MantaRay Power Rankings for 11/30/03

“”Welcome to week #6 of MantaRay Power Rankings.

This ranking includes all games played through Saturday, November 29nd.

(The ranking in parenthesis reflects how each team finished the previous week).

Cliffnotes:

Top Ten:

-Philadelphia earns their #1 spot

-Av’s coming on strong

-PREDS???? first time ever in the Elite

Middle of Pack:

-Thrasher drop out of elite

-Ranger$ and Stars climb out of the barrel

-Oilers slip several spots

Bottom of the Barrel:

-Islanders sending out an SOS

-Canes & Sharks improve

-Pens now officially the worst team in the NHL 1 (2) Philadelphia Flyers:

Hitchcock has Philly (2-0-1) excelling at every part of the game: #1 GFA, #3 GAA, #1 PP, #2PK and undefeated in November (10-0-2) lead by Hitchcock’s #1 D-man Kim Johnsson (1G/10A +9 in last 12).

2 (3) New Jersey Devils:

NJ (1-1-1) has unbeaten streak ended at 13 (10-0-3) by former Devils Guerin/Arnott. Stevens the toughest defensemen of our generation breaks record for games played by D-man. Langenbrunner (knee) out for next few games possibly more.

3 (4) St.Louis Blues:

Blues (1-1-1) have 3 game unbeaten streak ended along with Demitra’s 9 game point streak (5G/9A). Jackman (shoulder) comes back too early and back on IR. Blues are 6-3-1 in last 10 with Osgood (2.17 GAA/.917% SVP) holding down the fort while Tkachuk, Mellanby and Weight were out.

4 (7) Colorado Avalanche:

Av’s (2-1) offense coming together in recent weeks (7-0-2 in last 10) lead by Sakic (3G/4A in last 5) who is establishing some chemistry with Selanne (2G/2A in last 5). While offense thrives, defense is still shaky (allowing 33 SOGA in last 3) . Forsberg skating today will determine progress.

5 (1) Tampa Bay Lightning:

Tampa (0-2-2) dropping of recent (4-3-3 last 10) are the only team in the NHL not to lose a player to injury this season. Opposition teams learning to stop Tampa all you have to do is stop Martin St.Louis. As Bolts go on the road look for teams to shadow St.Louis (1 shot per game in last 3 games) even more. No one else picking up the slack.

6 (6) Vancouver Canucks:

Canucks (2-1-1) got spanked twice by Toronto but beat others on their Canadian tour. Naslund (3A’s last night) takes over scoring lead in NHL (11G/22A) and +/- category (+18). Bryan Allen earning more playing time with strong physical play as his playing time has increased to close to 16 minutes a game and playing with more confidence.

7 (9) Detroit Red Wings:

Who needs a mulitmillion $$ goalie??? Wings (3-1) climbing back into race on the shoulder pads of Manny Legace (3-1, 1.25GAA, .941% SVP, 1SO in last 5). Team is 7-2-1 since Steve Thomas (5G/2A +6) joined the team. Fisher (1G/6A -3) still struggling to gain 2001 form.

8 (5) Boston Bruins:

Boston (0-1-0-1) is slumping (1-2-0-2 in last 5) with a 3 game losing streak. Bostons D is not giving much support allowing #18 SOGA (28.8) and having the #27 PK unit. Calder watch: Patrice Bergeron (5G/3A +3) plays all-around solid game especially for an 18 year old.

9 (19) Nashville Predators:

PRED ALERT: for the first time in MRPR history Preds (4-0!!!) make the Elite squad and are 8-2 in their last 10 games. I warned you weeks ago about the Vowel line (Orszagh-7G/3A +7; Erat-3G/8A +6; Arkipov-2G/4A +5 in last 10) but its the Pred’s physical players (McKenzie, Walker, Tootoo, Hartnell, Brookbank, Allison) making skating room for the European skaters.

