Not-Your-Typical NHL Power Rankings: Sabres hot on Lightning's tail
Sabres' hot on Bolts' tail
Yes, that’s right. Those Buffalo Sabres have eight out of 10 and sit second in the Atlantic Division behind the Tampa Bay Lightning.
1. Tampa Bay Lightning (18-7-1) – Nikita Kucherov is back in Hart Trophy form and the Lightning are doing perfectly fine without Andrei Vasilevskiy...thank you very much.
2. Buffalo Sabres (17-7-3) – Yes, that’s right. The Sabres have gone 8-1-1 in their past 10, sit second in the Atlantic Division and Rasmus Dahlin just won the NHL’s Rookie of the Month for November. Everything is coming up Millhouse for the Sabres right now.
3. Colorado Avalanche (15-6-5) – Mikko Rantanen, Nathan MacKinnon and Gabriel Landeskog continue to follow through for those that deem them the NHL’s best forward line and the Avs haven’t lost in regulation in weeks. That’s pretty good.
4. Nashville Predators (17-8-1) – The Preds have pushed through injuries to Pekka Rinne and PK Subban at points early in the season and they just keep on winning with depth, defense and good, solid effort every night.
5. Washington Capitals (15-7-3) – The Capitals have won seven games in a row and Tom Wilson is back doing Tom Wilson things. It looks like Washington has awoken from its early season Cup hangover.
1. Los Angeles Kings (9-16-1) – They’ve fired the coach, traded Tanner Pearson and they’ve benched Ilya Kovalchuk to get the fire going within him. Is there anything else they mistakenly think is going to spark a team that’s old and slow?
2. St. Louis Blues (9-12-3) – It feels like the Blues really don’t know what do with this group. The whispers that Vladimir Tarasenko might be available in the right kind of deal are borderline crazy, but that’s what happens when you lose lots of games.
3. Philadelphia Flyers (10-12-2) – Ron Hextall was shocked that he was fired as Flyers GM by an organization that’s totally stuck in the middle. I’m shocked Hextall could never supply the Flyers with a quality goalie.
4. New Jersey Devils (9-11-4) – The Devils are having a much tougher time with a Cinderella season this year and it’s beginning to look like the playoffs aren’t going to be in the cards for them barring a big-time surge.
5. Chicago Blackhawks (9-12-5) – When Jonathan Toews is one of the few core players for the Blackhawks without a plus/minus rating, that’s when you know the Hawks are having some real problems. They just don’t have the depth they used to.
VIDEO GAME NUMBERS
1. Patrik Laine – The Winnipeg Jets sniper has the stat line of the season with a whopping five goals on five shots on net in an 8-4 win over the Blues last weekend, and finishes with seven goals over the last seven days.
2. Nathan MacKinnon – The Colorado Avalanche center dominated in a big win for the red-hot Avs over the Nashville Predators when he scored two goals and had seven shots on net in a 3-2 victory. It seems like MacKinnon is on this list every week.
3. Max Pacioretty – It was a slow start for the former Montreal captain in Vegas, but he caught fire with a couple of two-goal games this week including two strikes in a big 4-3 win over the Vancouver Canucks on Thursday night.
4. Nicklas Backstrom – The Washington playmaker is known for his passing, but finished with a hat trick and four points in a 6-3 Friday night win over the Devils where he was a plus-4 with five shots on net. For one night anyway, Ovie had to take a back seat.
5. Mitch Marner – The skilled Leafs forward carved up the Bruins with three assists in the Monday night 4-2 divisional win and went out and added another three helpers in a Wednesday night win over the Sharks.