Yahoo! Sports NHL writer Ross McKeon ranks the league's teams 1 through 30. The power rankings will be updated every Tuesday.
1.Detroit Red Wings (11-2-1; Previous: 1) – Thursday's seventh straight win capped a stretch of 15 of 20 days on road, yet the Wings still play five of their next nine through Nov. 24 away from The Joe.
2.Ottawa Senators (12-1-0; Previous: 2) – Sure wish that Jan. 12 meeting with Detroit was sooner, but at least the two teams play this season. Jason Spezza hopes to return Tuesday for Toronto's visit after missing the last three games with a groin injury.
3.Carolina Hurricanes (9-3-3; Previous: 3) – Special teams are special. They've scored at least one power-play goal in all but three games this season – multiple PPGs in six games – and were 5-for-11 during consecutive wins over Florida and Washington.
4.Montreal Canadiens (8-3-3; Previous: 11) – Habs proving their league-best power play last year wasn't all due to departed defenseman Sheldon Souray's hard point shot as they are No. 1 again by keeping it simple and paying a price in front of the net.
5.Columbus Blue Jackets (8-3-2; Previous: 8) – Not sure how to read the fact that Sergei Fedorov, making $6.08 million, is seeing time on the fourth line. Are the Blue Jackets this deep or has Fedorov slipped that much?
6.Minnesota Wild (9-4-2; Previous: 4) – Wes Walz, one of the most popular players in team history, has been excused for personal reasons. Conjecture is he is contemplating retirement. Team members have been assured there is nothing wrong with any member of his family.
7.Colorado Avalanche (9-5-0; Previous: 10) – How times have changed in Denver. Now it's Paul Stastny and Wojtek Wolski leading the way. Actually, there is real offensive depth here again, and the Avs have to be taken seriously.
8.Philadelphia Flyers (8-5-0; Previous: 5) – Best news of the week for the Flyers is the return of All-Star forward Simon Gagne, who appeared Monday against the Rangers after finally passing a baseline test. He had been out since Oct. 24 when he collided jaw-first into the shoulder of Florida defenseman Jay Bouwmeester.
9.New York Rangers (7-6-1; Previous: 19) – What a homestand. After losing the second game to Toronto, Blueshirts rally with four straight victories for a 5-1 stand, scoring two or fewer goals in regulation four times. That means one thing, great goaltending. Henrik Lundqvist was spectacular, stopping 132 of 134 shots in the five wins, which included three shutouts.
10.New York Islanders (7-4-0; Previous: 16) – Three-goal third period provides feel-good story of the season: Al Arbour credited with coaching his 1,500th game as the 75-year-old sits alongside Isles coach Ted Nolan for one game. "Just by him being here won the game," Nolan said.
11.Pittsburgh Penguins (7-6-1; Previous: 6) – Adjustment on top power play features veteran winger Petr Sykora on a point opposite offensive defenseman Sergei Gonchar as rearguard Ryan Whitney nurses a sore groin. Backup goalie Dany Sabourin starts recent stretch of four in five games over Marc-Andre Fleury.
12.San Jose Sharks (7-6-1; Previous: 9) – More evidence to suggest the team needs help on the back end: Only one goal has been scored by a defensemen and that came from Alexei Semenov, who appeared in just two of team's first 13 games.
13.Boston Bruins (7-5-1; Previous: 12) – Might want to put a little more rubber on net as the Bruins have managed 24 or fewer shots in nine games, including each of the last three. Update on concussed forward Patrice Bergeron: He's out anywhere from a month to a year and he needed a wheelchair to get from his home to treatment facility.
14.Toronto Maple Leafs (6-6-3; Previous: 23) – Saturday's win over Montreal, the team's second against the Canadiens in as many tries this year, was well-earned and impressive. Team looks to get forwards Kyle Wellwood (previously injured) and Mark Bell (suspended) back this week.