10 (15) Toronto Maple Leafs:

Leafs (3-0) have a 4 game winning streak (5-2-2-1 in last 10). All forward lines contributing with strong team effort and has already strenghted an already strong defense/goaltending . Calder Watch: Matthew Stajan (1G/2A +4 in last 4) has been a huge factor in Leaf turn around especially since Mogilny went down.

11 (10) Atlanta Thrashers:

“Hartley’s Boys (2-2) are now in first place (12-9-3-1) in the Southeast Division after win last night. Although the D has improved (#5 on the PK) under Hartley, they are still allowing too many scoring opportunites (#17 28.2 SOGA) and only Nurminen’s strong play has made them a top team. Forwards (Kozlov -8, Vigier -6, Santala -6) need help out a little more if team wants to hold on to first.

12 (8) Los Angeles Kings:

LA (1-2) loses another player as Laperriere (concussion) joins Palffy, Stumpel, Armstrong, Allison, Aulin, Deadmarsh and Brad Norton on the IR list. Rookie Mike Cammalleri (3G/2A in last 5) making the most of the injuries at center.

13 (21) Dallas Stars:

Stars (3-0) coming alive since the return of Lehtinen (team is 6-1-1 when the Selke winner is in the line-up). Impressive win over NJ builds confidence. Turco (4-1, 1.21GAA, .946% SVP, 1SO in last 5) regaining form. Dallas defense ranks #6th in limiting opponents scoring opportunities (23.8 SOGA), but the loss of Boucher (eye socket) hurts.

14 (14) Calgary Flames:

Flames (0-1-0-1) holding steady. The Flames still have to employ a defense first system with their forwards to make up for young and error prone D-men. This system has allowed the least amount of scoring opportunities in the NHL (22.8 SOG per game), but has killed their offensive output (# 21–2.29 GFA–Iginla only 4 goals this season). Without the talent this is the only way the Flames can win games.

15 (22) New York Rangers:

Don’t look now, but the Ranger$ (3-0-1) are winning hockey games. During the last 5 games the line of Holik (1G/4A +7 and FOW: 61%) Rucinsky (4G/5A +7) and Kovalev (1G/7A +5) look like one of leagues strongest all-around lines. Sather looking like a genius in acquiring Markkanen (3-0-1, 1.36 GAA, .952% SVP in last 5) from the Oilers for the rights to Brian Leetch.

16 (12) Ottawa Senators:

Can’t stop the slide in Ottawa (1-2-0-2) as the Sens have lost 4 of 5 and have gone 4-7-2-2 in its last 15. The Sens have only scored the first goal in 6 games this season (worst in the league). The Sens have been living off their PP (#5) which accounts to almost 40% of their scoring which ranks them #27 for even strength play. There is too much talent for this.

17 (16) Buffalo Sabres:

Sabres (2-2) have lost 4 straight road games. Buffalos ranks #22 on the PP with no productivity from their blueline: (only 1PPG/8PPA in 25 games). Highest ranking Sabre defensemen: Zhitnik (1G/8A) ranks #49 in the league. Kalinin and Delmore have been major dissappointments.

18 (11) Edmonton Oilers:

Edmonton (0-2-1) playing frostbitten and have a 4 game winless streak (0-3-1). Salo back this week and Oates had 11 FOW (of 16) in 16 mintues of play last night. Jason Smith (2G/7A +11) is one of the most underrated D-men in the game.

19 (17) Montreal Canadiens:

Habs (1-1-1) continue to lose ground after an impressive start to the season (5-2-0-0). Ex-Devil Souray leads NHL defensemen in goals (8). Ryder (2G/1A in last 4) and Daigenous (1G/1A in 3) looking to help slumping Montreal.

20 (18) Anaheim Mighty Ducks:

Anaheim (1-0-1) is Federov’s team: The Ducks are 8-2-1-1 when Sergei has a point, and 0-5-2-4 when he does not. No team has squandered opportunity like the Ducks who have allowed the 5th most GA in the third period (22GA) while scoring the 2nd worst (12GF). The Ducks lead the NHL in OTL. Not a sign of a good team.

