Haggerty's NHL Power Rankings: Too much Montreal
Haggerty's NHL Power Rankings: Too much Montreal
The Montreal Canadiens have been No. 1 now for two straight weeks, but there are those that believe this is all just a mirage. The plus-4 goal differential isn’t impressive at all for the Habs, and the Canadiens rank 21st (goals scored) and 26th (power play success rate) in the more conventional team offense categories.
They’re not even all that impressive defensively while allowing 2.5 goals per game, but there’s no doubting their numbers have been dragged down by a handful of losses where they just didn’t show up for work. They’ve been shut out four times already this season and have been outscored 24-1 in losses to the Blackhawks, Oilers, Rangers, Lightning and Penguins, which also tells you that they’ve struggled at times against quality teams as well.
But they’ve been excellent aside from those singular stink bombs, and they continue to torment the Bruins while outscoring them 13-5 in three wins this season. That should be worthy of plenty of respect for a team that leads the entire NHL with 33 points entering this week.
Without further ado here are this week’s power rankings:
1. Montreal Canadiens (16-6-1, rank last week: 1) - Most points in the league and complete mastery of their arch-rivals in Boston again this season. That’s enough to make you ignore the one-sided loss on Sunday night.
2. Anaheim Ducks (13-4-5, rank last week: 5) – Corey Perry is back, the mumps are in the rear view mirror and the Ducks are moving up the charts again.
3. St. Louis Blues (14-6-1, rank last week: 3) – The Blues are back to full health with the return of T.J. Oshie, and don’t have any major weaknesses on their team.
4. Tampa Bay Lightning (14-6-2, rank last week: 4) – The Lightning keep winning, and Steve Stamkos and Tyler Johnson keep on scoring.
5. New York Islanders (14-6-0, rank last week: 9) – The Isles have won three in a row, eight of their last 10 and spanked the Penguins in back-to-back games. Everything is coming up Island right now.
6. Pittsburgh Penguins (13-4-2, rank last week: 2) – The Penguins get swept in a home-and-home with the New York Islanders in a major Metro Division development.
7. Nashville Predators (13-5-2, rank last week: 6) – The plus-15 goal differential and 7-1-1 record on home ice lets you know that the Preds aren’t doing it with smoke and mirrors.
8. Vancouver Canucks (14-6-1, rank last week: 7) – Three of four points from Anaheim and Chicago is pretty good work over the last few days. They could stand to step up the defense a little bit, but they look like playoff material.
9. Los Angeles Kings (11-6-4, rank last week: 8) – Getting some salary cap relief for Slava Voynov is a big deal for the Kings, but they still have salary cap concerns to address. We’re looking at you, Mike Richards.
10. Calgary Flames (13-7-2, rank last week: 10) –Mark Giordano and the Flames just keep on accumulating points, and sticking around in the playoff picture out West.
11. Chicago Blackhawks (12-8-1, rank last week: 11) – Teams like the Blackhawks and Kings are just drafting right now out West, but everybody knows they’ll make their move when it matters.
12. Detroit Red Wings (10-5-5, rank last week: 12) – Justin Abdelkader is having a standout season for a Red Wings team that’s showing it is possible to rebuild on the fly.
Checking from Behind
19. Minnesota Wild (11-8-0, rank last week: 15) – The Wild are treading water with a 5-5-0 record in their last 10 games, and that will get you nowhere in the power rankings.
20. Winnipeg Jets (10-9-3, rank last week: 17) – Someday we are going to get the full story of what’s going on with Evander Kane in Winnipeg, and it will be awesome.
21. New Jersey Devils (9-9-3, rank last week: 21) – The Devils shut out the Oilers. So they have that going for them. Which is nice.
22. Florida Panthers (7-5-6, rank last week: 23) – Another week of “sneaky good” hockey from the Florida Panthers.
23. Philadelphia Flyers (8-9-2, rank last week: 20) – The Flyers are allowing opponents to score on the PP at an almost 30 percent success rate. It’s no surprise that Ron Hextall is flying off into expletive-filled rages in the dressing room.
24. Dallas Stars (8-9-4, rank last week: 26) – The Stars have won two in a row, but they still have some serious defensive issues to reconcile before they become a threat.
25. Arizona Coyotes (9-11-2, rank last week: 25) –Scoring 2.4 goals per game and allowing 3.0 goals per game is not good for a hockey team, right?
26. Colorado Avalanche (7-9-5, rank last week: 26) – Patrick Roy must be ready to throttle somebody behind the scenes after watching this mess play out over the first two months of the season.
27. Buffalo Sabres (6-13-2, rank last week: 30) – The Sabres have won three in a row. I repeat: the Sabres have won three in a row. They might play themselves right out of Connor McDavid if they’re not too careful.
28. Carolina Hurricanes (6-11-3, rank last week: 28) – The Canes are in the middle of a five-game road trip that’s proving to be unpleasant. No shocker there.
29. Columbus Blue Jackets (6-12-2, rank last week: 27) –This team has lost over 100 man games to injury, but still battled the Bruins to a shootout on Friday night. They have heart even if there other body parts are failing them right now.
30. Edmonton Oilers (6-13-2, rank last week: 30) – Six losses in a row and an absolute stomping to a 7-1 score at the hands of the Blackhawks just make the Oilers a sad, sad case. They need a change in a big way.