Blackhawks

NHL Power Rankings: Islanders battling for top seed in East

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NHL Power Rankings: Islanders battling for top seed in East

The Islanders haven't lost a game in regulation since Nov. 22, compiling a record of 8-0-2 in their last 10 games to climb into contention for the No. 1 seed in the East.

Meanwhile in the West, the Kings and Stars continue to pull away for their respective divisions and the Blackhawks have tied the Blues for second place in the Central.

Check in with CSNChicago.com 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 Week 8 Week 9

 

Rank Team
Last Week Record/Comment
1 1

20-6-2, 42 points: An important stretch coming up for the Capitals as their next 14 games will be against Eastern Conference opponents, half of them against divisional foes.

2   2

22-6-2, 46 points: After being held pointless in three straight games, Jamie Benn exploded for a season-high four-point night in a win over Carolina last week.

3 4

19-8-2, 40 points: Jonathan Quick is 7-0-1 in his last eight games, and has allowed just 13 goals in those contests.

4   6

18-8-5, 41 points: The Islanders are 7-0-2 against teams in their division, and have picked up at least a point in 10 straight games.

5 3

20-8-3, 43 points: The Canadiens had four regulations losses in their first 26 games. They have four regulation losses in their last five games.

6 7

16-8-6, 38 points: The Red Wings are 8-2-5 since Pavel Datsyuk returned to the lineup, and have picked up a point in each of their last 10 games. 

7

17-10-4, 38 points: Corey Crawford was named the NHL's first star of the week after going 3-0-0 with a 0.33 goals against average, .989 save percentage and two shutouts.

8 8

16-9-3, 35 points: The Bruins will play eight of their next 10 games at home, where they are 6-7-1 this season compared to 10-2-2 on the road.

9   5

18-9-4, 40 points: After starting the season on a 16-3-2 run, the Rangers are 2-6-2 in their last 10 games.

10 10

17-10-4, 38 points: The Blues have killed off 21 consecutive penalties, and have emerged as the league's top PK unit at 87.7 percent.

11 12

15-7-6, 36 points: The Wild are 4-0-2 in their last six games, which includes three shutout victories and a 2-1 win in Chicago.

12 15

15-10-5, 35 points: Despite sitting in the middle of the pack in goals per game (2.60), the Predators are the second-best puck possession team, controlling 54.7 percent of even-strength shot attempts.

13 11

15-10-5, 35 points: The Senators allowed 27 shots in the first period against Montreal over the weekend, which didn't help their league-worst average of 33.9 shots against per game.

14 13 

15-10-3, 33 points: The Penguins have officially seen enough of Mike Johnston and have given the keys to Mike Sullivan, who GM Jim Rutherford said reminds him of Peter Laviolette.

15 14 

14-13-3, 31 points: The Lightning are slowly trending in the right direction, winning three of their last five games and outshooting Washington by 16 in Saturday's 2-1 loss.

16 18 

15-11-4, 34 points: The Devils haven't had back-to-back wins in a month, but they keep finding ways to grab points in losses.

17   17

14-12-4, 32 points: Jaromir Jagr scored his 731st career NHL goal on Thursday, which ties him with Marcel Dionne for fourth-most goals of all-time.

18 20 

14-14-2, 30 points: Mathieu Perreault had an impressive four-point night in Thursday's win over Columbus, giving him six multipoint games on the season.

19 24

12-12-6, 30 points: After potting a goal against St. Louis last week, Claude Giroux has officially scored against each of the 29 teams he's faced in his career. 

20 16

14-14-1, 29 points: In his second game back from a fractured right fibula, Logan Couture will be out for roughly five games after undergoing surgery to repair "small arterial bleed." Tough blow for a team already trending in the wrong direction.

21 23

11-12-8, 30 points: Daniel Sedin is quietly ranked fifth in the NHL's scoring race with 33 points.

22 25 12-14-4, 28 points: All 12 of Justin Faulk's goals have come on the power play, which leads the league. Aside from Shea Weber (8), no other defenseman has more than four power-play goals this season.
23 19

11-13-5, 27 points: The Ducks had four days to prepare for Carolina and still lost 5-1, which closed out their six-game homestand. 