21 (13) New York Islanders:

As the “Mike must go” chant comes back to Nassau, the Isles (0-3) have now lost 5 in a row and in the post-Wiemer era are (2-8) and still playing deflated and confused and have only scored 4 goals in 5 games including 2 SO’s and a stretch of 134 minutes without a goal. Now reports have started about Peca to Toronto. Milbury must have failed in Chemistry as a youth.

22 (26) San Jose Sharks:

Ron Wilson continues to wield illusions with the patchwork/bargin basement talented Sharks (2-0). After starting the season 1-5-4, SJ is now 5-1-3-1 in there last 10. Tolskala (3-0-1, 1.26GAA, .957% SVP in last 5) has been a major reason. The Sharks PK unit (rank #18) has not allowed a PPG in 5 straight games (18 of 18). Without much fanfare Marco Sturm (6G/2A in last 8) is having a good year.

23 (23) Phoenix Coyotes:

The sun is setting in Phoenix (1-2) who have been inconsistent all year. The Yotes the 4th worst defense in the NHL allowing almost 31 shots against per game and its killing Sean Burke (2-2-1, 4.01GAA, .867% SVP in last 5). The only bright spots this season: Ladislav Nagy (13G/12A +7) and on the defensive end the only steadfast warrior on the blueline: Cale Hulse (1G/5A +12, 50 PIM).

24 (20) Minnesota Wild:

The Wild’s (0-2) poor play has to be driving Jacque Lemaire nuts. Minny has lost 4 straight and they have only scored 5 goals in those games. Gaborik (2G/3A in 11 games) has only 9 goals in his last 54 regular season games which is not what Doug Risebrough signed for. Willie Mitchell joins Bouchard, Johnson and Chouinard on the Injury list.

25 (25) Florida Panthers:

Florida (1-1-2) looks like Dudley will finish the season behind the bench for Florida (with Ludzik running practices). Lou Lamoriello has told Florida it will give its permission to allow Devils assistant coach Larry Robinson to interview for the Panthers job, but Dudley appears to be stalling.

26 (29) Carolina Hurricanes:

Canes (2-1-1) had back-to-back shut-outs for Weekes this week as the Canes get back to defense. Carolina is notorious for their slow starts and have only scored 8 goals in the first period (#29). They also have the 24th “best” special teams: (#27PP/#21PK). Vrbata learning to shoot more.

27 (24) Columbus Bluejackets:

Jackets (0-2-1) slip back into the gloom. Rick Nash (2nd in the NHL in goals-15) and David Vyborny (9G/5A) have scored close to 50% of the Jackets goals!!! Where are the goals from the big names with the big contracts???? Where is goal production from Sanderson (4), Cassels (3), Sydor (2), and even Marchant (3)?? These guys should hand their paychecks to the kids.

28 (27) Chicago Blackhawks:

The ChickenHawks (0-3) continue to sacrifice the season in an effort to save money. They are currently 0-7-1-2 in their last 10 with no hope in sight. The team ranks #28 in defense allowing 31 SOG a game, the ChickenHawks have the 22nd best special teams (#28PP/#17PK). Alot of young, wasted talent on this team. A smart GM should pluck Arnasen, Calder and Bell away from this fetid organization.

29 (30) Washington Capitals:

Caps (2-2) coming around after Jagr rumors return. Jagr is on an 11 game scoring streak (5G/13A +7) and Lang continues his rapid tear (15 game scoring streak–11G/11A +8) and with new linemate Bondra (hat trick last night) this line could win more games. IF Kolzig can get his game back the Caps COULD be a contender, but Kolzig appears at the end of his days as an elite goalie.

30 (28) Pittsburgh Penguins:

The Wilkes-Barre Bunch (0-2-1) doesn’t have much to brag about. They are 2-6-1-1 in their last 10, they have the NHL’s worst defense, allowing almost 34 shots a game–as a result the worst GAA (3.45) and have the worst PP in the league (10.4%) and the team has a +/- of -167. This team is a mess and probably Portland bound.