by Max - 01/05/2006
Doc's had a very profitable week in the National Hockey League, as our Game of the Year went into the books as a win. The selection was Minnesota -105 over Vancouver and the Wild dominated the contest in the second period, scoring three goals. Vancouver mounted a late charge in the third period, but Minnesota hung on for the 4-3 victory. This was our only 8-unit selection of the 2005-2006 season and topped off a fantastic start to the NHL season. We now sit at +34 units and only see bright lights in the future.
The hottest team in the league is the Detroit Red Wings, as they closed out the 2005 season winning five straight games. They allowed just 11 goals in those five games and look to take control of the Western Conference.
Here is how I see the top ten teams in the NHL according to strength.
1) Ottawa Senators (unchanged)- The Sens only seem to lose when Dominick Hasek is resting. The last game he did not play, Ottawa went down by a score of 8-3. The Senators have won five out of their last six and could possible have the No. 1 seed wrapped up by the Olympic break in February.
2) Detroit Red Wings (unchanged)- The Wings had the most impressive win during the holiday week, as they went into Dallas and came away with a 3-1 victory. Detroit has scored 26 goals over their last six games and if they get any type of goaltending, this team can find themselves in the Stanley Cup Finals.
3) Philadelphia Flyers (+3)- The Flyers are in the midst of an 11-game road trip and have won five out of their first six games. Four out of their last five games have went into overtime so it will be interesting to see if fatigue will be a factor.
4) Carolina Hurricanes (+1)- The Hurricanes are solid on both sides of the puck and are lead by Eric Staal and his 26 goals. That currently puts him in second place and if Martin Gerber can hold up, this will be one of the two teams that could challenge Ottawa in the playoffs.
5) Los Angeles Kings (unranked)- The Kings won two games against their Pacific Division rival Dallas last week to put them atop the standings. After last night's game with Phoenix the Kings travel on the road for their next four games. I would expect Dallas to over take them in the division but with Pavol Demitra leading the charge, this team has a chance to win every night it takes the ice.
6) Nashville Predators (-3)- The Predators picked up a big win in Calgary last Tuesday but then dropped four games in a row with three of them coming on the road. This team has trouble winning if it allows more then three goals in a game and lately Thomas Vokoun has not been as sharp. This is an important week for them to right the ship.
7) Calgary Flames (unchanged)- The Flames have won five out of their last six games and the MVP for this team continues to be Miikka Kiprusoff. A surprise stat is the slow play of all-star Jerome Iginla, who has just 32 points on the season. Coach Darryl Sutter has shaken up the lines hoping to generate more offense. That being said, this is still one of the teams to beat in the Western Conference.
8) Buffalo Sabres (unchanged)- The Sabres have lost two out of their last three games against bad competition. One of those losses came at home against Florida, who has just won four road games this entire season. They now trail Ottawa by five points and the best this team can hope for is a number four seed, which would give them home ice in the first round of the playoffs.
9) New York Rangers (unranked)- The Rangers continue to have the best player in the league, as Jaromir Jagr leads the NHL in scoring. His line scored 12 points in a 6-2 victory of the Islanders last week and it is apparent that this team's success will come by outscoring their opponents.
10) Edmonton Oilers (unranked)- Edmonton moves into the rankings this week after having won seven of their last ten games. This team has a similar record both home and away and is just two points behind Calgary in the very competitive Northwest division. Jussi Markkanen is a solid No. 1 net minder that gives this team a chance to win a series in the playoffs.
Doc's is set to release their, "Game of the Week" this Saturday, Jan. 7. Doc's is coming off a big win last weekend and looks for their 10th top play win for the season. To purchase Doc's Game of the Week check back to this Web site on Saturday. The selection will be available by 11 a.m. EST.