15.Chicago Blackhawks (7-7-0; Previous: 17) – Keep your fingers crossed 'Hawks fans, injured winger Martin Havlat has resumed skating and his next test will be to experience contact in practice before a final timetable is set for his return. Surgery was expected after he suffered the shoulder injury on Oct. 4, but he's still hoping for a better case scenario.
16.Los Angeles Kings (7-8-0; Previous: 25) – November will go a long way in suggesting where the Kings fit into the Pacific as all 11 of the month's games are against division rivals San Jose (4), Anaheim (3), Phoenix (2) and Dallas (2).
17.Dallas Stars (6-6-2; Previous: 13) – The weight of chasing down Phil Housley and the record for points scored by an American-born NHLer has taken a heavy toll on Mike Modano: no points in three straight through Monday when it takes one to tie the mark, and only five points total for the season.
18.Calgary Flames (6-6-3; Previous: 15) – Are they not working hard enough? Flames have earned four or fewer power plays in six games already, and only a combined four in the last two games, both 4-1 losses on the road.
19.St. Louis Blues (7-6-0; Previous: 7) – Losers of three straight against division opponents, the Blues' next six are all against Central rivals. Power play is in a 1-for-28 spin, but penalty kill has been excellent at 17-of-18 over the last five games.
20.Nashville Predators (7-7-0; Previous: 28) – Winners of three straight on the road after going 0-5 away from home, the team is closer to getting injured defenseman Shea Weber (knee) back than forward Steve Sullivan (back), who had two offseason surgeries and is still experiencing spasms.
21.Florida Panthers (7-8-0; Previous: 27) – Teams in the East are starting to see what a good goalie Nashville had in Tomas Vokoun. The ex-Pred started his eighth straight Monday night and won for the third time in four. Coach Jacques Martin says he'll ride him like a horse.
22.Vancouver Canucks (6-8-0; Previous: 20) – The Sedin twins – Daniel the goal-scorer and Henrik the passer – really are phenomenal, but they need help. For what it's worth, the Canucks are kicking the tires for the services of Peter Forsberg like most everyone else who thinks they're a contender. But now Forsberg has more potential injury issues.
23.Anaheim Ducks (6-8-2; Previous: 22) – Suspended defenseman Scott Niedermayer is reportedly intensifying his workout regimen and says he'll establish a personal deadline to decide whether to return or retire. That deadline, while not announced, is coming sooner rather than later. Expect the Ducks to receive an early Christmas present.
24.Tampa Bay Lightning (5-8-1; Previous; 14) – Look out below! Five straight losses in regulation, and four or more goals surrendered in the last four through Monday. Penalty kill is suffering, too, not to mention an 0-7 start on the road.
25.Buffalo Sabres (5-7-1; Previous: 18) – Run of nine straight games against Northeast Division rivals did not start on the right skate with a 2-0 loss at Montreal on Monday. Three straight losses for a team that's starting to show the loss of offense in departed Chris Drury and Daniel Briere.
26.New Jersey Devils (5-7-2; Previous: 24) – Power play hasn't been awarded more than four chances in any one game for seven straight through Monday. Only Zach Parise and John Madden are in double-figure scoring.
27.Phoenix Coyotes (5-7-0; Previous: 30) – Winners during two of three still needs more production from the power play, which is just 1-for-26 over the last six through Saturday and had managed just five goals in first 12 games.
28.Atlanta Thrashers (5-9-0; Previous: 29) – They can be accused of being bad, but don't call 'em boring. Ilya Kovalchuk notches hat tricks in consecutive games, and team responds to GM Don Waddell's direction behind the bench to win three of five.
29.Washington Capitals (5-9-0; Previous: 21) – Lack of depth is killing the Caps. Forwards Chris Clark, Alexander Semin and defenseman Tom Poti are out with injuries and there's a need for someone, two or three to step up. Shut out twice in their last three of three straight losses.
30.Edmonton Oilers (5-10-0; Previous: 26) – Injuries taking a toll as inexperienced and limited defensemen are being asked to do too much. Undisciplined play and poor special teams are result. Oilers have to figure it out fast since they’re in streak of eight straight division games.