Surprises abound, except for the top two positions that see Ottawa and Detroit holding strong after the first week of play. Capitals and Lightning undefeated? Flames and Sabres winless? What's going on here?!
As always, suggestions and comments welcome! And if you want to see last week's rankings, you can find them under the archives link to the right -->
1. Ottawa Senators [5-0-0], Last Week: #1 (same)
Still undefeated. We thought Gerber was making a strong case for reassuming his standing as a #1 goalie in the league, until rookie Brian Elliott made his debut and looked even better. Clearly, early season success has been a product of stellar team-D, which has held opponents to under 2-goals per clip.
Quickest out of the gate: Daniel Alfredsson(5GP,5G,4A,1GW), leading the league in scoring after week 1.
2. Detroit Red Wings [3-0-1], Last Week: #2 (same)
Hasek has yet to be terrific, but the Wings' cashing in on a third of their PP chances more than makes up for that. Unsung hero Mikael Samuelsson continues to earn his top-six minutes. After a rematch against the 'Hawks at home, the Wings depart on a tough West Coast tour, with games at LA, Anaheim and San Jose.
Quickest out of the gate: Henrik Zetterberg (4GP,2G,6A), is the Red Wings' mojo on offense and on the PP.
3. Montreal Canadiens [2-0-1], Last Week: #15 (+12)
Huge, 1-goal victories over the 'Canes and the Pens showed that the Habs are primed to win the close ones -- heartbreaking OT loss at Toronto notwithstanding. The Price vs. Huet battle is still ongoing, with Huet having strong initial outings, but the rookie came up big against the young guns of Pittsburgh in his winning debut.
Quickest out of the gate: Andrei Markov (3GP,2G,3A), making the case that he was indeed the right defenseman to hang on to.
4. New York Islanders [3-1-0], Last Week: #22 (+18)
The battle of New York has a winner, and it's the Islanders(!). After huge back-to-back wins against the Sabres, the Isles shut down the high-priced free-agent guns of the cross-town Rangers in convincing fashion. Pundits had the Islanders already pencilled in to the Tavares sweepstakes, but Ted Nolan seems to have playoff plans for this no-name club.
Quickest out of the gate: Mike Comrie (4GP,4G,2A,2GW), was a cap-casualty in Ottawa, but is proving that one man's leftovers are another man's feast.
5. Tampa Bay Lightning [3-0-0], Last Week: #16 (+11)
Is it surprising to see the Lightning at the top of their division after one week? No. But allowing only 4 goals without top defenseman Boyle in the lineup? Amazing! The usual suspects are putting up points, but it's the unheralded contributions from newcomers like Gratton and Darche that are making all the difference so far.
Quickest out of the gate: Johan Holmqvist (3-0-0,1.34GAA,.945SV%), has been a brick wall in net, and out to prove he's a bonafide #1.
6. San Jose Sharks [2-1-1], Last Week: #5 (-1)
A year has passed, and it seems the Sharks have still yet to find their bite at even strength. The top-line and PP have been underwhelming, especially in a 6-2 trouncing at the hands of conference-rival Colorado.
Quickest out of the gate: Jeremy Roenick (4GP,2G,1GW), 37 year-old is showing he's still got some energy left as he surges toward 500 career goals.
7. Minnesota Wild [3-0-0], Last Week: #12 (+5)
The schedule has yet to really pick up for the Wild, but two shutouts in their first three games is impressive nonetheless. Minnesota has only been able to draw an average of 3 penalties penalties per game, and their PP has yet to score a single goal. Definitely an area of concern as the team hits the road for a week.
Quickest out of the gate: Nicklas Backstrom (3-0-0,0.67GAA,.971SV%), despite all the Luongo and Kiprusoff talk, Backstrom quietly assumes the role of the NHL's top netminder.
8. Colorado Avalanche [2-1-0], Last Week: #10 (+2)
With all the focus being on the potential fireworks between UFA signee Smyth and superstar Sakic, who thought it would be the 2nd-line that would be leading the attack? Budaj has looked shakey in net, but so far the team has bailed him out with scoring in bunches. Most impressively, the Avs chased Nabokov from the goal in a 6-2 win against the Sharks.
