NHL Power Rankings: Bruins tumble from top after losing streak
Sad as it is to say, it’s going to be a blue, blue, blue Christmas for some NHL teams in a couple of weeks.
The Detroit Red Wings have dropped 12 games in a row headed into Wednesday and are already a staggering 29 points behind the Atlantic Division-leading Bruins in a season that’s basically two months old.
It’s almost just as dire for the New Jersey Devils, who have lost six games in a row and sit 26 points behind the Metro Division-leading Washington Capitals as they fade quietly into that good night after their recent coaching change. It’s a bit of a different story in the Western Conference where the last-place Blackhawks are just seven points out of a playoff spot, and the L.A. Kings sit a little more distant 11 points out of a playoff position.
Certainly the Kings don’t look like playoff-material and are essentially lumped in with the Devils and Red Wings as well, even if the situation isn’t as dire. But it’s going to be a tough year in Detroit, New Jersey and Los Angeles for teams that are already starting to be designated as sellers in this season of giving with Christmas break still just about two weeks down the line.
Now on to the power rankings:
31. Detroit Red Wings
(7-22-3, rank last week: 31)
The Red Wings have lost 12 games in a row. Do you realize how bad, and how hopeless, you have to be as a hockey team to lose a dozen games in a row? The Red Wings stink.
30. New Jersey Devils
(9-16-5, rank last week: 30)
The Devils have lost six games in a row and P.K. Subban is beginning to get called out for putting more priority in his own brand than what’s going on with the team. Sounds about right. Subban looks like a shell of himself on the ice.
29. Los Angeles Kings
(12-18-2, rank last week: 29)
The 80 goals scored is the lowest total for any Western Conference team and a big reason why the Kings are at the bottom of the Pacific Division. Boy, Ilya Kovalchuk must have been pretty bad for the Kings to not believe he could help.
28. Ottawa Senators
(13-17-2, rank last week: 28)
Anthony Duclair is helping the Sens to some surprisingly competitive performances with five goals in seven games this month. Ottawa’s latest victim was the Atlantic Division-leading Bruins the other night.
27. Columbus Blue Jackets
(12-14-4, rank last week: 26)
Cam Atkinson is beginning to heat up with three goals and four points in four games during the month of December, but the Blue Jackets are just 4-6-0 in the last 10 games.
26. Chicago Blackhawks
(12-13-6, rank last week: 27)
Two goals and four points in five games in the month of December for Jonathan Toews, who is showing signs of waking up offensively after a tough first couple of months.
25. Anaheim Ducks
(13-14-4, rank last week: 25)
The Ducks are 3-5-2 in the last 10 games and continue to sink lower toward the bottom of the Pacific Division even as Ryan Getzlaf is trying to fight to keep them above water.
24. San Jose Sharks
(15-16-2, rank last week: 18)
Erik Karlsson is playing 25 minutes a game during the month of December and finally playing up to his potential after a slow first few months of the regular season. Unfortunately the Sharks have also lost five in a row at the same time.
23. Minnesota Wild
(14-12-5, rank last week: 22)
The 6-1-3 record in the last 10 games has pushed the Wild back into the playoff mix in the Central Division with Mats Zuccarello leading the way for the Wild.
22. Vancouver Canucks
(15-12-4, rank last week: 28)
Josh Leivo has four goals scored in four games on just 10 shots on net during the month of December. That is efficiency right there, my friends.
21. Toronto Maple Leafs
(15-13-4, rank last week: 19)
I thought there was supposed to be some big offensive awakening for Tyson Barrie with the coaching change. He’s got no points and is a minus player in the month of December. Okay then.
20. New York Rangers
(15-12-3, rank last week: 20)
The new guys are carrying the Blueshirts this month with Jacob Trouba and Artemi Panarin leading the offense for a Rangers team that keeps hanging around in the Metro Division.
19. Montreal Canadiens
(15-11-6, rank last week: 21)
Credit to Claude Julien and the Canadiens for steering out of the eight-game losing streak that looked like it was going to crash everybody on the rocks. There’s still a talent and depth issue with this Habs team, though, that’s going to force them to really push hard for the playoffs.
