NHL Power Rankings: The Philadelphia Flyers’ wild ride
If you are a Philadelphia Flyers fan, how do you do it?
How do you deal with the dramatic swings and the complete unpredictability that your favorite sports franchise throws in your direction every season without being driven completely mad? At any given time you could see a 10-game winning streak, or a 10-game losing streak, and neither one would ever shock you because you just have to think, “yeah, that streak makes sense.”
Take this season for example. The Flyers have already lost four games in a row on three different occasions. The only other teams in the league that have done that are Anaheim, Columbus, Chicago, Detroit, Los Angeles, Montreal, Ottawa, and San Jose. That is a collection of the league’s worst teams and one bubble playoff team (Columbus). That many extended losing streaks should completely bury a team.
But not the Flyers. Not this team. They enter this week with one of the league’s best records (sixth-best points percentage), are currently on a six-game winning streak, and are just three points out of first place in the Metropolitan Division. It all just kind of happened out of nowhere.
That run puts them back in the top-five of this week’s NHL Power Rankings. Where do the rest of the teams sit this week?
To the rankings!
1. Boston Bruins. The Bruins may not have the NHL’s longest current winning streak, but they have the league’s best record (by far) and are 17-5-2 in their most recent 25 games.
2. St. Louis Blues. Since snapping a five-game losing streak that slowed them down in mid-February, the defending champions have ripped off seven wins in a row. The only reason it has not created more space at the top of the Central Division is because of the next team.
3. Colorado Avalanche. Even with all of their injuries (Mikko Rantanen, Nazem Kadri, Philipp Grubauer, Andre Burakovsky, Matt Calvert) they are still rolling. They have won five in a row, have points in six straight, and are 13-4-3 in the past 20 games.
4. Philadelphia Flyers. A healthy Carter Hart could be a game-changer here.
5. Vegas Golden Knights. This team has been a sleeping giant all season. They were never as bad as their early season record indicated and they are now starting to distance themselves in the Pacific Division race.
6. Tampa Bay Lightning. Hopefully for their sake the Steven Stamkos injury does not linger too far into the playoffs.
7. Dallas Stars. I don’t know how good the Stars are overall as a team, but I do know their goaltending should put the fear of god into any potential playoff opponent.
8. Toronto Maple Leafs. You know, for all of the “sky is falling” mayhem that oozes out of Toronto every time this team loses a game they are 26-13-4 under Sheldon Keefe. That is a 107-point pace over 82 games. Calm down.
9. Washington Capitals. They still have the inside track on another Metropolitan Division crown but they have two absolutely massive upcoming games with the Flyers and Pittsburgh Penguins.
10. Pittsburgh Penguins. This is their first six-game losing streak since the 2011-12 season. They followed that streak by immediately winning seven games in a row. Let’s see what they do this time.
11. Edmonton Oilers. Leon Draisaitl has a real shot at back-to-back 50-goal, 100-point seasons. The most recent players to accomplish such a feat are Alex Ovechkin, Dany Heatley, and Mario Lemieux.
12. Nashville Predators. They are in a three-way tie for the second wild card spot, but have three more games to play than the two teams they are tied with. They would really have to screw this up to miss the playoffs.
13. New York Rangers. It may not result in a playoff appearance this season (losing Chris Kreider is a big loss), but they have definitely made it interesting and the future looks to be in good hands with this core.
14. New York Islanders. They should make the playoffs, but this has been a very ordinary team since the end of November. They are just 19-18-6 in the 43 games since November 24.
15. Carolina Hurricanes. I like all of their trade deadline moves, but let’s face it: Not having Dougie Hamilton and Brett Pesce is a problem. They also need one of their regular goalies back.
16. Minnesota Wild. They traded one of their best players in-season (Jason Zucker), they fired a really good coach when the team was starting to turn things around, and they still might end up making the playoffs.
17. Calgary Flames. They could end up with home-ice in Round 1 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs or they could end up sitting on their couches in Round 1 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
18. Vancouver Canucks. They can find ways to overcome the injury to Brock Boeser. The injury to Jacob Markstrom is the one that is going to hurt in the short-term.
19. Arizona Coyotes. Their 7-11-4 run over their past 22 games has not completely eliminated them from playoff contention, but given how many games in hand everyone around them has this is not going to be easy.
20. Columbus Blue Jackets. Even after losing 10 out of 11 games they are still in it. That win against Vancouver on Sunday night might be a season saver.
21. Winnipeg Jets. Connor Hellebuyck has helped them hang around this season but overall it’s just not a very good team.
22. Florida Panthers. This season started with so much hope and so much promise and it looks like it is just going to end up being more of the same. Very disappointing.
23. Buffalo Sabres. At the trade deadline they were talking about playing meaningful games down the stretch and then they followed it up by losing three games in a row to pretty much make every game the rest of the way completely meaningless.
24. Los Angeles Kings. Give them credit, with absolutely nothing to play for they are 6-2-1 in their past nine games and beaten a bunch of teams in playoff spots or fighting for a playoff spot.
25. Chicago Blackhawks. He still probably will not do enough to move ahead of top two defensemen, but Dominik Kubalik is playing his way into the top-three of the Calder Trophy discussion.
26. New Jersey Devils. It has been a rough couple of years for Cory Schneider but he has played three outstanding games since returning to the lineup.
27. Montreal Canadiens. Philip Danault has had a sneaky good season here. So they have that going for them.
28. San Jose Sharks. For as bad as this season has been I could still see this team being a contender again next season. I’m not crazy. Get healthy, fix the goaltending.
29. Anaheim Ducks. The last time the Ducks had a season this bad they were still branded as The Mighty Ducks of Anaheim.
30. Ottawa Senators. Bobby Ryan’s return and hat trick was a pretty great moment.
31. Detroit Red Wings. There are loyal Detroit Red Wings fans that have watched every game of this season. I salute them. They should get an award.