Quickest out of the gate: Paul Stastny (3GP,4G,4A,1GW), no sophomore slump here, the kid continues to impress with playmaking and an unexpected goal-scoring touch.
9. Anaheim Ducks [2-3-1], Last Week: #3 (-6)
Add a tough starting schedule to a good dose of Stanley Cup hangover, and you get the Ducks sub-.500 after the first week of play. Pronger and Co. look exhausted, but despite the jetlag, Perry and Getzlaf seem like they are ready to lead this team offensively. A welcomed 4-days of rest is followed by big games against the Wild and Red Wings.
Quickest out of the gate: Ilya Bryzgalov (1-2-1,2.47GAA,.915SV%), trade-talks won't stop, but he's looking solid in place of starter Giguere.
10. Dallas Stars [2-2-0], Last Week: #7 (-3)
Up-and-down to start the year, the Stars looked positively helpless in losses to the Avs and the Preds. Turco has looked solid, but the Stars are still having trouble finding goals at opportune times. Modano with just 1 assist in four games doesn't help. Getting Ribeiro back in the lineup should provide a much-needed lift.
Quickest out of the gate: Niklas Hagman (4GP,4G,1SHG,2GW), great to see defensive guys pot the odd goal, but 4 goals in as many games?
11. Carolina Hurricanes [2-1-1], Last Week: #14 (+3)
The 'Canes are looking like their old selves again, with guns blazing and Cam Ward playing goalie with a purpose. A very close OT game against the Habs, and statement wins against the Pens and the Leafs made for a strong first week. With the next four contests on the road against strong competition, the Canes will be tested.
Quickest out of the gate: Cam Ward (2-0-1,1.66GAA,.951SV%), looking like a Conn Smythe winner again, finally.
12. Philadelphia Flyers [2-1-0], Last Week: #21 (+9)
On the road to start the season, the Flyers hardly resembled the team that finished last in the league a year ago. The PP, especially, has benefitted from the dramatic personnel overhaul. Solid win against the Flames and an eye-opening 8-2 drubbing of the Canucks book-end a strong road trip marred only by a run-and-shoot loss to the Oilers.
Quickest out of the gate: Daniel Briere (3GP,4G,3A,1GW), showing that not all the top UFA centers from 2007 were drastically overrated.
13. Nashville Predators [2-1-0], Last Week: #18 (+5)
Big wins against Dallas and Colorado showed that this franchise wrongly left for dead still has a very strong pulse. The scoring is still balanced, with Arnott and Legwand leading the way, and Mason hasn't missed a beat in place of recently departed UFA Vokoun. Music City takes its act on the road for a challenging West-Coast swing this week.
Quickest out of the gate: Chris Mason (3GP,1.99GAA,.939SV%), slowly winning the doubters over as he proves that his strong numbers from last season were no fluke.
14. Washington Capitals [3-0-0], Last Week: #20 (+6)
The additions of Nylander, Backstrom and Kozlov have yet to really kick-start the Caps' offense, but Kolzig has stood on his head to keep the Caps undefeated. The new lineup still has plenty of time to click. Upcoming games against the Rangers, Islanders and Pens should provide this revamped lineup's first real test of the season.
Quickest out of the gate: Olaf Kolzig (2-0-0,0.50GAA,.981SV%), showing that age is no issue as he just keeps ticking and ticking.
15. Pittsburgh Penguins [1-2-0], Last Week: #8 (-7)
Malkin continues to impress, but Crosby, Christensen and Staal have yet to get it going. Fleury must be better in net if the team hopes to build on their success from a season ago. The defense in front of him, considered to be the team's Achilles heel, is living up to its reputation. In a tough division, the Pens can ill-afford to fall behind early.
Quickest out of the gate: Evgeni Malkin (3GP,1G,3A), Calder Trophy winner continues to produce points.
