Haggerty's NHL Power Rankings: Shakeup out West
Power rankings: Shakeup out West
The NHL Power Rankings are a little skewed this week and you can blame the Pacific Division for that. Right now, the western-most division in the Western Conference is a wreck beyond the Los Angeles Kings, who have emerged as the divisional front-runner and one of the powers in the West once again.
Beyond that, the San Jose Sharks are still in second place in the Pacific, despite losing in a row, and the sub-.500 Vancouver Canucks are actually in a playoff spot right now.
Some of this may change soon as it appears that both the Anaheim Ducks and Calgary Flames are starting to wake up after a rough first two months of the season. They may eventually pass on by seemingly middling teams such as the Sharks and Canucks. So, if you’re wondering why the Canucks are all the way up to No. 17 in the rankings despite a losing record, you know have the answer to your burning question.
Without further ado, here are this week’s power rankings:
1. Dallas Stars (21-5-2, rank last week: 2) - They’ve won seven of their past ten and taken points in nine of those games while featuring the deadly trio of Tyler Seguin, Jamie Benn and John Klingberg. Stars will also be the first NHL team to crack the 100 goals for mark this season, and deserve the No. 1 ranking right now.
2. Washington Capitals (19-5-2, LW:3) – Not a lot of weaknesses for a team that’s gone 11-3-1 at home, and a sterling 8-2-1 on the road. The Capitals can beat you in a number of different ways, and don’t really have a big weakness when Alex Ovechkin is fully engaged like he’s been this year.
3. Montreal Canadiens (19-6-3, LW:1) – The Habs have shuffled off to a 1-2 start in the month of December, and are looking to avoid their first 3-game losing streak of season against the Bruins. The injuries to Carey Price and Brendan Gallagher are starting to take their toll.
4. Los Angeles Kings (18-8-1, LW:6) – The Kings have won five games in a row, and Milan Lucic is turning into a monster for LA with 10 goals and counting. They are starting to look like the team I predicted they would be at the start of the season.
5. New York Rangers (18-7-3, LW:4) – The Rangers have only won four of their last 10 games, and are hitting a bit of a wall in early December.
6. New York Islanders (16-8-5, LW:8) – The Isles have an eight game point streak where they’ve gone 6-0-2, and also have seemingly found a real answer between the pipes in Thomas Greiss.
7. St. Louis Blues (16-8-4, LW:5) – The Blues are 1-2-1 in the month of December with losses to the Panthers and Maple Leafs, but may be turning it around after a convincing win over the Coyotes in their last time out.
8. Ottawa Senators (15-8-5, LW:11) – Erik Karlsson going through one of those stretches that will once again lure voters into giving him another Norris Trophy even though he’s allergic to the penalty kill.
9. Chicago Blackhawks (15-9-4, LW:13) – A 23-game point streak for Patrick Kane, who also hit 600 points in his NHL career in Chicago’s latest win. The Blackhawks continue to keep rolling through another season.
10. Detroit Red Wings (15-8-5, LW:10) – The Red Wings have not lost in regulation since their 3-1 defeat at the hands of the Bruins on Nov. 14. That’s an impressive stretch of hockey.
11. Minnesota Wild (14-7-5, LW:12) – Four wins in their last 10 games, and Devan Dubnyk is nursing some groin issues. These are trouble signs for the Wild.
12. New Jersey Devils (14-10-4, LW:18) – Losses to Philly, Colorado and Toronto aren’t going to get the Devils where they want to go, but they’re still in a playoff spot.
13. Boston Bruins (14-9-3, LW:14) – Losses in three of their last four games for the Bruins, and big divisional games against Montreal and Florida coming up. The B’s need to find a way to smooth out the streakiness in their overall game.
14. Nashville Predators (14-9-5, LW:7) – The Predators have some nasty D-men. Not nasty as in mean and dirty around the net, but nasty as in extremely skilled and talented in generating offense and moving pucks.
15. Pittsburgh Penguins (14-10-2, LW:15) – The four game road trip was not too kind to a Penguins team that once again looks like they’ve got some major issues.
16. San Jose Sharks (14-13-0, LW:9) – The Sharks have lost four games in a row, but are still firmly entrenched in a playoff spot. You’ve got to love the Pacific Division.
17. Vancouver Canucks (10-11-8, LW:20) – The Canucks have a sub-.500 record, and sit in a playoff spot right now. Once again, you’ve got to love the Pacific Division.
18. Anaheim Ducks (11-12-5, LW:23) – The Ducks have won two in a row, and only need to get on a little bit of a roll to pass on by the Sharks and Canucks. Amazing given how bad the Ducks were to start.
19. Florida Panthers (13-11-4, LW:17) – Roberto Luongo keeping the Panthers in the conversation again this season. Some things never change.
20. Arizona Coyotes (13-14-1, LW:16) – The Coyotes have lost five games in a row, and are fading into the Western Conference sunset.
21. Winnipeg Jets (13-13-2, LW:22) – Connor Hellebuyck is making a very good impression between the pipes with the Jets with Ondrej Pavelec down and out.
22. Tampa Bay Lightning (13-12-3, LW:19) – The only team that’s scored fewer goals in the Atlantic Vision this season is the Maple Leafs with 64 goals for. That is astounding given the offensive talent in Tampa Bay.
23. Philadelphia Flyers (11-11-6, LW:21) – The Flyers have won four of their last six games, and might be starting to get things under Dave Hakstol. Of course, they’ve also lost each of their last two games.
24. Calgary Flames (11-14-2, LW:27) – Are the Flames starting to make their move in the Western Conference? Three wins in a row, and they’re starting to get their confidence back at the Saddledome at least.
25. Edmonton Oilers (11-15-2, LW:26) – The Oilers have won three in a row as well, and are getting actual NHL-caliber goaltending from Anders Nilsson that’s helping them out tremendously in the last few weeks.
26. Colorado Avalanche (12-15-1, LW:26) – Quality wins against playoff-level teams in the Devils and Rangers before dropping a shutout loss to the Wild. It’s good to see Nathan MacKinnon playing up to his level again.
27. Toronto Maple Leafs (10-13-5, LW:25) – The media in Toronto are starting to cook up the Steve Stamkos-to-the-Leafs chatter as Toronto continues to flounder at the bottom of the division.
28. Buffalo Sabres (11-14-3, LW:28) – The Sabres appeared to be making some progress, but then got stomped by Vancouver and Edmonton, and outscored 9-4, in the first two stops along the Western Canada road trip.
29. Carolina Hurricanes (10-14-4, LW:28) – The only team with a worse goal differential than the minus-23 for Carolina is defense-challenged Calgary. The defense and goaltending are severely lacking for the Canes.
30. Columbus Blue Jackets (11-16-2, LW:30) – It looked like Sergei Bobrovsky got hurt in the loss for the Blue Jackets last night, and that would be disastrous for a team that’s at least showed signs of life under John Tortorella.