Updated: December 22, 2014, 1:20 PM ET

The old is new again


By Scott Burnside (posted Dec. 22, 2014)

Another week with a different team taking a turn atop the Power Rankings. Another week with a burst of mumps-related news. Another week with a streak by the Toronto Maple Leafs (Hint: This streak involves the letters s-t-i-n-k). With the NHL headed into its Christmas break we give you our holiday rankings. Ho. Ho. Ho.

Rk(LW)TeamRec
1
Pittsburgh
22-6-4
Mumps. Injuries. It doesn't seem to matter to Mike Johnston's crew as the Pens keep winning to stay atop the Metropolitan Division. Heading into the Christmas break, the Pens have the best winning percentage in the league. Good enough for us.
2
Chicago
23-9-2
The Blackhawks are mourning assistant equipment manager Clint Reif, who passed away before Sunday's win over Toronto, but still remain among the creme de la creme, having won 14 of 17.
3
NY Islanders
23-10-0
The Islanders have won four straight and continue to put pressure on Pittsburgh atop the Metropolitan Division.
4
Anaheim
22-8-5
Not an auspicious debut for Ilya Bryzgalov's return to the Ducks. The Pacific Division leaders returned home after an up and down road trip through the East that included lopsided losses to Toronto and Ottawa.
5
Nashville
21-8-2
The Preds have won 11 of 14 and have quietly assembled the second-best winning percentage in the league. Pekka Rinne is leading a flock of potential NHL award winners in Nashville.
6
St. Louis
21-9-3
The Blues are keeping pace with Chicago and Nashville in an titanic battle for the top spot in the Central Division -- in spite of missing Jaden Schwartz and Brian Elliott. Wonder how much longer the Martin Brodeur experiment will continue?
7
San Jose
19-11-4
The Sharks have won five in a row, nine of 10 and finish the pre-Christmas schedule with a big tilt in Anaheim Monday night.
8
Montreal
21-11-2
The Habs have gone through some emotional times with the loss of Jean Beliveau and the honoring of Saku Koivu. The Habs are still in the hunt in the Atlantic Division with four wins in five. Interesting matchup Tuesday as they head to Long Island.
9
Winnipeg
17-10-7
The Jets continue to impress in spite of the fact their blue line has been decimated by injury. The have collected points in 11 of 12 and are still holding down the first wild card spot in the Western Conference.
10
NY Rangers
17-10-4
The Rangers appear to have turned a significant corner with six straight wins. And they get a bonus with Derick Brassard back from a bout with mumps.
11
Tampa Bay
20-11-4
The Bolts are in a bit of a sideways drift with just two wins in their past eight games, and the offense has shockingly gone dry in recent days.
12
Detroit
17-8-9
The top end of the Atlantic Division is in swoon now as the Red Wings have gone six in a row without a win and managed just six goals over that stretch.
13
Los Angeles
17-11-6
Right on cue the big boys Anze Kopitar and Marian Gaborik are starting to awake from their first-half slumber. That's bad news for the rest of the Western Conference.
14
Toronto
19-12-3
The roller coaster of a season continues for the Leafs as they've lost three in a row and been outscored 15-5 along the way. How long until the "fire Randy Carlyle" chants begin again at Air Canada Center? Depends. When do they play at home next?
15
Washington
16-10-6
The Caps are getting in a groove (6-0-2 in their past eight) heading into their Winter Classic date with the Chicago Blackhawks.
16
Vancouver
19-11-4
An overtime win over Calgary stopped a five-game winless streak, and they need a win over Arizona to keep the positive vibes going into the holiday break.
17
Florida
14-9-8
The Panthers close out their pre-holiday break schedule with another tough game versus the Penguins. Still, good on Gerard Gallant for keeping the Cats very much in the playoff discussion in the Eastern Conference.
18
Boston
17-14-3
The Bruins entertain Nashville Tuesday to close out their pre-Christmas schedule. The B's have points in four of five but still haven't won two in a row in a month.
19
Columbus
14-15-3
The Blue Jackets keep getting bad news on the injury front, but they keep soldiering on with an impressive 8-0-1 run.
20
Dallas
14-13-5
The good news is the Stars have won four in a row and Tyler Seguin is on fire. The bad news is the Stars' goaltending still isn't nearly good enough to get them in the playoffs.
21
Minnesota
16-12-3
The Wild are winless in three and still giving up way too many goals as their up-and-down season continues to stutter along.
22
Philadelphia
13-14-6
The Flyers are creeping their way back into the discussion in the Metropolitan Division with a 4-1-1 stretch. Netminder Rob Zepp, 33, won his first-ever NHL game Sunday in his NHL debut. Hey, whatever works right?
23
Colorado
12-13-8
Likewise, baby steps for another underachieving team as the Avs have gone 3-0-2 in their past five. Lots of work still to do as they are eight points out of the second wild-card spot in the Western Conference.
24
Calgary
17-15-3
The Flames' free fall continues as they are winless in eight.
25
Ottawa
14-13-6
The Senators are 3-1-1 in their past five games. Well, that's something, no?
26
Buffalo
13-18-3
A long stretch of solid hockey for the Sabres appears to be at an end as they are winless in three and have given up at least three goals in six straight games.
27
New Jersey
12-17-6
The Devils -- with just one win in seven games -- appear destined for a third straight season out of the playoffs.
28
Arizona
11-17-4
The Coyotes have gone well over a month without winning two games in a row. Enough said.
29
Carolina
9-20-0
Carolina continues to keep the Oilers company in the NHL's cellar with two wins in their past 11 games.
30
Edmonton
7-20-7
GM Craig MacTavish is getting a close look at his Oilers team after firing Dallas Eakins. His eyeballs must be sore.

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