18. Buffalo Sabres
(15-13-1, rank last week: 16)
Four goals and nine points in five games during the month of December for a red-hot Jack Eichel, who seems like he’s on a mission to get the Sabres in the playoffs this year.
17. Nashville Predators
(14-10-5, rank last week: 24)
The Predators have taken five out of six points in their three December games during a very slow period for the Predators. They’d better be using this breather in the schedule wisely.
16. Vegas Golden Knights
(16-12-5, rank last week: 14)
Alex Tuch is back and he’s healthy while tearing it up for the Golden Knights with three goals and six points in four games during the month of December.
15. Tampa Bay Lightning
(15-11-3, rank last week: 7)
Credit to Steve Stamkos, who continues to push the Lightning through these early parts of the season while they are still clearly getting their game together, and playing catchup with games in hand.
14. Florida Panthers
(15-10-5, rank last week: 21)
Sergei Bobrovsky is finally living up to his contract with a 1.35 goals against average and a .965 save percentage in the month of December, and the Panthers are rising up the standings as a result.
13. Dallas Stars
(18-11-3, rank last week: 14)
I think I speak for everyone when I say “What the heck is it exactly that Jim Montgomery did to get fired out of nowhere?”
12. Calgary Flames
(17-12-4, rank last week: 13)
With Bill Peters out of the equation, the Flames have ripped off six wins in a row and are beginning to rocket up the Pacific Division standings. It’s as if a dark cloud has been removed from the equation.
11. Pittsburgh Penguins
(17-10-4, rank last week: 11)
With both Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby missing time in the opening months of the season, Jake Guentzel has really stepped up with 17 goals and 31 points in 32 games for the Pens.
10. Arizona Coyotes
(18-11-4, rank last week: 6)
Here’s your weekly Phil Kessel update: He’s a minus-18 on the season. Otherwise things are going pretty well for the upstart desert dogs looking for respectability this season.
9. Carolina Hurricanes
(19-11-1, rank last week: 10)
The Hurricanes have won three games in a row and continue sit near the top of the Metro Division. The 3.26 goals per game really shows just how far they have come in terms of offensive talent.
8. Edmonton Oilers
(18-11-4, rank last week: 5)
While the Oilers are just 4-5-1 in the last 10 games, it’s been an interesting story to see Zack Kassian really rise to a prominent place where he’s living up to his potential after a long road to get there in Edmonton.
7. Philadelphia Flyers
(17-9-5, rank last week: 6)
The continued issues of Nolan Patrick’s absence related to migraines are a sad story, but the Flyers themselves have done a nice job of rising to a good spot in the Metro Division to this point.
6. Winnipeg Jets
(19-10-2, rank last week: 7)
The Jets have been on an upturn recently with increased offense and the continued brilliance overall from Connor Hellebuyck. They seem to finally be living up to their potential after a sluggish start.
5. St. Louis Blues
(18-8-6, rank last week: 3)
The Blues have dropped three in a row and allowed 13 goals over those three defeats, and appear to be hitting a funk at the exact same time as their Stanley Cup Final partner.
4. Colorado Avalanche
(20-8-3, rank last week: 9)
Colorado's plus-29 goal differential is far and away the best in the Western Conference, and it really seems like the Avs have figured out how to play winning hockey.
3. New York Islanders
(20-7-2, rank last week: 4)
The Isles continue to win games with grit, hustle and a team concept along with strong goaltending. It’s amazing how Barry Trotz gets whatever team he coaches to really adopt his style of hockey, and equally amazing how the wins come afterward.
2. Boston Bruins
(20-6-6, rank last week: 1)
The Bruins have dropped three straight regulation games for the first time all season and appear to be in a rut caused in part by their commanding lead in the Atlantic Division. In other words, they are just too awesome.
1. Washington Capitals
(23-5-5, rank last week: 2)
There are many impressive statistics with the Capitals, but the 14-2-1 record in 17 games away from their home rink tells you exactly how locked in they are right now.