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Capitals, Kings lead 'Super 16' rankings

by Dave Lozo
To say the showdown of perfect teams between the Capitals and Red Wings on Saturday didn't live up to expectations would be an understatement. It was like flying all the way to Paris to see the Mona Lisa, only to find a drawing by someone's kids hanging in its place in the Louvre.

The Capitals jumped to an early lead and rolled to a 7-1 victory to emerge as the last undefeated team in the NHL this season. Mike Green had 2 goals and 2 assists as the Caps sent a statement that they are the best team in the business right now.

That solved this week's Super 16 in terms of picking the No. 1 team in the League right now, but there are plenty of tough decisions with the 15 teams that follow.

Are the Stars and Avalanche going to keep this up all season? What the heck happened to the Flyers last week? Are the Canucks and Bruins better teams than their records indicate, or will they regress after last season's run to the Stanley Cup Final?

The hottest team in the NHL right now that doesn't reside in America's capital is the one that resides in Los Angeles. They Kings have won four straight -- the last three by shutout with Drew Doughty out of the lineup. They started the season in Europe and hung around the East coast to play the Flyers and Devils right after that. Since getting back to their time zone, they've outscored their opponents 8-0, a major reason for making the huge leap in this week's rankings.

After playing five straight at home to start the season, the Maple Leafs ventured away from cozy confines of Air Canada Centre for the first time. They were waxed in Boston, 6-2, and slipped past Montreal 5-4 in overtime. They have a road test against Philadelphia on Monday and will host the Penguins on Saturday. Those games should give everyone a better idea of what the Leafs will be this season.

But enough of the buildup -- let's look at this week's Super 16 rankings and let the griping begin:

1 Washington (7-0-0) 1 The 82-game exhibition season before the playoffs is going well.
2 Los Angeles (5-1-1) 11 Jonathan Quick hasn't allowed a goal since 1843.
3 Detroit (5-1-0) 2 Seven goals allowed in first five games, seven allowed to Caps.
4 Pittsburgh (6-2-2) 5 James Neal appears to be the real deal with Bill McNeal.
5 Colorado (6-2-0) 4 Varlamov for a first-rounder. We'd all do that deal now, right?
6 Dallas (6-2-0) 6 Not bad for a team barely above the floor. Hail Lehtonen, who is 6-0.
7 Chicago (4-1-2) 15 Yes, it was silly to have them ranked 15th last week.
8 Buffalo (5-2-0) 7 As good as things are going, Ville Leino needs to get it going.
9 Philadelphia (4-2-1) 3 Call up Brayden Schenn, lose two straight. Coincidence? Well, yeah.
10 Toronto (5-1-1) 8 Phil Kessel is on pace for 94 goals and 70 assists.
11 Vancouver (4-3-1) 12 Kesler's back, as will be the Canucks before you know it.
12 Anaheim (4-3-0) 9 If this list seems Western Conference heavy, it's because it is.
13 San Jose (3-3-0) 13 Two wins since the return of Havlat, Sharks are getting better.
14 Boston (3-5-0) 16 What stage of the hangover are they at? Is the headache gone?
15 St. Louis (4-4-0) NR Opponents' combined record: 29-20-6. Five of eight on road.
16 Edmonton (3-2-2) NR Allowing 1.43 GPG. Canucks, Caps, Avs this week. Huge tests.
Dropped out: Islanders, Devils

If you have any problems, questions, anger or praise for this list, you can let me know on Twitter: @davelozo

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