NHL Power Rankings: Big shakeup among the Top 10
A lot of big movers this week in the Power Rankings as the Montreal Canadiens, Florida Panthers and the Philadelphia Flyers have all pushed in to the Top 10 with an elevated level of play. The Flyers are the biggest movers riding a four-game winning streak that’s been backboned by their young crew led by Travis Konecny and the goaltending of youngster Carter Hart.
Watch out for the Flyers as they could be a big surprise team coming out of the Metro Division after missing out on the playoffs last spring. But both the Habs and the Panthers are looking like playoff-caliber teams in the Atlantic Division too. That should make everybody realize that playoff spots are going to be very difficult to come by in the Eastern Conference this season with so many quality teams.
It's looking that way in the Pacific Division where six points separate six teams from top to bottom. What a dog fight it’s going to be for postseason berths.
Now on to the power rankings:
31. Minnesota Wild
(6-11-1, rank last week: 28)
Devan Dubnyk is struggling and the Minnesota Wild are way down at the bottom of the standings. You’ve got to think that Bruce Boudreau is going to be on the hot seat with this group pretty soon.
30. Ottawa Senators
(6-10-1, rank last week: 30)
The Sens have a player (J.G. Pageau) who's leading the NHL in plus/minus, so they have that going for them. Which is nice.
29. Los Angeles Kings
(6-11-1, rank last week: 29)
The Kings have basically told Ilya Kovalchuk he’s going to be a scratch from now on in L.A. Have I mentioned lately what a debacle that free-agent signing has turned into for the Kings?
28. New Jersey Devils
(5-7-4, rank last week: 25)
Two goals in 16 games and a minus-4 to start the season for Taylor Hall. It’s all pretty underwhelming isn’t it?
27. Detroit Red Wings
(7-12-1, rank last week: 31)
The Red Wings have won three games in a row and scored a big win in taking down a Bruins team that clearly overlooked them. Detroit may sneak up on a few teams that way.
26. Columbus Blue Jackets
(6-8-4, rank last week: 23)
Gustav Nyquist and Pierre-Luc Dubois are the two leading scorers for Columbus and they are also a combined minus-16. That kind of lets you know how things are going.
25. Chicago Blackhawks
(6-7-4, rank last week: 27)
Chicago is starting to climb up the offensive statistics a little bit and Robin Lehner is seizing control of the goaltending situation with the Blackhawks. Could they actually begin threatening to be a playoff team again?
24. San Jose Sharks
(8-10-1, rank last week: 26)
The Sharks have won four games in a row and seem to finally be shaking out the cobwebs. Is it going to be enough to thrust them completely back into the playoff race? Certainly the talent is there for them to go on an epic roll.
23. Dallas Stars
(8-8-2, rank last week: 20)
Once again the Stars are floating along, and Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin aren’t being difference-makers. It looks like my prediction of the Stars as Western Conference champs isn’t going to come true.
22. New York Rangers
(8-6-2, rank last week: 24)
The Rangers are 6-2-2 in their last 10 games and keeping pace with the pack in the Metro Division. That’s an encouraging step for a very fragile team trying to climb out of rebuilding mode.
21. Tampa Bay Lightning
(8-5-2, rank last week: 19)
The Lightning have been thoroughly underwhelming to this point in the season. Are they just going to pull a complete reversal of last season’s great regular season followed by a playoff flop?
20. Anaheim Ducks
(9-8-2, rank last week: 15)
The Ducks are finally seeking their level, but give them credit for still keeping their head above water with a pretty average roster.
19. Winnipeg Jets
(10-8-1, rank last week: 20)
The Jets are 26th in the NHL in offense, scoring just 2.58 goals per game. It feels like they’ve got way more offensive talent than that, doesn’t it?
18. Buffalo Sabres
(9-6-2, rank last week: 8)
The offense has dried up a bit for the Sabres as they’ve scored eight goals during their five-game losing streak that’s dropped them away from the top of the Atlantic Division standings.
