AOL News has a new home! The Huffington Post.

Click here to visit the new home of AOL News!

Hot on HuffPost:

See More Stories

Streaking Blackhawks Reach the Top

Nov 27, 2009 – 3:34 PM
Text Size
Adam Gretz

Adam Gretz %BloggerTitle%

A really good team became a whole lot better this week when Marian Hossa made his debut for the Chicago Blackhawks on Wednesday night. The big-money free agent scored a pair of goals in his first game of the season against San Jose, helping the 'Hawks win their eighth straight on their way to the top of our weekly Power Rankings.

  • 1. Blackhawks (Last Week: 6) Welcome to the lineup, Marian Hossa. The Blackhawks' big offseason addition made his debut on Wednesday night and scored two goals in a 7-2 blowout win in San Jose. The Blackhawks are steamrolling teams right now, winning eight games in a row by a combined score of 33-13.

  • 2. Sharks (2) With 18 goals in his first 26 games, Dany Heatley is on pace for the third 50-goal season of his career. Putting him on a line with one of the game's elite playmaking centers has not been a disappointment.

  • 3. Capitals (1) After climbing to the top of the Rankings last week, the Caps lost three of their next four (though, two were in overtime or shootout). Alex Ovechkin had an eventful night in Wednesday's 2-0 win against Buffalo, scoring his 17th goal of the season and then earning a game misconduct for boarding Patrick Kaleta.
  • 4. Penguins (5) They're getting healthy and playing better. Since their four-game losing streak in mid-November, the Penguins picked up wins in five of their next six games heading into Friday's tilt with the Islanders.

  • 5. Devils (3) The Devils' lack of secondary scoring began to hurt them last week, as they lost three in a row before taking their last two. Behind Zach Parise and Travis Zajac, they aren't getting much offense. Jacques Lemaire has called out Nicklas Bergfors to step up, and Patrik Elias is finally starting to get back into shape.
  • 6. Avalanche (4) They're still sitting near the top of the Western Conference, but the Avalanche are starting to slow down a bit after their hot start, losing six of the past eight games. Ryan O'Reilly is currently third in the rookie scoring race, trailing only John Tavares and James van Riemsdyk.

  • 7. Flames (7) Miikka Kiprusoff really is an ironman in the crease, getting the start in 21 of Calgary's 24 games this season. Statistically, he's having his best season in three years.
  • 8. Predators (20) Quietly, the Nashville Predators have ripped off wins in seven straight (and eight of their past nine) to climb into the top-six of the Western Conference standings. Since their 2-5-1 start, the Predators are 12-4.
  • 9. Senators (15) He's no Dany Heatley, but Milan Michalek, acquired as part of this summer's blockbuster with San Jose, currently leads the Senators with 11 goals in 23 games.

  • 10. Kings (11) Dustin Brown has hit a nine-game goal-less streak, while the Kings have dropped three of four heading into Friday since veteran forward Ryan Smyth went down with an upper body injury. Anze Kopitar has just one assist since Smyth has been out of the lineup.
  • 11. Flyers (9) James Van Riemsdyk is off to a fantastic start for the Flyers, and has a strong chance to be the first player to ever be named rookie of the year in the franchise's existence.

  • 12. Canucks (13) Since Roberto Luongo returned to the lineup, the Canucks have allowed just nine goals in five games (winning three). Henrik Sedin is also proving that he's just as dangerous on his own as he is with his twin brother at his side, scoring 26 points in 24 games to lead Vancouver in goals and points. I still think they're a much better team than their current record indicates.

  • 13. Bruins (23) Marc Savard and Milan Lucic are back in the lineup, and they're starting to play like the team that finished as the top seed in the Eastern Conference last year. Tuukka Rask has started five straight games between the pipes and been fantastic, stopping 131 of 141 shots (.929 save percentage).

  • 14. Rangers (14) Marian Gaborik has taken over the league lead with 19 goals and, heading into Friday, was tied with Anze Kopitar and Joe Thornton for the lead with 33 points. They've still been an up-and-down team since their fast start out of the gate. They've won just six of their past 16.
  • 15. Red Wings (10) More injuries for the Red Wings. This time it's defenseman Niklas Kronwall, who went down after a cheap shot from Montreal's Georges Laraque (who was suspended for five games). During their most recent five-game stretch (where they've lost four games) the Wings have scored just five goals.
  • 16. Stars (16) Brad Richards is on pace for a career season in Big D, and is currently second in the league with 23 assists.
  • 17. Blue Jackets (12) Which Blue Jackets are the real Blue Jackets? The team that won five of six two weeks ago? Or the team that just lost four in a row on its latest five-game road trip?
  • 18. Sabres (8) The Sabres have hit their first slump of the season, dropping four straight. Ryan Miller is still playing lights out in the crease, but who is going to score the goals for this team?
  • 19. Thrashers (17) Do you know which team was leading the league in goals per game heading into the weekend? Washington? Pittsburgh? Philadelphia? San Jose? Wrong. It's the Atlanta Thrashers, with an average of 3.43 goals.
  • 20. Coyotes (19) The rough stretch continues, going 0-for-2 on the trip through Alberta. Shane Doan is leading the team in scoring with just 16 points in 25 games.
  • 21. Canadiens (22) The "goaltender controversy" appears to be going away in Montreal as Carey Price has started 10 of the past 11 games, and played extremely well in just about all of them. They also won two games in regulation in the past week, which matches their total from the first 21 games of the season.
  • 22. Islanders (18) After a steady rise up the rankings, the Islanders dropped three of their last four, including losses to St. Louis and Minnesota: teams that have struggled mightily in the early going. If you want to stay in the playoff race, those are the games you have to win.
  • 23. Lightning (21) Where has Martin St. Louis and Vincent Lecavalier's goal-scoring gone? Just five in 22 games for each of them? On the plus side, Steven Stamkos and Ryan Malone each have 15.
  • 24. Panthers (25) Twice this season the Florida Panthers have taken 2-0 leads into the third period against the Pittsburgh Penguins, with each game ending in a loss. Nathan Horton is starting to play better, tallying nine points in his past 10 games.
  • 25. Blues (26) They've played better over the past week or so, but the standings in the NHL are so cluttered at this point it's tough to make much of a move unless you put together a huge winning streak (or a huge losing streak).
  • 26. Blues (27) Through Thursday, Corey Perry had registered a point in 16 consecutive games, and has been held off the scoresheet just three times in 23 games this season.
  • 27. Oilers (24) The Oilers have been ravaged by injuries this season, suffering the second-most man-games lost to injury. They're just 3-6-2 in the month of November.
  • 28. Wild (28) Earlier this week Minnesota traded one disappointing youngster (Benoit Pouliot) for another disappointing youngster (Guillaume Latendresse). Deck chairs, meet Titanic.
  • 29. Maple Leafs (30) Phil Kessel has played in just 11 games this season and is already tied for third on the team in goals scored (six). Toronto escapes the bottom spot thanks to wins in two of their three games in the past week.
  • 30. Hurricanes (29) Good news: Eric Staal is back in the lineup for the Hurricanes. Bad news: They're still at the bottom of the NHL standings.
Filed under: Sports