Helene Elliott’s NHL rankings

Rank; Team; Record; (Previous rank)

1. Philadelphia; 33-12-5; Flyers have the NHL’s best road record at 17-5-3 and lead league overall but don’t have anyone among the top 10 scorers. They’re doing it with balance. (1)

2. Vancouver; 31-10-9; Canucks’ plus-44 goal differential matches Flyers’ for league’s best. But they will miss defenseman Alex Edler, who had back surgery and is likely to be out six weeks. (2)

3. Detroit; 30-13-6; Red Wings activated Pavel Datsyuk (broken wrist) just before the All-Star break. Getting him back will be a tremendous lift. (4)


4. Dallas; 30-15-5; Stars have been one of the NHL’s biggest surprises. Brad Richards (20 goals, 57 points) is having a monster season but Stars’ ownership problems might lead to his exit. (3)

5. Tampa Bay; 31-15-5; Lightning went into the All-Star break with a five-game winning streak and Steven Stamkos leading the league in goals (38) and points (67). (9)

6. Pittsburgh; 31-15-4; Sidney Crosby, who missed the All-Star game and has been out since Jan. 5 because of a concussion, was cleared to begin light workouts. (7)

7. Boston; 28-15-7; Marc Savard’s head injury will mean more minutes at center for No. 2 pick Tyler Seguin, who had looked better on the wing than in the middle. A big test for him and the Bruins. (5)


8. Washington; 27-15-9; Interesting that Alexander Semin wanted only a one-year extension, at $6.7 million. Also interesting — and not good — that Capitals have been shut out seven times this season. (6)

9. Montreal; 27-18-5; Canadiens’ depth on defense was tested by injuries, but rookie P.K. Subban has stepped up admirably. Habs have 10 more points after 50 games than a year ago. (11)

10. Chicago; 26-20-4; Home losses to Flyers and Wild were a reminder of Blackhawks’ inconsistency. They now face 17 of 26 on the road in February and March. (10)

11. Nashville; 27-17-6; Predators lost their last two before the All-Star break but goalie Pekka Rinne continues to shine with a 2.11 goals-against average and .929 save percentage. (8)


12. N.Y. Rangers; 29-20-3; Henrik Lundqvist, Martin Biron excel in compiling fifth-ranked team goals-against average of 2.37. (13)

13. Ducks; 28-20-4; They won 10 of 13 heading into the break. Ryan Getzlaf, out since suffering nasal fractures on Dec. 28, is expected back next week. They’re making the West interesting. (14)

14. Phoenix; 25-17-9; Defenseman Keith Yandle (eight goals, 44 points) has emerged as a leader but Yotes need cohesive team efforts every game to retain a playoff spot. (12)

15. Carolina; 25-19-6; Hurricanes did a nice job hosting the All-Star game. Now it’s back to business and getting into the top eight in the East. They should be able to do it. (17)


16. San Jose; 25-19-6; Sharks went into the All-Star break with a 4-0-1 surge but remain baffling in their inconsistency. Joe Thornton had only 13 goals. Not good enough. (15)

17. Minnesota; 25-19-5; Wild went into All-Star break on a high after rallying to beat the Blackhawks in first victory in a game in which it trailed after two periods. A 12-6-1 push puts Wild in playoff contention. (16)

18. Calgary; 24-21-6; Flames entered break with longest active winning streak in the West, at four. Veteran Craig Conroy was waived and might retire. Good luck to a classy guy. (21)

19. Kings; 27-22-1; Roller-coaster ride continues with 2-10 slump followed by three wins a row. Their plus-19 goal differential is third-best in the West but they’re a point out of a playoff spot. Go figure. (20)


20. Colorado; 25-19-6; With goalie Craig Anderson struggling, the Avalanche has league-worst 3.25 team goals-against average. Peter Forsberg is likely to return after three years’ retirement. (18)

21. Buffalo; 23-21-5; Sabres entered the break on a season-best 9-3-1 surge, but victories over Senators and Islanders make that look better than it probably is. (19)

22. Atlanta; 24-19-9; Thrashers seem the most likely team to drop out of top eight in the East. They won only three of their last 10 games before the break. (23)

23. Florida; 22-22-5; Panthers’ goal differential is even, which is better than three teams ahead of them in East standings. (26)


24. New Jersey; 16-30-3; Devils have won six of their last 10, and even Ilya Kovalchuk is playing well. But Jacques Lemaire said he won’t return next season. (25)

25. St. Louis; 22-20-7; Blues lost four in a row before the break and are 2-8-2 since New Year’s Eve, with both wins at the Kings’ expense. Their defense is falling apart. (24)

26. Columbus; 23-21-5; Stud winger Rick Nash told the Columbus Dispatch he can’t see himself asking out and he believes in the team’s future. Not sure he has much company there. (22)

27. Toronto; 19-25-5; Goaltender Jonas (The Monster) Gustavsson hasn’t been able to establish himself and might lose job to James Reimer. (27)


28. N.Y. Islanders; 15-27-7; After a brief surge they lost three in a row and eight of 10 heading into the All-Star break. Matt Moulson took a big leap of faith to re-sign for three years. (28)

29. Ottawa; 17-25-8; Rumors say General Manager Bryan Murray refused to fire Coach Cory Clouston. It’s likely both will be gone at season’s end. (29)

30. Edmonton; 15-26-8; The Oilers rank 29th in team goals-against average (3.24) and power play (12.8%) and last in penalty killing (73.9%). That says it all. (30)