NHL Power Rankings: Blackhawks rise after successful Circus Trip


NHL Power Rankings: Blackhawks rise after successful Circus Trip

The Capitals made the jump from No. 4 to No. 1, and it probably should have happened sooner. Led by Barry Trotz and captained by Alex Ovechkin, this is arguably their best chance to win a Stanley Cup in their 41-year history.

Meanwhile in the West, the Blackhawks are back into the Top 5 of our latest NHL Power Rankings after a successful Circus Trip, which featured an impressive 5-2 win that snapped the Sharks' six-game winning streak and a thrilling comeback win over the Ducks.

Check in with for updated rankings every Monday throughout the 2015-16 campaign. Here's where we're at so far: Preseason rankings | Week 1 | Week 2 | Week 3 | Week 4 | Week 5 Week 6 Week 7


Rank Team
Last Week Record/Comment
1 4

17-5-1, 35 points: What's not to like about this Capitals team? Well-coached/structured, deep and resilient, three ingredients a Stanley Cup contender must have.

2   2

19-5-0, 38 points: The Stars bounced back from a 7-4 loss to Ottawa with a home and road win against Vancouver and Minnesota on back-to-back nights. Here comes another winning streak.

3   3

18-4-3, 39 points: Carey Price will miss the next month with a knee injury, meaning rookie Mike Condon will provide a larger sample size for the Canadiens as the temporary starter.

4   2

16-6-2, 34 points: The Rangers have lost three consecutive games in regulation after losing just three games in regulation in the first 21 games.


13-8-3, 29 points: The Blackhawks picked up eight out of a possible 12 points during their annual Circus Trip as Patrick Kane sets the record for longest point streak by an American-born players with 19 games.


14-8-1, 29 points: Rallying from a 2-0 deficit to beat the Blackhawks 3-2 in overtime, the Kings channeled the same late-game magic that helped them win two Stanley Cups in three years.


15-6-3, 33 points: Paul Stastny back in the lineup provides a big boost up the middle for the Blues, who are 3-0-2 in their last five games.

8   8

14-9-0, 28 points: Brent Burns has 20 points in 23 games, and is averaging 26:24 of ice time, on pace to shatter his career high of 25:03 set during the 2010-11 campaign.

9 10 

12-8-4, 28 points: A challenging week awaits the Islanders, who are slated to face Colorado, N.Y. Rangers, St. Louis and Ottawa.

10  11

13-8-2, 28 points: Evgeni Malkin has scored five game-winning goals this season, already surpassing last year's total (4) in 48 fewer games.

11 14

12-6-5, 29 points: The Senators are 4-1-2 in their last seven games, and will be tested this week with upcoming games against Philadelphia, Chicago, N.Y. Rangers and N.Y. Islanders.

12 16

13-8-1, 27 points: The Bruins have killed off 15 of 16 penalties (93.8 percent) during their five-game winning streak, slowly improving their penalty kill percentage to 75.3.


11-7-4, 26 points: The Wild have one win in their last seven games, and Zach Parise was held pointless in both games since his return from injury.

14 12 

11-11-3, 25 points: The Lightning are in the middle of a really difficult stretch, and begin their three-game trip out West on Wednesday.

15 13 

12-7-4, 28 points: Filip Forsberg snapped a 17-game goalless drought in an overtime loss to the Flyers on Friday. Nashville needs him to get going.

16   15 

12-8-4, 28 points: Brad Richards has seen his ice time jump to 17 minutes per game after moving to left wing on the second line with Pavel Datsyuk. 

17   19

13-9-1, 27 points: Three straight wins for the Coyotes, who will look to carry that momentum into their five-game road stand. 

18 18 

10-9-4, 24 points: The Panthers have begun a stretch where they will play nine of their next 11 games on the road, where they are 4-4-2 this season.

19 17 

12-9-2, 26 points: The Devils have outshot their opponents in just six of their first 23 games this season, relying too heavily on Cory Schneider.

20   20 

9-8-7, 25 points: The Canucks are 2-4-2 in their last eight games despite having scored at least a power play goal in each of those contests.

21   21

8-11-5, 21 points: The Ducks suffered a mental lapse (again) to the Blackhawks, who erased a 2-0 deficit in the final two minutes of regulation and won 3-2 in overtime.

22 23  10-12-2, 22 points: Chad Johnson allowed only two goals and registered a save percentage of .965 in back-to-back wins over Carolina and Nashville.
23 22

11-12-2, 24 points: The Jets were 7-3-1 with a plus-6 goal differential in October. They went 4-9-1 with a minus-19 goal differential in November.

24   24

7-11-5, 19 points: After winning five consecutive games, James Reimer has dropped his last two starts to Boston, 2-0 and 4-3 (shootout).

25   25 

8-11-4, 20 points: Justin Faulk has recorded at least a point in eight of his last 10 games, scoring four goals and seven assists.

26 29

9-10-5, 23 points: The Flyers have three wins in their last four games after compiling just three wins in their previous 14 games.

27 27 

10-15-0, 20 points: The Blue Jackets are taking things one game at a time, but at some point, they need to follow up losses with winning streaks.

28 28

8-14-2, 18 points: Connor McDavid is reportedly progressing ahead of schedule, but the Oilers are still staying the course (as they should) of the recovery process.

29   30

9-13-1, 19 points: Semyon Varlamov is 2-0-0 since returning from injury, but sorry Patrick Roy, he won't be enough to hide the dismal puck-possession numbers.

