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Super 16: No arguing with Hawks' scorching start

Monday, 01.28.2013 / 1:00 PM / Super 16: NHL Power Rankings

By Dave Lozo - NHL.com Staff Writer

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Super 16: No arguing with Hawks' scorching start
In the second edition this season of NHL.com's power rankings, Chicago jumps ahead of the pack with its franchise record-setting start to the shortened 2012-13 campaign.

The season is off and running, with 72 games having been played over the past eight days.

Of course, there have been some surprises and teams living up to expectations. While certain players have rightfully grabbed the headlines with their hot starts -- we're all looking at you, Patrick Marleau -- a lot of players are having strong beginnings to the season that aren't getting as much attention.

In the second installment of the Super 16, we take a look at players who deserve your praise through a little more than a week of the season and may not have gotten it just yet.

RANK TEAM
LAST WEEK COMMENTARY
1 6 Chicago Blackhawks: Quietly off to a good start is Dave Bolland, who is making the most of his new role as the team's second-line center. He has three goals and one assist while seeing more ice time and more power-play time with Chicago's most-skilled players.
2 8 San Jose Sharks: There isn't a coach in the NHL who wouldn't want Joe Pavelski on his team. While Patrick Marleau and Joe Thornton grab the headlines, Pavelski has two goals and eight assists in five games. He does the little things that usually don't show up on the score sheet, but he's been there plenty in the early going.
3 1
Boston Bruins: Nathan Horton is healthy and slowly finding his game after a nearly year-long absence in part because of a concussion. Coach Claude Julien says having Horton back gives him a scoring asset, but more importantly, allows his forwards to fit into their proper slots in the lineup.
4 4 St. Louis Blues: It's easy to forget Andy McDonald is nearly a point-per-game player the past two seasons because he's only played 73 games over that time due to injury. He's producing at that same rate to start this season, quietly reaping the benefits (2G, 3A) playing alongside Vladimir Tarasenko.
5 2 Pittsburgh Penguins: There aren't too many unheralded scorers getting the job done for the Pens, but defenseman Paul Martin is off to a strong start. He has a goal and two assists in five games and has been far more effective defensively this season. He played 30:26 on Sunday in Ottawa.
6 16
Ottawa Senators: The Senators were a different team after acquiring Kyle Turris last season, and he's continuing to make a difference this season. He has four goals in five games and is looking like a future perennial All-Star in Ottawa.
7 NR
Tampa Bay Lightning: Steven Stamkos, Martin St. Louis and Vincent Lecavalier are all doing what they normally do, but it's been rookie and reigning AHL MVP Cory Conacher who has broken onto the scene. He has seven points in five games and is making an early case for Calder Trophy consideration.
8 NR
New Jersey Devils: Have you heard of Ilya Kovalchuk? The name may ring a bell, so his numbers do not fly under the radar. But his defense that was once a question mark is now a strength. In 105 minutes, 37 seconds of ice time this season, he has yet to be on the ice for a goal against.
9 3 New York Rangers: With Marian Gaborik, Rick Nash and Brad Richards on one line, secondary scoring has been sorely lacking. But of all the players to step up in that role, few had Taylor Pyatt pegged for three goals in five games. He's been a bright spot amongst a thin forward group behind the big guns.
10 5 Los Angeles Kings: The leading scorer of the Kings is, of course, Kyle Clifford with five points in four games. He had 12 points in 81 games last season, and while Anze Kopitar, Jeff Carter and Dustin Brown look to find their legs, Clifford is showing he can do more than drop the mitts.
11 NR Montreal Canadiens: There really isn't an individual having a stand-out start that deserves more attention, but as a group, they're playing terrific even-strength hockey. The Canadiens have just one player who is a minus (Lars Eller, minus-1) and have allowed just two goals at 5-on-5 this season.
12 10 Vancouver Canucks: Zack Kassian, 22, has three goals in five games. Cody Hodgson, who the Canucks dealt to the Sabres at least year's deadline to get Kassian, has three goals in five games. Kassian has spent time playing with the Sedins and held his own so far with David Booth and Ryan Kesler out of the lineup.
13 NR Minnesota Wild: The arrival of Zach Parise has led to a rebirth for Dany Heatley. After seeing his goal totals drop precipitously since 2007-08, he has four goals in five games. Last season when Heatley scored 24 goals in 82 games, he didn't get his fourth goal until game 13.
14 14 Dallas Stars: Stephane Robidas is among the League leaders in plus/minus at plus-6. He is second on the team in blocked shots (10) and hits (13). The 35-year-old will never come up in Norris Trophy talk, but he's off to a rock-solid start.
15 NR
Winnipeg Jets: Tobias Enstrom's numbers dipped across the board last season. He went from 72 games to 62 and 51 points to 33. So far, so good health-wise to start the season, as the diminutive Enstrom is averaging more than 26 minutes per game in the early going.
16 13 Colorado Avalanche: As a Ranger last year, John Mitchell played about 10 minutes per night, but his ice time dipped into single digits as the season progressed. As an Av, he's playing 14 minutes per night, seeing time on the power play and penalty kill, and has two goals in four games after getting five in 63 last year. He's also won 62.5 percent of draws (5-0 on shorthanded draws).

Just Missed: Nashville, Detroit, Anaheim, Edmonton, Carolina

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Quote of the Day

It's time we got a break. People that have watched us, I'm sure they said, 'Finally, some things are going our way.' We'll take the breaks when they go our way.

— Boston Bruins coach Claude Julien after a 3-2 overtime win against the Minnesota Wild on Wednesday to snap a three-game losing streak
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