MantaRay report for 1/26/03

On this glorious American holiday known as SuperBowl Sunday, I present: the MantaRay Power-rankings for games ending 1/25/03.

Cliffnotes:

Top Ten:

-Stars, Flyers continue hot January.

-Red Wings stumble

-The B’s are back in town again.

Middle of the Pack:

-Roy lifts AV’s

-Ranger$ in move out of bottom dweller status?

Bottom of the Barrel:

-Watch out for the Yotes

-Pred’s alternate with Sabres….again.

-Could be the last time the Thrashers are #30.

-Enjoy!1 (1) Ottawa Senators:

No change, but Sens (2-1-1) starting to cool a little. Back-up goalie Martin Prusek is a perfect 9-0-0. Hossa tied in lead for goals (33).

2 (2) New Jersey Devils:

NHL’s hottest team (2-1) has 9 Game unbeaten streak snapped. Devs are 9-2-1 in January. Friesen: 5G-3A +9 in last 6 games.

3 (5) Dallas Stars:

Best team in the West. Stars (2-1) are 8-1-2 in January. Turco unbeaten in 10 games (7-0-3). Recent call-up defensemen John Erskine has best shooting pct% among D-men scoring 2 goals on 4 shots.

4 (3) Vancouver Canucks:

Canucks (1-2) peaking too early? Bertuzzi gets away with suspension vs Nashville. Morrison suffering 12 game goal-less streak. Jovanski ahead of schedule (skating next week) is a positive sign.

5 (7) Philadelphia Flyers:

Flyers (2-2) 6 game road winning streak halted last night, but are 9-3 in January. Gagne to return Tuesday, back injury sidelines Cechmanek.

6 (4) Detroit Red Wings:

Played more like “Dead Things” (1-3) this week. Goaltending weakness an issue again: 14GA in last 4 games. Blueline depleted (Wallin, Chelios & Fisher). Numminen rumors should heat-up. Yzerman still having problems right now in making a hard pivot on with his right knee.

7 (6) St.Louis Blues:

Blues also having tough time (1-2-1). Doug Weight hasn’t scored a goal in 26 games. Goaltending issue here too 18GA in 4 games.

8 (10) Boston Bruins:

Don’t look now but the B’s are back in town 3-0-1. Hackett gets shut-out in first game! O’Connell should be arrested for theft getting a competant goalie AND a great prospect for essentially a #6 defensemen!!!

9 (9) Minnesota Wild:

Wild (2-1) road trip thus far. Wild are 1 win away from tying last years team high in wins (26). Roloson has started 8 straight games. Zholtok returns after missing 10 days with viral ineffection.

10 (8) Toronto Maple Leafs:

Played more like “Maple Laughs” this week (0-3) and outscored 10-1! OUCH. Does Belfour have to score too? Sundin pointless in 4 games; Injured to Mogilny cripples Leafs.

11 (11) Edmonton Oilers:

Oilers slipping of late (1-2). Team looks lost since injury to Ryan Smyth. Impressive play of D-man Alexei Semenov could make room for trade room.

12 (13) Washington Capitals:

Caps holding steady (1-0-2). Kolzig is 10-4-4 in last 18. Lang 3G-7A in last 8 games. Gonchar 1G-4A in last 4 games.

13 (12) Chicago Blackhawks:

Fleury woes have Blackhawks down (0-2-1). Thibault looking jaded of late. Arnason guilty by association in Columbus? Will that detract from Calder nomination?

14 (14) New York Islanders:

Staying the course (2-2), but defensemen are dropping: Cairns, Aucion are out, Jonsson, and Hamerlik are hurting. Osgood out month. Is Yashin worth the ice time (-21)???

15 (17) Colorado Avalanche:

Roy (2-0-1) is on fire stopping 68 of 69 shots with two shut-outs. Injuries mounting: Sakic (3 weeks) and Morris (2 weeks)

16 (15) Pittsburgh Penguins:

Apparently I reminded the Pens (1-2) that Mario is hurt they then suffered back-to-back shutouts. Kovalev raises trade ante with hat-trick or was that only the influence of Randy Robitaille? Powerplay has been missing of late.

17 (16) Anaheim Mighty Ducks:

Ducks can’t stand higher altitudes (1-2). Giguere is 5-1 in his last 6 starts. Help is on the way: McDonald back; Sawyer two weeks away from return.

18 (18) Tampa Bay Lightning:

Bolts halting skid (2-1-1). Prospal and Clymer return to line-up. Boyle: 9A in his last 7 games! Newly acquired John Grahame is 2-0 in his last two starts for the Bolts.

19 (21) New York Rangers:

Rangers (2-2) on fire (for them)! Is Nedved (6G-4A +6) the cure? NY is 5-2 since his return. Will Bure & Leetch destory current chemistry when they return in two weeks? Both are traveling with team.

20 (20) Montreal Canadiens:

Have the Habs (0-1-2) waived the white flag on the season by dealing Hackett and firing Therrien? Team seems to be in dissarray with no help in sight. Even Hossa has cooled of recent.

21 (19) Los Angeles Kings:

Four game losing streak snapped last night. The Kings (1-2) are starting to get players back and goaltending is starting to improve. Schneider ranks 7th in scoring defensemen is day-to-day with a groin injury.

22 (25) Phoenix Coyotes:

Who needs Sean Burke when you have Zac Bierk (1.14 GAA, .970 SV% last three weeks)? Yotes (3-0) making playoff push. Boucher trade looking even worse of late. Langkow (4G-1A) and Doan (1G-3A) lethel this week.

23 (22) Columbus Bluejackets:

If only the Jackets (2-2) could play at home more (2-0) or just play the Islanders (4-0-1) every night. Did team rush Rick Nash into the majors? Physical game against bigger players taken its toll.

24 (23) San Jose Sharks:

Sharks (1-2) sinking prompts trade this week. McLaren will help fill void of weak defensive depth when he gets in shape. Bigger news: Brad Stuart return helps transition game in win last night.

25 (24) Carolina Hurricanes:

They just Canen’t win. Team is 1-9-1 in its last 11 but played their best game in a while last night. Brind’amour injury is like death knell on the season. Player Watch: Josef Vasicek

26 (28) Calgary Flames:

Flames (2-1) catching heat 3-1-1 in their last 5. Drury heating up as well 2G-2A in last 4 games. Gelinas and Sutter “playing” hurt.

27 (30) Nashville Predators:

I guess this is an “on-again” week for Preds (2-1). The key to success for Preds: Scott Walker-Nashville is 6-0-1 he scores a goal, and 9-4-1 when he registers a point.

28 (26) Buffalo Sabres:

Sabre goalies rattling opponents (1-1-1). Birons had three shutouts in a row before losing last night. Satan possessed again 3G-7A in last 8 games

29 (27) Florida Panthers:

Kats (1-3) losing potential playoff ground. Luongo posted a .927 SV% in January but a 4-6 record to show for it. Jokinen 5G’s in last 6 games.

30 (29) Atlanta Thrashers:

Thrashers are 4-1-1 under Hartley. Nurminen gets the nod as starting goaltender even when Dafoe get back. The line of Heatly-Kozlov-Savard contributing big. Savard hurt yesterday and McEachern has been placed on IR. Go Thrashers!!!


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