24 26

13-15-2, 28 points: Taylor Hall has nine points (five goals, four assists) in his last four games, bumping his point total to 34, which ranks fourth among all players. He's also tied for the league lead in game-winning goals (5).

25 28

13-14-2, 28 points: After scoring just five goals in his first 24 games, Johnny Gaudreau has seven goals in his last five contests, guiding the Flames to five straight wins, each of which have been decided by one goal (three ending in regulation or shootout).

26 27

14-16-1, 29 points: Gabriel Landeskog had four goals in his first three games of the season. He has just three goals in the 25 games since then.

27 22 

14-14-2, 27 points: The roller-coaster season continues for the Coyotes, who have only one win in the month of December.

28 21

12-15-3, 27 points: Rasmus Ristolainen became the first defenseman in Sabres history to net a hat trick in a single period during a loss to Calgary on Thursday.

29   29

10-13-5, 25 points: Jonathan Bernier is 3-0-1 with a 1.25 goals against average, .948 save percentage and three shutouts during his AHL conditioning stint.

30 30

11-17-3, 25 points: The Blue Jackets have one win in their last seven games, and are 0-1-2 since it was announced that Sergei Bobrovsky will miss the next three weeks with a lower body injury.

*Advanced stats courtesy of war-on-ice.com

Wake-up call? Brandon Saad 'surprised' about possibility of being a healthy scratch

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AP

Wake-up call? Brandon Saad 'surprised' about possibility of being a healthy scratch

Brandon Saad played a majority of last season on the first line, started this season on the second to change things up, got demoted to the fourth by the fifth game, and could find himself out of the lineup in the sixth.

Before the Blackhawks hit the ice for practice on Monday, the 25-year-old winger found a white jersey hanging in his stall. That's usually reserved for players who are injured — Andreas Martinsen (back) was the only other player wearing one — or players who are on the outside looking in, which appears to be Saad right now considering he was not part of the four-line rotation.

"I don't think anyone wants to be wearing white around here," he said. "But it is what it is and there's nothing you can do but keep trying to improve. It's their job to make the call to put the best team out there to win hockey games."

Known for being even-keeled through the ups and downs, Saad expressed disappointment about the possibility of being a healthy scratch on Thursday against the Arizona Coyotes. He didn't exactly show that emotion following his demotion to the fourth line, perhaps out of respect to the players he was playing with by noting how it brings balance.

But he did on Monday, and it was the first time we've really seen some sort of emotion out of him.

"Everyone makes mistakes and things aren't always going to go your way but to be out of the lineup, a little surprised today," Saad said. "But it is what it is. ... No one wants to be out of the lineup. That's never fun regardless of who you are."

When asked to pinpoint what's gone wrong, Saad said he wasn't the right person to ask.

"I think you got to ask him that," he said, referring to Joel Quenneville and the coaching staff. "It's his calls. For me, you can talk pros and cons as much as you want but just trying to go out there and compete and win hockey games. We've won a few here, I know every game has gone to overtime so they've been close. Nothing was said to me about lineup change or anything like that. You just come in and you see your jersey and you go out there and you play."

So Quenneville was asked.

"Just expect more," he said. "That's the situation."

Is his mindset in the right place?

"I think he's fine," Quenneville said. "His mindset is what it is. Whether it's urgency or passion, coming up with loose pucks in those areas is going to be the difference."

The Blackhawks sending a message shouldn't only be directed at Saad. It also serves as a reminder to his teammates and is important to note for the younger guys about earning your ice time.

"I don't really know where the coaches are coming from so I'm not going to comment on that," Jonathan Toews said respectfully. "But [Saad] has been doing some good things and I think it's good for all of us to know what's going on there because if [Saad] can get his ice time taken away, then so can a lot of guys, myself included. So we all want to play well and have team success."

The Blackhawks need Saad to return to form quickly because he's crucial to their overall success. There's no debate about that. It's why the thought of Saad, who played in all 82 games last season, serving as the 13th forward is frustrating for everyone involved.

It hasn't been a problem in the past, but now it's becoming one because of the Blackhawks' aspirations of getting back to the playoffs and their dependence on their top players.

"I don’t think it’s an issue," Quenneville said. "We just expect more out of him."

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.