Bruins on top, Sens gain ground in NHL Power Rankings

Scott Cullen

1/16/2012 4:19:17 PM

Even with a modest 4-3 record over their last seven games, the Boston Bruins continue to reign atop the NHL Power Rankings, ahead of the Vancouver Canucks and New York Rangers, teams that flip-flipped second and third spots, respectively.

Among the teams making the biggest moves, the Ottawa Senators have climbed from 14 to 11, riding an 8-0-1 streak that has finally allowed them to hit break-even on goal differential this season. The Senators were ranked 30th in the preseason, so to have them on the cusp of the Top 10 is a major surprise.

New head coach Paul MacLean has not only brought out the best in stars like centre Jason Spezza and defenceman Erik Karlsson and benefitted from bounceback seasons from veterans Milan Michalek, Daniel Alfredsson and Sergei Gonchar, but he's pushed the right buttons when it comes to the supporting cast, getting quality production from the likes of Nick Foligno, Zack Smith and Erik Condra. Add in sudden a second-line scoring centre, with the acquisition of Kyle Turris, and the Senators are miles ahead of expectations.

The Kings continue to grind out points, getting back into playoff position by losing only once in regulation over their last 14 games. They still have trouble scoring, but they're not afraid to work for more than 60 minutes to get their result. They're up to 14, after sitting at 17 last week.

Improved play from goaltender Tomas Vokoun finally has the Capitals moving in the right direction. They're still missing number one centre Nicklas Backstrom, so their current ceiling is limited, but the Capitals have jumped from 22 to 18.

Falling the other way, the Dallas Stars and Minnesota Wild both lost their best players to injury and tumbled as a result. Dallas, minus Jamie Benn, is ranked 16, down from 12, while Minnesota, without Mikko Koivu (among others), has slipped from 19 to 23.

Florida has played only four games this month, but top-line troubles and injuries see them fall from 15 to 20.

Across Canada, after the Canucks and Senators, the Toronto Maple Leafs hold at 13, the Montreal Canadiens move up one, from 18 to 17. The Calgary Flames adding Mike Cammalleri and getting Mark Giordano back on the blueline, move from 24 to 21, while the Winnipeg Jets slump to 22 from 20. Finally, the Edmonton Oilers, missing their top two scorers, are down to 27 from 25.

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