17. Vegas Golden Knights
(9-7-3, rank last week: 18)
A lot of minus players on that Vegas roster right now. That’s a tough way to sustain success over the course of a long season if the Golden Knights harbor hopes of being a Cup winner.
16. Nashville Predators
(9-6-3, rank last week: 7)
Pekka Rinne looking pretty human these days for the Predators. Is it because his quality of play is dropping or because the Predators are paying less attention to defense? Either way, they’ve lost three in a row.
15. Carolina Hurricanes
(10-7-1, rank last week: 9)
The Hurricanes are winning games, but they are getting very average goaltending from Petr Mrazek and James Reimer right now. How long is that going to be able to last?
14. Toronto Maple Leafs
(9-6-4, rank last week: 14)
The Leafs have lost a couple of games in a row and hold just four regulation wins in their last 10 games, and still don’t have things completely in gear while losing Mitch Marner for a while.
13. Pittsburgh Penguins
(10-6-2, rank last week: 18)
The Penguins have all their players back and are playing a pretty good brand of hockey based on what they brought to Boston last week, but they’re still just a middling 4-4-2 over their last 10 games. They need to be better.
12. Calgary Flames
(10-7-3, rank last week: 12)
The Flames have won four of their last six games and the only losses were to legit top powers like the Washington Capitals and the St. Louis Blues. So the Flames are in a pretty decent spot right now hockey-wise.
11. Vancouver Canucks
(10-6-3, rank last week: 6)
A big 5-3 win over the Nashville Predators snapped a four-game losing streak and has stopped the bleeding for the Canucks, who are getting great production from their top guys now.
10. Florida Panthers
(9-4-5, rank last week: 16)
Sergei Bobrovsky still hasn’t truly gotten into gear for the Panthers, but Florida is beginning to win games and climb up both the Atlantic Division standings and the power rankings.
9. Montreal Canadiens
(10-5-3, rank last week: 17)
Who had Tomas Tatar as the leading scorer on the Montreal Canadiens this season? He’s got 15 points and he’s part of a very effective shutdown line for the Habs. I’d say they are getting some great value there.
8. Arizona Coyotes
(11-6-2, rank last week: 10)
Clayton Keller is starting to heat up a little bit for the Coyotes with three goals in his last five games, and the Coyotes are doing a good job of staying in the playoff mix.
7. Philadelphia Flyers
(10-5-2, rank last week: 22)
The big mover and shaker of the week is the Flyers, who have won four games in a row including a gutsy W over the Bruins where they managed to hold on despite playing on the second night of a back-to-back with travel.
6. Colorado Avalanche
(11-5-2, rank last week: 13)
Everybody is talking about David Pastrnak and Leon Draisaitl, but Nathan MacKinnon is off to an incredible start for the Avalanche this season.
5. Edmonton Oilers
(12-6-2, rank last week: 5)
The Oilers are one of only four Western Conference teams that has scored more than 60 goals this season, but Edmonton's plus-7 goal differential means the Oilers still have some work to defensively.
4. Boston Bruins
(11-3-4, rank last week: 2)
The Bruins have dropped a couple of spots as they suffer their first four-game losing streak in a couple of seasons, and begin to legitimize questions about a Stanley Cup Final hangover.
3. New York Islanders
(12-3-1, rank last week: 3)
The Isles are impressively better than the sum of their parts, and the 4-1-0 record away from home is a great indication of their overall work ethic.
2. St. Louis Blues
(12-3-4, rank last week: 4)
The reigning Stanley Cup champs have won eight of their last 10 games and shot up to the top of the Central Division. It’s amazing that they are doing it without Vladimir Tarasenko.
1. Washington Capitals
(13-2-4, rank last week: 1)
The Capitals are unbeaten in regulation over their last 10 games and look like they are going to be a handful this season. So it’s back to normal after last season’s year-long Cup celebration party.