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NHL Power Rankings 2011: Dallas Stars Rated As A Top 5 NHL Team

The surprising 8-3-0 Stars are on top of the league and earning respect, but not everyone believes Dallas is legit.

The upstart Dallas Stars are among the league's best teams through five weeks, at least according a variety of journalists' arbitrary power rankings. Real Clear Sports averages the rankings of seven major media outlet's rankings, and the 8-3 Stars are fourth in the NHL, behind only Washington, Pittsburgh and San Jose

The Stars moved seven spots to No. 2 in Nabil Karim's rankings for the CBC, their highest ranking in any poll. Gushes Kabrim:

The 8-3-0 start is the fourth best in team history since the club moved to Dallas in 1993. Much of the credit has to be thrown Kari Lehtonen's way. He's been dazzling to start the year with a 1.75 GAA and a .947 save percentage in nine games. A much tougher schedule in November with every opponent at least .500 or better (as of Tuesday).

The lowest ranking for Dallas is a tied between The Hockey News and Sports Illustrated, who moved the Stars up from 10th but are admittedly skeptical of the early success:

We're not yet sold on this team being for real, but for now it continues to get great goaltending from Kari Lehtonen (NHL's Second Star for October) and timely scoring. Too bad nobody in Dallas seems to care. Through their first six home dates at American Airlines Center (without any competition from the NBA champion Mavericks, Mind you) the Stars were dead last in attendance (9,671 per game). No doubt, the Texas Rangers' run to Game 7 of the World Series had fans focused elsewhere, but those are alarming numbers.

How about that - a northeastern media outlet is the lowest outlier in the rankings, and they spend their allotted capsule space on a surprise success story talking about attendance in the sun belt? We're shocked!

For more on the Dallas Stars, check out Defending Big D. For everything NHL, visit SB Nation's main hockey page

Photographs by jamesbrandon, jdtornow, phlezk, flygraphix, mcdlttx, tomasland, and literalbarrage used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.