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Pierre Lebrun, Canadian Press
Published: Tuesday, October 17, 2006

TORONTO (CP) - The Dallas Stars and Minnesota Wild made a move upward with great starts while the Boston Bruins and Phoenix Coyotes tumbled. Our totally subjective and weekly ranking of the league's 30 clubs:

1. Buffalo. Warning: Daniel Briere says his team still hasn't played its best hockey.

2. San Jose. Vesa Toskala has a slight, early edge over Evgeni Nabokov.

3. Dallas. Former Habs centre Mike Ribeiro off to a strong start.

4. Anaheim. Ilya Bryzgalov pulled in favour of J.S. Giguere on Sunday night. Ouch.

5. Minnesota. Riding the NHL's top power play.

6. Detroit. Norris Trophy winner Nicklas Lidstrom storms out of the gate with seven assists and plus-7 rating in five games.

7. Toronto. Goalies beware: Paul Maurice's Leafs lead the NHL with 38.8 shots per game.

8. Atlanta. Kari Lehtonen is indeed a franchise goalie.

9. Montreal. Go figure, Guy Carbonneau's team leads the NHL in penalty killing.

10. New Jersey. So much for needing training camp, Brian Gionta flying with eight points in five games.

11. Carolina. The Stanley Cup champs have awoken.

12. N.Y. Rangers. Brendan Shanahan on fire with seven goals already.

13. Vancouver. Defenceman Kevin Bieksa making a name for himself.

14. Edmonton. Captain Canada Ryan Smyth off to a great start.

15. Chicago. Leading the league in goals per game.

16. Florida. Alex Auld hammering Ed Belfour in the goalie battle.

17. Ottawa. If there's such a thing - huge early-season win at Montreal.

18. Nashville. Tomas Vokoun back to normal.

19. Calgary. Worst power play in the NHL.

20. Columbus. Sergei Fedorov close to returning.

21. Boston. Problems in goal.

22. Philadelphia. Can Peter Nedved still play in the NHL?

23. Tampa Bay. Offence in neutral right now.

24. Pittsburgh. Ryan Malone was hoping for a quick start but he's pointless in four games.

25. Colorado. Jose Theodore returns to Montreal on Saturday.

26. Los Angeles. Rob Blake: no points and minus-3 rating.

27. St. Louis. Keep an eye on Lee Stempniak.

28. Washington. Former Habs winger Richard Zednik already minus-4 with no points.

29. N.Y. Islanders. Backup Mike Dunham stole a game in Anaheim.

30. Phoenix. Ladislav Nagy needs to step it up big time.

© The Canadian Press 2006
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