Power Rankings: Habs stay on historic roll, Bruins move up
Joe Haggerty's NHL Power Rankings
It’s that time of year, and the first NHL coach has been fired with John Tortorella replacing Todd Richards in Columbus. Some thought it might have been Claude Julien in Boston, but he’s steered the ship away from the rocks while the Blue Jackets crashed directly into it with a dreadful first month.
Richards was the first coach gone, but he won’t be the last. The Ducks are a mess in Anaheim, and it’s fair to wonder how long that franchise can hang in there with Bruce Boudreau coaching a talented group that’s managed just nine goals in nine games.
There’s also the Calgary Flames underperforming for Bob Hartley and the Colorado Avalanche once again looking like a sloppy, uninspired, disorganized mess under Patrick Roy. At a certain point the questions will start coming as to why the Avs continually underperform and at least some of it has to be the day-to-day leadership guiding that team, doesn’t it?
Most of the other teams in the bottom third of the NHL have young coaches with plenty of leash to win, lose, learn and develop their teams, but there will be more teams in need of a change as the Blue Jackets did before it’s all said and done.
Without further ado, here are this week’s power rankings:
1. Montreal Canadiens (9-1-0, last week: 1) - Yes, the Canadiens finally lost a game. No, that doesn’t change things at the top at all after Montreal’s record-breaking start to the season.
2. Nashville Predators (7-1-1, LW: 4) – I feel like we’ve seen this movie before from the Predators in the regular season. The only team with fewer goals allowed in the West is the Blackhawks.
3. Dallas Stars (7-2-0, LW: 5) – The Stars are top 4 in offense, power play and penalty kill, but are still allowing almost three goals per game. That doesn’t feel sustainable, but give them credit for a good start.
4. New York Rangers (6-2-2, LW: 12) – The Rangers are setting the pace in the Metro Division after many thought they would take a half-step back this season.
5. New York Islanders (6-2-1, LW: 10) – The Isles look good, but the loss to the Bruins was a bit of a head-scratcher. Their defense is still very beatable beyond Johnny Boychuk and Nick Leddy.
6. St. Louis Blues (6-2-1, LW: 2) – Nothing says power team in the NHL like signing Martin Havlat and Dainius Zubrus to veteran tryout agreements. Right...right?
7. Minnesota Wild (6-2-1, LW: 11) – Big test week for the Wild with a back-to-back situation this weekend against the Blackhawks and the Blues. That is bruising Central Division action at its best.
8. Washington Capitals (6-2-0, LW: 7) – The Capitals had their five game winning streak snapped by the Penguins, but Evgeny Kuznetsov continues to be a playmaking force for them.
9. Los Angeles Kings (6-3-0, LW: 29) – The Kings have finally turned things around and won six in a row during a streak that finally makes some of my preseason predictions about them look good.
10. Chicago Blackhawks (6-3-0, LW: 16) – The Blackhawks have won four games in a row, and are just grinding through without Duncan Keith. They are an impressive team when they need to circle the wagons.
11. Tampa Bay Lightning (5-3-2, LW: 6) – The Bolts are 1-1-2 in their last four games, and getting banged around on a long road trip that’s now coming to an end.
12. Florida Panthers (5-3-1, LW: 14) – The Panthers are sixth in goals scored, and fourth in goals against in the NHL. That’s a pretty well-rounded look so far from a young Florida team sprinkled with legends like Jaromir Jagr.
13. Winnipeg Jets (5-3-1, LW: 8) – Blake Wheeler has really turned into something in Winnipeg, who will be right in the thick of things all season in the NHL’s best conference.
14. Vancouver Canucks (4-2-3, LW: 9) – The Canucks snapped a four-game winless streak with an impressive 5-1 pounding of the Canadiens to snap their undefeated streak.
15. Arizona Coyotes (5-4-1, LW: 15) – They survived a long East Coast road trip with their young team, but couldn’t avoid the 6-0 pounding at the hands of the Bruins at the very end of it.
16. Philadelphia Flyers (4-2-2, LW: 17) – The overtime win against the Bruins was big, but they paid a price losing both Sean Couturier and Michael Neuvirth during the game. The goals are starting to come for the Flyers.
17. Pittsburgh Penguins (5-4-0, LW: 20) – The Penguins have straightened themselves out, but something seems very, very wrong with Sidney Crosby in the early going.
18. San Jose Sharks (5-4-0, LW: 3) – It looks like Martin Jones has come back down to Earth a little bit.
19. Boston Bruins (4-3-1, LW: 21) – The Bruins have taken nine out of their last 10 points and continue to pull up off the mat after a terrible beginning. The win last weekend over the Isles was their best this season.
20. Ottawa Senators (4-3-2, LW: 13) – The only team that’s allowed more goals in the Eastern Conference this season than the Sens is the Blue Jackets. That’s a tough way to try and win.
21. Detroit Red Wings (4-4-1, LW: 18) – The Wings are 1-4-1 after an undefeated 3-0 start to the season, and they could use Pavel Datsyuk back as soon as possible.
22. New Jersey Devils (4-4-1, LW: 25) – The Devils move up four spots despite being the first charitable Eastern Conference team that’s allowed the Blue Jackets to end their futility.
23. Buffalo Sabres (3-6-0, LW: 27) – Injuries to Robin Lehner and Evander Kane are certainly adding to the degree of difficulty for the Sabres.
24. Carolina Hurricanes (3-6-0, LW: 28) – The Canes, Leafs and Blue Jackets are the only teams left that don’t have any wins at home.
25. Edmonton Oilers (3-7-0, LW: 24) – The Oilers have lost three in a row, and continue to have the same, old defensive shortcomings.
26. Colorado Avalanche (2-5-1, LW: 19) – The Avs were the first team to allow the Blue Jackets into the win column, and are once again a complete waste of talent. When do people start to wonder if Patrick Roy can actually hack it as a coach at the NHL level?
27. Calgary Flames (2-7-1, LW: 26) – What a mess this team is. I think most expected a drop-off from last season, but this was supposed to be the best defensemen corps in the NHL.
28. Toronto Maple Leafs (1-5-2, LW: 24) – One win for the team that most think is the lead dog in the Auston Matthews sweepstakes. The hapless Leafs are right on time.
29. Columbus Blue Jackets (2-8-0, LW: 30) – The Blue Jackets have a long, long way to go, but at least they’ve put together a couple of wins. The change to John Tortorella seems to be stabilizing things.
30. Anaheim Ducks (1-6-2, LW: 23) – One win, Ryan Getzlaf’s appendix and nine goals scored in nine games. The question is: what are the things that will end up costing Bruce Boudreau his job in Anaheim?