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Super 16

Capitals maintain hold on top spot

Penguins, Ducks take flight in Super 16 rankings

by Dan Rosen @drosennhl / Senior Writer

The Washington Capitals clearly inspire belief in the panel of seven staff members who participate in selecting the Super 16 every week. The Capitals were ranked first by each staff member for the eighth consecutive week and finished No. 1 for the 16th straight week.

The rest of the final rankings before the Stanley Cup Playoffs begins showcase how parity breeds inconsistency in opinions.

For example, five teams received as high as a No. 2 ranking from the seven staff members, with the Los Angeles Kings and Pittsburgh Penguins getting the nod twice in the submissions that make up the Super 16.

The Penguins came in at No. 2 with 92 points because they were ranked in the top four by six of the seven staff members.

Video: NYI@WSH: Oshie sets up Ovechkin for his second goal

The final rankings are calculated by a points-based system based on the submissions by the seven staff members. Point values are assigned to each ranking. The point values are assigned as follows: 16 points for a first-place vote, down to one point for a 16th-place vote.

This week, we also had our first tie in points as the St. Louis Blues and Kings each finished with 87. The Blues were given the advantage, using their place in the League standings as an arbitrary tie breaker.

The Penguins, Anaheim Ducks, Dallas Stars, Blues and Kings all finished within five points of each other.

Here are the rankings for this week, with pertinent information and a Hit and Miss for each team.

1. Washington Capitals (55-17-7)
Total points: 112
Last week: No. 1

Hit: Left wing Alex Ovechkin has found his scoring touch again after a slump. He has four goals in the past four games after scoring two in his previous 12. He leads the NHL with 47 goals.

Miss: Center Nicklas Backstrom has missed three straight games with an upper-body injury. The team as a whole has a slight limp heading into the final three games of the regular season. The Capitals are 2-2-2 in their past six.

2. Pittsburgh Penguins (47-25-8)
Total points: 92
Last week: No. 6

Hit: Talk about red-hot; the Penguins are averaging five goals per game during their current seven-game winning streak. They are 13-1 and averaging 4.14 goals per game in their past 14 games.

Miss: Goalie Marc-Andre Fleury is out with a concussion. Matt Murray has done well in four straight starts (.921 save percentage; nine goals on 114 shots), but the Fleury's absence could be significant in the playoffs, especially if the Penguins' offense cools off.

Video: PIT@OTT: Crosby's goal cuts the deficit to one

3. Anaheim Ducks (44-24-11)
Total points: 89
Last week: No. 5

Hit: They're tied with the Kings for first place in the Pacific Division with 99 points, but they're in control of their own fate as far as winning the division because they have three games remaining to the Kings' two. They play Los Angeles on Thursday at Staples Center.

Miss: They finish the season with three straight road games, including a near cross-country back-to-back Saturday and Sunday starting at Colorado and finishing at Washington. The game against the Capitals was originally scheduled for Jan. 22, but it was postponed because of a blizzard.

4. Dallas Stars (48-23-9)
Total points: 88
Last week: No. 3

Hit: They went a combined 9-1-0 against the Chicago Blackhawks and Minnesota Wild this season. That's good news considering they'll open the playoffs against either the Blackhawks or the Wild, depending if they finish first or second in the Central Division.

Miss: Not only has defenseman John Klingberg (56 points in 74 games) struggled offensively of late with four points, all assists, in his past 12 games, he was on the ice for two shorthanded goals against in Dallas' 3-1 loss against the Ducks on Monday. Klingberg's giveaway led directly to one of those shorthanded goals.

5. St. Louis Blues (48-23-9)
Total points: 87
Last week: No. 2

Hit: Goalie Brian Elliott has won 10 consecutive decisions and is 11-0-1 since his last regulation loss. He has a .939 save percentage (23 goals on 374 shots) in his past 14 appearances.

Miss: Forward David Backes and goalie Jake Allen will not play until the start of the playoffs at the earliest. Each is out with a lower-body injury.

6. Los Angeles Kings (47-28-5)
Total points: 87
Last week: No. 4

Hit: Center Jeff Carter has six goals, including the overtime winner on Tuesday, and nine points in the past six games. He had no goals in the prior eight games before his hot streak.

Miss: Goalie Jonathan Quick has a .896 save percentage (22 goals on 211 shots) in eight starts since the Kings clinched a playoff berth March 19.

Video: LAK@CGY: Carter beats Ortio's five-hole for OT winner

7. Chicago Blackhawks (47-26-7)
Total points: 72
Last week: No. 7

Hit: They are 3-0-0 with 17 goals since defenseman Duncan Keith was suspended for his high stick against Wild forward Charlie Coyle. The forward line featuring Patrick Kane, Artemi Panarin and Artem Anisimov has combined for nine goals and 22 points in the three wins.

Miss: None of their past three wins came against teams in playoff position, so they are still 0-8-3 in their past 11 games against Western Conference playoff teams. They play the Blues on Thursday.

8. Florida Panthers (46-25-9)
Total points: 62
Last week: No. 12

Hit: They are 4-0-0 with 15 goals since losing center Vincent Trocheck (17 points in his last 17 games) to a foot injury. They have set franchise records for wins (46) and points (101).

Miss: They are struggling on the penalty kill of late, going 66.7 percent in their past nine games (22 for 33).

9. San Jose Sharks (45-29-6)
Total points: 55
Last week: No. 9

Hit: They set a franchise record by winning their 28th road game of the season on Tuesday. That's a positive considering it's likely they will open the playoffs on the road against either the Ducks or Kings. The Sharks were 2-0-0 at Staples Center in Los Angeles, but 0-2-0 at Honda Center in Anaheim.