16. New Jersey Devils [1-2-0], Last Week: #13 (-3)
Losses to Tampa Bay and Ottawa hurt, but the Devils are still trying to get healthy with Langenbrunner and White out of the lineup. Adjusting to a new style of attack after a decade of trapping will also be a work in progress. Brodeur can still carry this team through any uncertainty, but he needs help from Elias and Gionta if the Devils want to get far.
Quickest out of the gate: Zach Parise (3GP,1G,3A), has quickly become the team's most exciting player to watch.
17. New York Rangers [1-2-0], Last Week: #11 (-6)
Drury looked strong in the season opener against Florida, but he and Gomez have contributed very little in losses to the Sens and Isles. The offseason tinkering wreaked havoc with the team's offensive chemistry. It's up to the goaltending to hold the fort until things get sorted out up front. Perhaps finding a way to score on the PP might be a nice place to start?
Quickest out of the gate: Henrik Lundqvist (1-2-0,2.02GAA,.935SV%), while the rest of the team looks terribly lost, Henrik is still there to light their way.
18. Vancouver Canucks [1-2-0], Last Week: #4 (-14)
While Luongo has often been left out to dry by the Canucks defense, he has surprisingly looked very human and is off to an uncharacteristically mediocre start. 8-2 loss to the lowly Flyers surely doesn't help matters, but the Boulerice hit on Kelser ought to provide some much-needed spark to what has looked like a disinterested team.
Quickest out of the gate: The Sedins (3GP,1G,6A,1GW), although their teammates are looking lackluster, the Sedins continue to wow the league with their sibling chemistry.
19. Buffalo Sabres [0-2-0], Last Week: #6 (-13)
I think we said this last week: it's very premature to write this team off. However, the scoring has dried up and the defense and goaltending have been subpar, both of which have very little to do with losing both of their top two centermen during the offseason. Vanek has 50 million reasons why he should be taking this team by the reigns.
Quickest out of the gate: Jaroslav Spacek (2GP,2G,1A,+1), no offense to Spacek, but with all the talent on the team, he shouldn't be the leading scorer.
20. Calgary Flames [0-2-1], Last Week: #9 (-11)
Keenan is winless in his first week behind the bench, and you can believe the Flames' dressing room is a painful place to be right now. Kiprusoff and Iginla need to be leaders on the ice for this team to have a chance - their division looks much improved and the Flames don't want to get caught standing still this early.
Quickest out of the gate: Daymond Langkow (3GP,4G,3PPG), he's been all over the ice, especially on the PP.
21. Edmonton Oilers [2-2-0], Last Week: #28 (+7)
After winning two tough games to open the season, the Oilers have subsequently returned to earth with deflating losses to the Red Wings and the division-leading Wild. Gagne and Cogliano have made strong cases for staying up with the big club, but it's up to the likes of Souray, Hemsky and Stoll to earn their keep if this team hopes to compete for a playoff spot.
Quickest out of the gate: Dwayne Roloson (1-2-0,2.32GAA,.922SV%), underrated netminder continues to play a solid game between the pipes.
22. St. Louis Blues [2-1-0], Last Week: #23 (+1)
Loss to Phoenix was inauspicious start to the year, but give credit to the veteran-laden Blues for picking themselves up and coming through big against the Kings and Preds. Legace has been solid in net and the team is finally getting some much-needed secondary scoring. Big games against the Avs, Ducks and Wild should provide the first challenge to this Cinderella hopeful.
Quickest out of the gate: Paul Kariya (3GP,5A,10SH), even though he is hardly mentioned as an elite-level NHL player anymore, Kariya still quietly puts up elite-level numbers.
23. Columbus Blue Jackets [2-1-0], Last Week: #27 (+4)
Hitchcock gets to handle this team from the start, and the difference is already evident as the team shut out the Ducks and 'Yotes to start the year. With the addition of Peca coming off of IR, the team should be even stingier to play against. Tough games against the Avs, Stars and Sabres should guage where this team really is by the end of the week.