30 26 

8-14-2, 18 points: The Flames' minus-31 goal differential is by far the worst in the NHL through Week 7.

*Advanced stats courtesy of

Blackhawks make sports history with fifth straight overtime game to start season

Blackhawks make sports history with fifth straight overtime game to start season

The Blackhawks made sports history on Saturday after they appeared in their fifth straight overtime game to start the season.

No NHL team has done that since the league introduced a regular-season overtime period in 1983-84, per the Elias Sports Bureau. It also has never happened in the history of MLB, NBA or NFL, showing just how crazy this early season run has been for the Blackhawks, who have rallied from all five games and have come away with wins in three of them.

"We’ve had five games, every one of them have been extremely intense and the game’s been on the line from start to finish," coach Joel Quenneville said following a 4-3 overtime win over the St. Louis Blues. "Our group’s been competitive this year, the guys have been working hard for one another. I don’t know how many games we’ve been down in the third period, and coming back to win is special."

The Blackhawks appeared in 17 overtime/shootout games last season and won seven of them. They are one of six teams this season that have yet to pick up a regulation win.

On a separate note, Saturday marked the eighth time in Blackhawks history that one player scored a tying goal in the third period and scored in overtime (Alex DeBrincat), according to the NHL's PR department. It's the second time it's happened this year for the Blackhawks, with Jonathan Toews the other on Oct. 6 against St. Louis.

Four takeaways: Alex DeBrincat salvages divisional game for Blackhawks in overtime on Duncan Keith’s special night

Four takeaways: Alex DeBrincat salvages divisional game for Blackhawks in overtime on Duncan Keith’s special night

Here are four takeaways from the Blackhawks' 4-3 overtime win over the St. Louis Blues at the United Center on Saturday night:

1. Special night for Duncan Keith — and Brent Seabrook

The Blackhawks celebrated Keith's 1,000-game milestone in the perfect way. Every player wore a No. 2 jersey during warmups, his family was on the ice for the pregame ceremony, and Patrick Sharp made an appearance to present Keith with a silver stick. Seabrook was also paired with Keith among the starters, a great touch by Joel Quenneville and the coaching staff.

But it was also a historic day for Keith's partner and close friend Seabrook, who became the franchise leader in games played by a defenseman, surpassing Bob Murray who previously held that mark at 1,008. It's only fitting Keith and Seabrook shared that moment together.

"We've been riding shotgun together for our whole careers," Keith said. "I couldn't imagine my career, my 1,000 games without him and all the experiences and memories that I've had winning and even losing, and the fun times we've had off the ice. I owe a lot of my success, and I think the team does as well, to Brent and what he means to the team and what he brings to our friendship and as a teammate."

To put a bow on the game, Keith had a vintage Keith moment on the game-tying goal in the third period when he intercepted a pass in the neutral zone on his backhand, then fed Toews a dart leading him into the offensive zone that set up DeBrincat's goal. 

2. Alex DeBrincat's torrid start

The Blackhawks continued to get contributions from their top players such as Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews, both of whom extended their point streaks to five games to open the season. But DeBrincat has propelled himself into that conversation as a top player on this team.

He had a multi-goal effort for the second straight game, upping his goal total on the season to a team-leading six. His overtime winner is the first of his NHL career in that fashion.

DeBrincat didn't score his sixth goal until Nov. 12 last season, which was the 18th game. And he still finished with 28. While it's hard to envision him continuing to score at more than a goal-per-game pace, it's not hard to see him continuing to be one of the best players on the ice and generating offense and scoring chances on a nightly basis.

"I think I'm getting pretty lucky right now," DeBrincat said. "I'm playing with [Toews] and [Dominik] Kahun, they're making great plays and getting me the puck. It's pretty easy when you have those guys as your linemates. Even on that last goal, [Erik Gustafsson] made a great pass backdoor to me. Pretty easy tap in."

3. Squandering another two-goal lead

The Blackhawks took a 2-0 lead for the third straight game. And they squandered it for the third straight game, in large part because they committed five straight penalties in the second and third periods.

It's no longer a blip at this point and is becoming an alarming trend, even though the Blackhawks have come back to force overtime in each of those three games. That will be something the Blackhawks work on all season long.

But Quenneville would have liked to have seen the Blackhawks keep their foot on the gas pedal and cash in on their opportunities to make it a 3-0 game.

"Score the third goal," he said. "I loved the way we were playing. We had a lot of good things going. Eventually they’re going to get chances, get opportunities. But we had some great chances to get it to three. It was one of those nights, every game is kind of different how the leads changed."

4. Brotherly love

For the first time in the NHL, the Schmaltz brothers finally got their chance to go up against each other at the highest level. There had been a handful of other opportunities in the past, but it never lined up for a variety of reasons. 

They didn't see much of each other while on the ice — they were on together for only 1:30 of the game — but Nick did commit a penalty that led to Jordan assisting on the Blues' first goal on a delayed call. 

The best battles between Jordan, who turned 25 on Oct. 8, and Nick, 22, came when they were kids.

"We had a little roller rink downstairs in our house growing up," Nick said. "It would be me vs. my sister (Kylie) and my brother. Those were probably the best battles. Someone would usually come up crying or high-stick or puck to the face or something like that. A lot of good memories. Looking back at it, it was awesome to have that and work on each other’s game and push each other to get better."