Miss: Their last two games are at home, where they have lost four out of their past five games and are 17-19-3 for the season.

10. New York Rangers (45-26-9)
Total points: 48
Last week: No. 8

Hit: Center Derek Stepan has a hot stick of late with five multi-point games in the past seven games, eight points in the past four games and 14 points in the past eight games.

Miss: Defenseman Ryan McDonagh has a hand injury that could keep him out for the start of the playoffs.

Video: TBL@NYR: Kreider shows off speed, buries a backhand

11. Nashville Predators (40-26-14)
Total points: 43
Last week: No. 11

Hit: Forward Filip Forsberg scored his first goal in six games on Tuesday, giving him 32 for the season, moving him within one of tying Jason Arnott's club record for most goals in a season.

Miss: Goalie Pekka Rinne has allowed 13 goals on 90 shots for a .855 save percentage in his past four starts.

12. Tampa Bay Lightning (45-30-5)
Total points: 37
Last week: No. 10

Hit: Forward Brian Boyle has been a presence in front of the net on the power play of late. He has two power-play goals in the past three games.

Miss: Steven Stamkos (surgery to repair a blood clot), Anton Stralman (fractured left fibula), Victor Hedman (upper-body injury), Ryan Callahan (lower-body injury). Nothing more needs to be said.

13. New York Islanders (44-26-9)
Total points: 32
Last week: No. 14

Hit: Center John Tavares put together back-to-back three-point games in wins against the Lightning and Capitals. He also had two goals in a win against the Columbus Blue Jackets last Thursday.

Miss: Their blue line is banged up at a bad time. Brian Strait joined Travis Hamonic and Calvin de Haan on the injured list Tuesday. Forward Cal Clutterbuck also didn't play against the Capitals on Tuesday.

14. Philadelphia Flyers (39-27-13)
Total points: 25
Last week: No. 15

Hit: Center Sean Couturier is now showing the offense the Flyers always thought he had in his game. He entered play Wednesday with 29 points in his previous 33 games. The Flyers are 33-17-9 with him in the lineup; 5-9-4 without him.

Miss: An extra infusion of speed and skill on the back end could help, but it doesn't appear defenseman Michael Del Zotto is going to be able to return from his left wrist injury in time to start the playoffs, if the Flyers get there.

Video: PHI@DET: Mason stones Helm, Glendening with pad saves

15. Minnesota Wild (38-32-11)
Total points: 12
Last week: No. 13

Hit: They clinched a playoff spot, which looked to be in serious jeopardy when John Torchetti took over as interim coach for Mike Yeo on Feb. 13. The Wild were 1-11-2 in Yeo's last 14 games.

Miss: They've lost four in a row and have only five goals in those games. Defenseman Matt Dumba was scratched for the first time this season in a 3-0 loss against the Sharks on Tuesday. He played in the first 80 games. The previously hot forward line of Erik Haula, Nino Niederreiter and Jason Pominville has two points in the past four games.

16. Detroit Red Wings (41-28-11)
Total points: 8
Last week: NR

Hit: They scored at least one power-play goal in eight straight games before failing to do so in their 3-0 win against the Flyers on Wednesday. The power play was 11-for-25 in that stretch. It was 3-for-48 in 15 games from Feb. 15-March 17.

Miss: Henrik Zetterberg does not have a goal in nine straight games and has one in his past 22.

Out: Boston Bruins

Other receiving votes: Bruins (3 points)


1. Capitals; 2. Penguins; 3. Ducks; 4. Stars; 5. Blues; 6. Kings; 7. Blackhawks; 8. Sharks; 9. Panthers; 10. Predators; 11. Rangers; 12. Flyers; 13. Lightning; 14. Islanders; 15. Wild; 16. Red Wings

1. Capitals; 2. Blues; 3. Stars; 4. Penguins; 5. Panthers; 6. Blackhawks; 7. Ducks; 8. Kings; 9. Rangers; 10. Sharks; 11. Islanders; 12. Lightning; 13. Predators; 14. Flyers; 15. Red Wings; 16. Bruins

1. Capitals; 2. Ducks; 3. Kings; 4. Blues; 5. Stars; 6. Rangers; 7. Blackhawks; 8. Penguins; 9. Sharks; 10. Lightning; 11. Panthers; 12. Predators; 13. Flyers; 14. Islanders; 15. Wild; 16. Red Wings

1. Capitals; 2. Stars; 3. Penguins; 4. Blues; 5. Ducks; 6. Blackhawks; 7. Kings; 8. Panthers; 9. Rangers; 10. Sharks; 11. Lightning; 12. Islanders; 13. Predators; 14. Flyers; 15. Red Wings; 16. Wild

1. Capitals; 2. Penguins; 3. Stars; 4. Kings; 5. Panthers; 6. Blues; 7. Ducks; 8. Blackhawks; 9. Predators; 10. Lightning; 11. Islanders; 12. Rangers; 13. Sharks; 14. Wild; 15. Flyers; 16. Red Wings

1. Capitals; 2. Kings; 3. Ducks; 4. Penguins; 5. Blues; 6. Sharks; 7. Stars; 8. Blackhawks; 9. Panthers; 10. Predators; 11. Lightning; 12. Rangers; 13. Flyers; 14. Islanders; 15. Bruins; 16. Wild

1. Capitals; 2. Kings; 3. Ducks; 4. Penguins; 5. Blackhawks; 6. Blues; 7. Stars; 8. Sharks; 9. Predators; 10. Panthers; 11. Islanders; 12. Rangers; 13. Flyers; 14. Wild; 15. Lightning; 16. Red Wings

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