Haggerty's Power Rankings: Injuries taking their toll
Haggerty's Power Rankings: Injuries taking their toll
By Joe Haggerty
The injuries are starting to take their toll on some of the top teams, and will soon create their own impact within the power rankings. Obviously the Carey Price injury is the most prominent as it affects the top ranked team in the league, and continues to put a lot of strain on young Mike Condon as the inexperienced backup now pressed into full frontline duty.
But it doesn’t stop there for the Habs with Brendan Gallagher also out, and a potentially huge void if both Gallagher and Price can’t answer the bell in Foxboro for the Winter Classic. But it goes beyond that with Derek Stepan out for close to a month with ribs busted on a Matt Beleskey hit, and Ondrej Pavelec down and out for the Winnipeg Jets leaving things to Michael Hutchinson and Connor Hellebuyck.
That doesn’t even mention whatever is bugging Tyler Johnson with the Tampa Bay Lightning in a season that’s been less-than-stellar for him all around. One thing is for sure about NHL teams, though: there will be injuries, and that means other players will have to step up. So far that’s happening for teams like the Canadiens, but time will tell how long that can last.
Without further ado here are this week’s power rankings:
1. Montreal Canadiens (19-4-3, rank last week: 3) -The Canadiens are still rolling at the start of their six weeks without Carey Price, but we’ll see what happens as his absence looms over the team. It’s a bummer that Price won’t be taking part in the build-up to the Winter Classic.
2. Dallas Stars (19-5-1, rank last week: 2) – The Stars can score with anybody, but there’s still times when the defense looks a little lax. The shootout loss to the Flames was a big fold by Dallas in the third period and OT, but they’ve got the star-power.
3. Washington Capitals (17-5-1, rank last week: 4) – Five wins in a row for a hockey club that’s really discovered their mojo under Barry Trotz.
4. New York Rangers (17-6-2, rank last week: 1) – The level of crying and whining after losing to the Bruins on Black Friday was off the charts, and lost them a couple of style points in the power rankings. Style points are huge in the power rankings.
5. St. Louis Blues (15-7-3, rank last week: 7) – Jake Allen is giving the Blues steady work between the pipes, and the St. Louis attack continues to pour it on behind Vladimir Tarasenko.
6. Los Angeles Kings (15-8-1, rank last week: 9) – Marian Gaborik is finally waking up for the Kings. Bad news for everybody else.
7. Nashville Predators (13-7-4, rank last week: 10) – It’s always a difficult thing to sustain success when you’re allowing more goals than you’re scoring on a per game basis.
8. New York Islanders (13-8-4, rank last week: 16) – Thomas Greiss is going to take over as the starter for the Isles if he keeps playing the way he has in the first two months, and I think it makes the Isles a more dangerous team.
9. San Jose Sharks (14-10-0, rank last week: 6) – The Sharks couldn’t keep the winning streak going at home, and now have lost two of three games at home since their perfect six game road trip.
10. Detroit Red Wings (13-8-4, rank last week: 12) – While everybody was talking Jack Eichel and Connor McDavid for Calder before the season started, watch out for Dylan Larkin. He is filthy with the skills, and leads the Wings with 10 goals in 25 games.
11. Ottawa Senators (12-7-5, rank last week: 7) – The Sens have allowed eight goals in back-to-back losses to the Coyotes and Flyers. Anybody that gives up four goals to the Flyers needs to reevaluate things a little bit.
12. Minnesota Wild (12-7-4, rank last week: 8) – The Wild have Zach Parise back, but it hasn’t stopped them from taking a bit of a tumble.
13. Chicago Blackhawks (13-9-3, rank last week: 13) – Patrick Kane is definitely making a point with his play on the ice. Fifteen goals and 38 points in 25 games are numbers from a different era.
14. Boston Bruins (13-8-1, rank last week: 14) – The Bruins have won five games in a row, and are still stuck in the middle of the power rankings pack. That will change quickly if they have a good showing in Western Canada this week.
15. Pittsburgh Penguins (14-8-2, rank last week: 11) – The Penguins aren’t exactly impressive, and now there are rumors of a rift between Sid and Mario Lemieux. Something just feels wrong in Pittsburgh, doesn’t it?
16. Arizona Coyotes (13-10-1, rank last week: 19) – They’ve won three of their last four games, and continue to defy conventional wisdom. The funny thing is that pundits thought they would struggle offensively this season. That’s far from the case.
17. Florida Panthers (11-9-4, rank last week: 23) – Boy, it’s got to sting the Lightning that they’re looking up at the Panthers in the standings AND in the power rankings. Three wins in a row for Florida.
18. New Jersey Devils (12-10-2, rank last week: 15) – Four wins in their last 10 games signals that the Devils are beginning to have reality crash in on them.
19. Tampa Bay Lightning (11-11-3, rank last week: 17) – As Bill Parcells used to say, “you are what your records says you are.” The Bolts are utterly mediocre and a big waste of the talent in the dressing room thus far.
20. Vancouver Canucks (9-9-8, rank last week: 20) – The Canucks are treading water, but are starting to sink with three wins in their last 11 games. The struggle to find somebody to play with the Sedins is real.
21. Philadelphia Flyers (10-10-5, rank last week: 22) – They beat the Preds, the Rangers and the Senators in succession, and might be starting to have signs of life on Broad Street.
22. Winnipeg Jets (11-12-2, rank last week: 18) – Who would blame the Winnipeg Jets if they’re distracted while trying to work a deal to get Travis Hamonic there?
23. Anaheim Ducks (9-11-5, rank last week: 21) – They beat Vancouver on Monday, but that crushing loss to the Blackhawks last weekend was indicative of some real problems with this Ducks group.
24. Buffalo Sabres (10-12-3, rank last week: 26) – Rasmus Ristolainen is quickly becoming one of the best young D-men in the league along with the highly heralded Jack Eichel.
25. Toronto Maple Leafs (8-11-5, rank last week: 25) – The Garret Sparks story is exactly the kind of uplifting, feel-good moment that the Leafs needed right now.
26. Colorado Avalanche (10-14-1, rank last week: 27) – Nathan MacKinnon is coming on this season in an encouraging sign after he stepped back a little bit last season. Overall, though, the Avalanche are too talented for this kind of mediocrity.
27. Calgary Flames (9-14-2, rank last week: 28) – Maybe the come-from-behind win over the Stars will be exactly what the Flames need to catapult upward in the standings. Maybe.
28. Carolina Hurricanes (8-12-4, rank last week: 24) – Victor Rask has more points than Eric Staal right now. What a mystifying situation in Carolina where it would make a lot of sense for Staal to decide to go to a contender right now.
29. Edmonton Oilers (8-15-2, rank last week: 29) – We’ll give the Oilers the benefit of the doubt because they play in the tough Pacific Division, but it certainly feels like the same old story again in Alberta.
30. Columbus Blue Jackets (10-16-0, rank last week: 30) – Questions are swirling that the Blue Jackets weren’t in shape to start this season. Is this a surprise to anybody that hasn’t been knocked silly by the cannon firing that goes on there?