Haggerty's NHL Power Rankings: Last stand for Preds?
Haggerty's NHL Power Rankings: Last stand for Preds?
Who would have guessed that the Nashville Predators, the New York Islanders and Detroit Red Wings would be among the top five teams in the power rankings headed into the NHL All-Star break? The Ducks are a tried and true Western Conference power, of course, and the Montreal Canadiens have been in the top 10 all season.
But there is some new blood among the NHL’s elite this season, and that will be interesting to see how things play out for those teams down the stretch into the playoffs. Once the teams come back from the break, one would expect that the traditional NHL powerhouses are really going to turn on the jets and start getting some separation from everybody else.
But right now it looks like there will be some new blood near the top of the NHL power structure, though the Predators will be hard-pressed to maintain their stature with goaltender Pekka Rinne missing with an injury. That’s all part of the game, however.
Without further ado here are this week’s power rankings:
1. Nashville Predators (30-10-4, rank last week: 1) - We’ll give the Predators one more week at No. 1, but they’re about to hit a meteor with Pekka Rinne out of the lineup.
2. Anaheim Ducks (30-10-6, rank last week: 4) – The Ducks have won six of their seven games in the month of January, and that includes wins over the Blues, Predators and Kings. Once again they’re rolling through the regular season.
3. New York Islanders (31-14-1, rank last week: 5) – The Isles are the kings of the Metro Division after taking down the Penguins and Rangers.
4. Detroit Red Wings (27-11-9, rank last week: 11) – The Red Wings are one of the hottest teams in the league with five wins in a row, and they’ve done it without the injured Jimmy Howard.
5. Montreal Canadiens (29-13-3, rank last week: 6) – Good wins over the Islanders and Predators over the last few days for the Habs, who are riding Carey Price to some excellent results.
6. St. Louis Blues (29-13-4, rank last week: 9) – David Backes, T.J. Oshie and Alex Steen continue to stay hot for a Blues team that’s been an offensive juggernaut all season.
7. Tampa Bay Lightning (30-14-4, rank last week: 2) – The Bolts are still leading the Atlantic Division for now, but they’re not getting the same play out of Ben Bishop this season. That may become an issue.
8. Chicago Blackhawks (29-15-2, rank last week: 10) – The Blackhawks are 4-5 in nine games during the month of January, and look like a team that could use a break.
9. New York Rangers (27-13-4, rank last week: 8) – The Rangers have won eight of their last 10 games, and have been winning with speed, speed and more speed.
10. Pittsburgh Penguins (26-12-7, rank last week: 7) – The Penguins have lost three in a row, and were once again bullied by the Flyers on Tuesday night. Some things just never change.
11. Winnipeg Jets (25-14-8, rank last week: 15) – Four wins in a row where they’ve outscored opponents by a 17-8 margin, and dusted off the Blackhawks within that winning stretch. The Jets continue to look very real.
12. Boston Bruins (25-16-6, rank last week: 13) – The Bruins are 10-3-3 in the 16 games since David Krejci returned from injuries. They've really been a different team.
13. Washington Capitals (24-13-9, rank last week: 10) – Three losses in a row, including back-to-back defeats to the Stars and Edmonton Oilers. The Caps are dropping like a stone.
14. San Jose Sharks (24-17-6, rank last week: 18) – San Jose Sharks coach Todd McLellan wonders if his players have the “drive” capable of winning the important games. We’ve all wondered the same for the last 10 years.
15. Vancouver Canucks (26-16-3, rank last week: 14) – Ryan Miller getting on a hot streak between the pipes to end the work schedule prior to the All-Star break.
16. Calgary Flames (25-18-3, rank last week: 17) – The Flames are 4-0-0 on a huge road trip through Vancouver, Arizona, San Jose and Los Angeles. That’s a big statement from a team that needs to push for the playoffs.
17. Florida Panthers (20-14-10, rank last week: 12) – Reality might be hitting the scrappy Panthers as they hit a wall with a losing streak going into the All-Star break.
18. Los Angeles Kings (20-14-12, rank last week: 16) – The Kings finish up a seven-game home stand with a 1-4-2 record, and they look like a tired hockey team.
CHECKING FROM BEHIND
19. Dallas Stars (21-18-7, rank last week: 22) – The only teams in the West that have allowed more goals than Dallas are Arizona and Edmonton. That’s not the recipe for long term, sustained success.
20. Colorado Avalanche (19-18-10, rank last week: 20) – With all the young talent of the Avs, Alex Tanguay and Jarome Iginla are the top two-point guys on the Avalanche. That just doesn’t seem right, does it?
21. Minnesota Wild (20-20-6, rank last week: 27) – Devan Dubnyk seems to have stabilized things for the Wild a little bit, but this is a still a hockey team on life support.
22. Toronto Maple Leafs (18-16-7, rank last week: 19) – Five losses in a row, upset fans getting arrested and barred from the building after tossing Leafs jerseys on the ice and just a complete level of dysfunction. What a mess.
23. Ottawa Senators (18-18-9, rank last week: 21) – The Senators definitely feel like a team in transition. Perhaps there will be a better hockey club on the other side, but this won’t be the year for them as they build back up.
24. Columbus Blue Jackets (20-21-3, rank last week: 23) – The Blue Jackets might not be a playoff team this season, but they have a ton of heart. They sound like they’ll also be spectacular hosts for NHL All-Star weekend.
25. Philadelphia Flyers (19-22-7, rank last week: 24) – There is something very impressive with Jakub Voracek leading the NHL in scoring, and also beating up Rob Scuderi when he doesn’t like a hit that he absorbed.
26. New Jersey Devils (17-22-8, rank last week: 26) – The Devils should probably trade Jaromir Jagr unless they want to see a parade of selfies with him from the bench and penalty box for the rest of the season.
27. Arizona Coyotes (16-25-5, rank last week: 25) – Six losses in a row, and the trading of assets from the desert should be coming sooner rather than later.
28. Carolina Hurricanes (16-25-5, rank last week: 28) – The Hurricanes are 6-2-1 in the nine games during the month of January, and have really shown some heart in a lost season.
29. Edmonton Oilers (12-26-9, rank last week: 30) – The Oilers are out of the bottom spot in the power rankings. That should be reason to celebrate in Edmonton.
30. Buffalo Sabres (14-30-3, rank last week: 29) – The Sabres have lost 11 games in a row, and have Buffalo media carving up Tim Murray and the situation this season. It will be all worth it when Connor McDavid shows up next season and brings new excitement with him.