Quickest out of the gate: Pascal Leclaire (2-0-0,0.00GAA,1.000SV%,2SO), with a perfect start to the year, Leclaire is the undisputed #1 in net... for now.
24. Chicago Blackhawks [1-2-0], Last Week: #25 (+1)
The 'Hawks responded well to losing Havlat indefinitely by celebrating a rare win against the rival Red Wings, but losing the team's biggest scoring threat to start the year will only serve to delay the re-emergence of this once-proud Original Six franchise. Toews scored in his first game, but guys like Lang, Ruutu and Samsonov will need to fill Havlat's shoes.
Quickest out of the gate: Nikolai Khabibulin [1-2-0,1.97GAA,.927SV%], the 'Bulin Wall finally looks more like a wall and less like an immovable contract standing in front of the net.
25. Toronto Maple Leafs [1-2-1], Last Week: #17 (-8)
What a nightmare of ever-escalating tragedies. First, the prized #1 goaltender acquisition turns out to be a glorified #2... then the Leafs get beaten soundly twice by their hated rivals from Ottawa to start the year... then they learn that their prize UFA scorer has cancer... finally they get beat at home 7-1 to the Canes... the week couldn't end soon enough for Leafs fans.
Quickest out of the gate: Mats Sundin (4GP,1G,6A,+4), not all is doomed in Leafs-land, with the captain providing some silver lining.
26. Los Angeles Kings [1-3-0], Last Week: #26 (even)
After an impressive win in London against the rival Ducks to start the season, the Kings appear to have settled back into their perpetual state of complacency with three consecutive losses to conference opponents. Is Bernier going to stick with the team? Will Frolov and Nagy start pulling their weight anytime soon? For this promising team, it's not to late to turn it around.
Quickest out of the gate: Mike Cammalleri (4GP,4G,1A), leading the team with scoring and energy, but who's following?
27. Boston Bruins [1-2-0], Last Week: #29 (+2)
After an ugly loss to Dallas to begin the year, Coach Julien quickly replaced recently acquired #1 netminder Fernandez, with former #1 Tim Thomas. Thomas has been strong, and even spearheaded a victory against the lowly 'Yotes, but there are just too many question marks on this team to overcome. If leaders like Bergeron and Chara don't step up soon, the Bruins could really find themselves in a hole quickly.
Quickest out of the gate: Tim Thomas (1-1-0,1.51GAA,.955SV%), unheralded and unappreciated, Thomas continues to toil away in Beantown to little applause.
28. Phoenix Coyotes [1-2-0], Last Week: #30 (+2)
A win over the Blues to start the year was overshadowed by questionable performances against Boston and Columbus. On a team full of uncertainty, the biggest question is where all the scoring will come from. Mueller, Hanzal, Vrbata and York were supposed to infuse some offense into the Coyotes' moribund attack, but, so far, nothing. Also, it's nice that he's put down roots in the Phoenix-area, but Jovanovski needs to start earning his money or let the team deal him.
Quickest out of the gate: They're all still napping at the starting line...
29. Atlanta Thrashers [0-3-0], Last Week: #24 (-5)
It's troubling that a team with this much talent could score so few goals to start the year. It's also troubling that a team this full of veteran presence can show so little commitment to fundamentals and defense. With upcoming games against the Sabres, Devils, Rangers and Flyers, the Thrashers could very easily find themselves starting the year with 5-6 consecuive losses.
Quickest out of the gate: Kari Lehtonen (0-2-0,3.08GAA,.921SV%), providing steady goaltending wasted in losing causes. Somebody get him some goal-support!
30. Florida Panthers [0-3-0], Last Week: #19 (-11)
The Panthers continue to tease with their potential, but have done little more than fall flat on their faces to open the season. Vokoun has looked out of sorts in net, and that 4-goal meltdown in the 3rd-period of the Rangers game was just simply embarrassing. But one has to wonder... in a market as apathetic as South Florida is to hockey, does anybody out there even care?
Quickest out of the gate: Like the Coyotes, everybody's still in preseason mode.