NHL Power Rankings: December 2nd
Photo courtesy of Paul Beaty - The Associated Press
1. St. Louis Blues -203 I won't knock the Blues from top spot following a loss in San Jose. After all, it was preceeded by five consecutive wins.
2. Chicago Blackhawks -202 The 'Hawks are right there neck-and-neck with the Blues following a perfect 4-0 week. Each of their last six wins have come on the road.
3. Pittsburgh Penguins -197 Pittsburgh seems to have regained its offensive mojo. A tough week lies ahead with games against the Sharks and Bruins following Tuesday's date with the Islanders.
4. San Jose Sharks -194 Look who's back. The Sharks have turned things around once again, reeling off five straight victories.
5. Colorado Avalanche -193 The Avs continue to play outstanding hockey but I still question whether they have staying power in the top five.
6. Boston Bruins -190 Here's a trend for o/u bettors: Boston has seen just two of 17 home games play 'over' 5.5 goals this season.
7. Montreal Canadiens -187 The Habs are hot right now, winners of five of their last six games to make a big move in this week's rankings.
8. Anaheim Ducks -183 While the Ducks have been struggling, I still believe they have the make-up of a Cup contender.
9. Los Angeles Kings -179 During their current 1-4 slide, the Kings have produced only six goals in regulation time.
10. New York Rangers -175 Who would have thought Brad Richards would be leading the Rangers in scoring nearly two months into the season?
11. Minnesota Wild -171 After a red hot run, the Wild have hit the skids, dropping four in a row while scoring a grand total of four goals.
12. Phoenix Coyotes -166 The 'Yotes can't get out of their own way right now, and things won't get any easier with a four-game road trip on deck.
13. Detroit Red Wings -162 Maybe I was a little hard on the Wings last week. They've gone on a serious tear with Pavel Datsyuk sidelined.
14. Toronto Maple Leafs -158 The Leafs are in a nose-dive and now their schedule is about to get an awful lot tougher.
15. Washington Capitals -155 Washington has gotten its money's worth lately, going to overtime or a shootout in five of its last nine contests.
16. New Jersey Devils -153 The tried and tested formula has been working for the Devils, as they've allowed two goals or less in eight of their last nine wins.
17. Vancouver Canucks -148 The Canucks are about to begin a five-game homestand, where they've posted a 2-9-2 o/u mark this season.
18. Tampa Bay Lightning -145 Tampa Bay is just trying to tread water right now, and doing a pretty solid job of it.
19. Philadelphia Flyers -141 Claude Giroux got off to a miserable start, but he's hot right now, having recorded at least a point in 10 of his last 11 games.
20. Nashville Predators -136 They're not winning pretty, but the Preds have hung tough, notching five wins in their last eight games.
21. Dallas Stars -133 The Stars have looked good at times, but have been anything but consistent in the early going this season - a growing problem in Big D.
22. Ottawa Senators -129 After making such gains last year, the Senators have run into a brick wall here in 2013.
23. Winnipeg Jets -125 The Jets are competitive on most nights, but look like they're at least a year away from being a playoff team.
24. Columbus Blue Jackets -121 We've seen some life from the Blue Jackets lately, but not much consistency.
25. Carolina Hurricanes -117 The Canes had a chance to build some serious momentum this past week, but ultimately fell short, dropping back-to-back home games against the Devils and Canucks.
26. Edmonton Oilers -113 Don't look now but the Oilers are playing their best hockey of the season, winners of five of their last seven contests.
27. New York Islanders -108 There's an awful lot of talent being wasted on Long Island these days.
28. Calgary Flames -103 Having split their last six games, I'll give the Flames an 'A' for effort. They'll get four of their next five games at home.
29. Florida Panthers 104 The Panthers last two games haven't gone so well, as they've been outscored by a 10-3 margin.
30. Buffalo Sabres 108 Buffalo has scored two goals or less in six of its last seven games overall. Needless to say, it has notched only one win over that stretch.
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- Matt Fargo
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We lost a tough one with the Astros yesterday as they blew a 3-0 and lost on a walk off home run in the bottom of the ninth inning. It was still a successful series though as Houston took two of three and head home trying get some payback following a three-game sweep at Oakland last week. Brett Oberholtzer takes the hill for the Astros and despite them going 0-4 in his four starts, he has pitched much better than that. He has only one quality start but he has not allowed more than three runs in any outing and the three that failed to miss quality status were missed by a total of an inning and a third. One of those games game in Oakland where he allowed one run in 5.2 innings but it resulted in a 4-3 loss. Look for him to continue his efficient pitching. The A's were swept at home by Texas so they bring in very little momentum. Scott Kazmir will look to turn things around for his team and he has been outstanding to open the season. He has a 1.65 ERA and 0.77 WHIP through four starts with Oakland going 4-0 in those games thanks to all resulting in quality performances. This includes the win over Oberholtzer but I do not see this holding up. He made one start in Houston last season while with the Indians and was shelled for six runs in 3.1 innings. Play (922) Houston Astros