maple Leafs skates against the Buffalo Sabres at the Air Canada Centre on November 6, 2010 in Toronto, Canada. The Sabres defeated the Maple Leafs 3-2.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
    Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

    Last week: 26

    Record: 5-8-3 (13 pts)

    The Leafs have lost eight games in a row.

    The good news is that they get New Jersey on Thursday before playing Montreal in the Bell Centre Saturday on the NHL Network.

28. Edmonton Oilers

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    NEWARK, NJ - NOVEMBER 12:  Colin Fraser #16 of the Edmonton Oilers defends on a power play in a hockey game against the New Jersey Devils at the Prudential Center on November 12, 2010 in Newark, New Jersey.  (Photo by Paul Bereswill/Getty Images)
    Paul Bereswill/Getty Images

    Last week: 27

    Record: 4-9-3 (11 pts)

    The Oil have the league's worst power play and worst penalty kill.

    The Rangers put up eight goals on them last night, making it three of the last four games that this team has been blown out.

29. New York Islanders

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    ANAHEIM, CA - NOVEMBER 10:  John Tavares #91 of the New York Islanders adjusts his visor against the Anaheim Ducks at the Honda Center on November 10, 2010 in Anaheim, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
    Harry How/Getty Images

    Last week: 28

    Record: 4-10-3 (11 pts)

    The Islanders have obtained one point in their last 10 games.

    One point.

    On the bright side, they did not land Kovalchuk in the offseason (see next slide).

30. New Jersey Devils

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    Last week: 30

    Record: 5-10-2 (12 pts)

    Ilya Kovalchuk's whiff on the shootout against Buffalo succinctly sums up the beginning of the Devils' season.

    If you missed it, see the video above.

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