NHL Power Rankings: Coyotes on a wild run

Goal-scoring goaltender Mike Smith of the Phoenix Coyotes holds the puck from his first NHL goal against the Detroit Red Wings at Jobing.com Arena.

Everything is coming up Mike Smith.

Saturday’s perfect end-to-end shot that resulted in the 14th goal ever scored by an NHL goaltender was just the cherry on top of a fantastic run that Phoenix is enjoying.

Since dropping back-to-back games against the Sharks and Islanders in the first week of the season, the Desert Dogs have captured at least a point in the seven games they’ve played since. None of their losses have been at the hands of a team that failed to make the postseason last year, and they’ve beat the Detroit Red Wings twice (combined score: 9-4).

It’s not just Smith whose scoring for the Coyotes, though. Centre Mike Ribeiro is quietly going about his business of being a great off-season signing, leading the team with five goals and nine points. And winger Mikkel Boedker has eight points in his last eight games.

If Phoenix can continue its strong play, the Coyotes’ new owners could see playoff tailgating and Smith could squeeze his way on Team Canada’s flight to Sochi.

Rank Team
1

The only NHL club yet to lose a regulation game has 17 points in nine games and has managed to hold its own without top defenceman Dan Boyle in the lineup. Three straight weeks at No. 1.

Previous: 1

2

Someone buy Francois Allaire a gift basket or something, please. The Avalanche have essentially the same players as last season but are playing like a completely new team. Their new goaltending coach has helped Semyon Varlamov and JS Giguere become the league’s best tandem.

Previous: 3

3

Sidney Crosby’s point streak and Marc-Andre Fleury’s win streak both came to an end when the Penguins lost Battle of Cole Harbour I, but this is still the most dangerous team in the East.

Previous: 2

4

Still perfect at home, the Ducks got good and Kessel’d Tuesday night in Toronto despite jumping to a lead. Don’t expect them to squander another two-goal lead anytime soon. Power play needs work, though.

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5

The only game in which the Blues have failed to earn a point came against the league-leading Sharks, and they’ve trumped the Blackhawks twice. And how ’bout that Alex Steen?

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6

Interesting: The Blackhawks have played seven of their nine games against Eastern Conference opponents. They have yet to beat a team from the West.

Previous: 6

7

Wow, look how well the Tampa Bay Lightning is playing! Maybe they’ll be able to beat the Bruins at home? Nope: 5-0 Bruins road shutout.

Previous: 9

8

You know a team is playing well when Jonas Gustavsson is named the league’s star of the week and you’re shutting out teams in the games you lose. Good news: Niklas Kronwall’s injury isn’t as bad as it looked.

Previous: 8

9

Jonathan Bernier blows a standings point (or two) against the Hurricanes, the Leafs get outclassed in Chicago, and folks are ready to write them off. Then they come up big against the mighty Ducks, and things don’t look so bad.

Previous: 7

10

The Coyotes are on fire. After getting shellacked 6-1 in Long Island on Oct. 8, they’ve earned points in seven straight games. And if you’ve been living under a red rock, goaltender Mike Smith scored a goal.

Previous: 17

11

The Kings are playing good but not great hockey and won’t face a real challenge until they host San Jose at the end of the month. A big win or a big loss against a contender could do wonders for waking this team up.

Previous: 13

12

Vancouver is holding its own on this seven-game road trip, having stolen seven of a possible 10 points in enemy territory. Round 2 of Luongo-Schneider on deck.

Previous: 15

13

After a so-so season in 2013, Jeff Skinner has leaped to the club lead in points. Carolina has earned points in three straight games.

Previous: 20

14

They came up empty against the Bruins, but only after beating the Kings and Wild by a combined score of 8-2. Ever reliable, Steven Stamkos and Martin St. Louis once again rank in the NHL’s top 10 in points per game.

Previous: 11

15

Before getting shut out by a scrambling Minnesota Wild defence Tuesday, the Preds had earned points in five straight. We might look back at the 2013 draft and laugh that wonder rookie Seth Jones slipped to No. 4.

Previous: 21

16

The Blue Jackets welcomed a return home, beating the Canucks and Devils by a combined score of 7-2.

Previous: 14

17

Jonas Brodin and Matt Cooke have more points than Zach Parise — a player paid handsomely to score. Minny is thankful its goaltending has been so sharp.

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18

The Senators are getting production from their key players — Spezza, Ryan, Karlsson, Turris and Michalek — and the goalies are also playing well. It’s all about limiting the opposition’s shots. That, and sticking it to Alfie’s Red Wings.

Previous: 12

19

Another middling week on Long Island, and the 3-3-3 Islanders continue to balance highs (points in three of four) with lows (Lubomir Visnovsky hitting IR with a concussion).

Previous: 18

20

Oh, boy. The Canadiens might want to rewind a week, when their team was healthier and Lars Eller had yet to inspire Oilers coach Dallas Eakins. With the Sharks and Ducks on deck, the Habs’ losing skid could easily hit four games.

Previous: 10

21

The Capitals’ five-game road trip is off to a good start, and Ovechkin & Co. have scored nine goals in their last two games.

Previous: 22

22

The Flames have started to come back down to earth, losing three of four. This isn’t a playoff team, but announcing that early Calder candidate Sean Monahan will remain with the big club is a wise move. The kid leads the team in goals with six.

Previous: 16

23

The Jets hit the road with plenty to prove. This team isn’t as bad as they’ve been playing lately. Coach Claude Noel says they’re putting talent before work. Time to clock in.

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24

Consecutive road victories over the Senators and Canadiens have allowed the Oilers to climb out of the Western basement.

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25

Tim Thomas looks to have suffered his second injury of this young season, and reports surfaced that the Panthers are holding a fire sale on all veterans. Still, they’ve earned points in their last two games.

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26

The Stars’ latest skid indicates just how valuable injured Kari Lehtonen is to this team. They’ve given up at least three goals in each of their last four contests. Lehtonen is off the IR, so expect a turnaround.

Previous: 25

27

The Rangers’ road trip from hell will come to a merciful end Monday. It’s a journey that has already cost them five losses, a backup goalie (Martin Biron), Rick Nash, captain Ryan Callahan, and now Henrik Lundqvist is ailing.

Previous: 19

28

Not that he has a choice, but Martin Brodeur has conceded the starting role to Cory Schneider, who earned his first shutout as a Devil on Saturday and gets to face the Canucks on home ice. Think this team needs offence? Veteran D-man Marek Zidlicky is their leading point-getter.

Previous: 28

29

The Flyers are going from bad to sad. Captain Claude Giroux made headlines by stating that this team will make the playoffs. There is plenty of work to do, personnel to heal, and odds to defy if that promise is to become reality.

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30

One win in 11 attempts. So… how much for Ryan Miller?

Previous: 30