20. Columbus Blue Jackets (21-20-4, last week: 22) – A quiet 16 goals and 33 points for Ryan Johansen, who is leading a Blue Jackets team off to an impressive 4-1 start in the month of January.
19. Toronto Maple Leafs (22-20-5, last week: 15) – The Leafs stopped the hemorrhage with a shootout win over the Devils, but they allowed 21 goals in a four-game losing streak. The vultures are starting to circle around Randy Carlyle.
18. Ottawa Senators (20-18-8, last week: 17) – A big shootout win over the Habs was impressive, as is the 5-0-1 record over the last six games that’s pushed Bryan Murray into “buy mode” rather than “sell mode.”
17. Phoenix Coyotes (21-14-9, last week: 14) – Shane Doan isn’t happy with the way Phoenix is playing, and they’re 3-6-4 in their last 13 games. They’re getting left out in the dust in the desert.
16. Philadelphia Flyers (23-19-4, last week: 24) – The Flyers are back in the playoff picture as they should be, but got handled by the Rangers and Lightning over the weekend.
15. New York Rangers (24-20-3, last week: 20) – The Blueshirts have won seven of their last ten, and Brad Richards, Rick Nash and Henrik Lundqvist are starting to play their best hockey. That’s the recipe for success.
14. Detroit Red Wings (20-16-10, last week: 12) – The Wings scored four goals in three road games against the Ducks, Kings and Sharks last week, and lost two of three. That is an Eastern Conference gauntlet if ever there was one.
13. Washington Capitals (22-16-7, last week: 15) – The Capitals are erratic, but they’re also slotted in as the second-best team in the Metro Division at this point.
12. Minnesota Wild (25-18-5, last week: 16) – Five wins in their last six games have cooled the hot seat for Mike Yeo, and keep their playoff aspirations realistic in a tough conference.
11. Vancouver Canucks (24-13-9, last week 11) – The Canucks have lost five of six, but also taken points in their last three games. They’re just grinding in front of Eddie Lack right now.