It looks like Santa brought the NHL both good gifts as well as lumps of coal. Washington and New York Islanders have been playing their way out of their slumps lately. On the other side, Detroit seems to lose a player every time they win. Earlier in the week they lost Pavel Datsyuk to injury. Now they lose Dan Cleary to injury. To make matters worse for the Centrals best team, Chicago has been winning games without Patrick Kane and Marian Hossa. Hossa returned to the lineup last night and scored two assist. Kane could return to the lineup as early as tomorrow night. Check back next week for a rundown of the January 1-30 team rankings.
|Despite losing last night to Ottawa, there has been no hotter team this month than Pittsburgh. They are rolling on all cylinders leading up to the Winter Classic. Sidney Crosby extended his point streak to 24 games with a goal late in the loss to the Senators.
|Can’t really write much about a team that played only once last week. But it was an upset loss against Florida. Nine of next 10 games are on the road, which is a brutal stretch for any team.
|The Canucks went 3-0-1 last week. Three of those wins was on a Central division road trip. This week they host a solid Philadelphia team that appears to be one of the most exciting games in the last days of 2010.
|San Jose is a new entrant in the power rankings this week. They have won its last four games, and in three of those games they allowed one goal. Coach Todd McLellan is starting to have his team play solid, consistent hockey.
|Since snapping their embarrassing losing streak, the Capitals are playing hockey the way they are used to. They have gone 3-0-1 in its last four games. Look for the Capitals to pull off a solid winning streak soon, and an exciting Winter Classic coming up this week.
|The Blackhawks have gone 6-2-1 since Patrick Kane went down with an ankle injury. He missed eight games completely and could return this week. Marian Hossa also missed that stretch and just returned to the lineup last night where he recorded two assists.
|The Preadators are a very streaky team. They can either pull off a long winning streak, or they could pull off a long losing streak. They are in a four-game losing streak currently, and they don’t have many divisional games to quickly rise up the standings. Three of next 15 games between now and the end of January are against a Central division team.
|The Islanders defeated a first-place team twice in the last week. They have gone 4-0-1 following that dreadful 1-17-3 stretch earlier in the season. Too bad not many fans got to see Sundays 4-1 win over Montreal because of the East Coast Snowstorm.
|Last week was a measuring stick week for the Hurricanes. They were facing three division foes and loss all three. The Southeast division is starting to turn into a three team race with Carolina closer to last than first.
|Last week they had a brutal road trip against some of the leagues best in San Jose, Vancouver and Los Angeles. They kept all three games close and competitive. Look for them to play solid hockey as next five games in 11 days are at home.
|Sure, Toronto may have won two of its last five games. Those two wins were against Edmonton and New Jersey.
|What more can be said about them? The fired John McLean and brought in Jacques Lemaire and still lose. They have lost five straight and have scored once in each of those five losses.