Haggerty's Not-Your-Typical Power Rankings: Bolting to the top
Lightning bolt to top of the rankings
By ripping off a four-game winning streak, a team the Bruins are very familiar with (remember that second-round playoff exit) shoots to the top, while new coaches will try to rescue L.A. and Chicago from the bottom.
TOP 5 TEAMS
1. Tampa Bay Lightning (12-3-1): The Lightning have won four in a row to shoot up to the top of the Eastern Conference bracket and don’t look like they’ve got a lot of weaknesses. Andrei Vasilevskiy is off to another great start for the Bolts.
2. Nashville Predators (12-3-0): The Predators are beastly in terms of 5-on-5 play and lead all the NHL with a 2.07 goals-against average, but they are dead last in the NHL with a dreadful power play. Weird considering all the talent on that team.
3. Minnesota Wild (10-4-2): The Wild do it with defense while top five in both goals-against average and penalty kill. Mikael Granlund has really become a superstar for them on the offensive end.
4. Toronto Maple Leafs (11-5-0): The Leafs are surviving quite nicely with Auston Matthews on the shelf with an injury, and it really looks like the Leafs and Lightning will rule the Atlantic. How about Morgan Rielly exploding as an offensive D-man this season?
5. Vancouver Canucks (10-6-1): The Canucks are a great story to this point and you can’t take away their impressive record with youngsters Bo Horvat, Brock Boeser and Elias Pettersson. The question is whether it’s sustainable.
BOTTOM 5 TEAMS
1. Los Angeles Kings (5-9-1): The Kings automatically get this top spot for a second week in a row after being forced to fire their coach after a horrendous start. The Kings look old and slow and that’s certainly the fault of more than the coach.
2. Florida Panthers (4-5-3): It’s been a tough road for the Panthers trying to go with James Reimer and Michael Hutchinson and they’re proving it by allowing 3.23 goals per game. They need Roberto Luongo to get back healthy soon.
3. Detroit Red Wings (6-8-2): The Red Wings are tied for 27th in the NHL offensively and defensively and really don’t have much of anything aside from Dylan Larkin. They have to be hoping Steve Yzerman comes back to rescue them next season.
4. Chicago Blackhawks (6-7-3): The Blackhawks have lost six games in a row, canned three-time Stanley Cup-winning coach Joel Quenneville and once again look like they’re paying the price for their great run.
5. New Jersey Devils (6-7-1): The Devils are 2-7-1 in their past 10 have sunk to the bottom of the Metro Division. At this point, they’re a far cry from last season's Cinderella team.
VIDEO GAME NUMBERS
(Top five performances of the week)
1. Ryan O’Reilly finished with a fantastic NHL week where he scored five total goals and had a hat trick along with five shots on net for the Blues in a 4-1 win over the Carolina Hurricanes on Wednesday night.
2. Versatile Predators forward Colton Sissons went for the hat trick and scored on all three shots that he took in a 4-1 win over the Colorado Avalanche on Wednesday night.
3. Tampa Bay Lightning star Nikita Kucherov started heating up this week with a pair of goals and three points along with six shots on net in a win for the red-hot Bolts over the Oilers on Tuesday night.
4. Steve Stamkos had a pair of goals in a 4-1 win over the upstart Montreal Canadiens last weekend for a streaking Lightning team that’s won four in a row.
5. Mark Stone tried to help put the Uber issue behind the Senators when he broke out with two goals, five points and a whopping seven shots on net in a wild 7-3 win over the New Jersey Devils on Tuesday night.
GOALIES THAT DON'T SUCK
(Top five goalie performances of the week)
1. Pekka Rinne returned from injury last weekend, signed a two-year contract extension with the Predators and then went out and stopped 26 shots while shutting out the Bruins on Saturday night. Not too shabby.
2. Freddie Andersen stood on his head and stopped 36-of-37 shots in a 3-1 win over the Vegas Golden Knights on Tuesday night and continued an outstanding week for him between the pipes in Toronto.
3. Chad Johnson has been a savior for the struggling Blues and he stopped all 33 shots while shutting out the San Jose Sharks on Friday night, and stopped 38-of-39 shots two days earlier vs. Carolina as well.
4. Andrei Vasilevskiy and the Tampa Bay Lightning reminded the Montreal Canadiens who is boss when he stopped 34 of 35 shots in a 4-1 win over the Habs last weekend.
5. Thomas Greiss reminded the Isles why he’s been such a good performer for them over the last couple of seasons as he stopped 35 shots in a 3-0 shutout against the Devils last weekend.