NHL Power Rankings: Maple Leafs take top spot; Capitals still contenders
In this week’s edition of the NHL Power Rankings the Toronto Maple Leafs climb to the top spot thanks to another big victory on Sunday night, giving them 14 wins in their past 16 games.
They have everything going their way right now offensively, defensively, and in goal.
They bump the Carolina Hurricanes from the top spot.
Elsewhere, the Washington Capitals are showing that they are still a major Stanley Cup contender in the Eastern Conference thanks to Alex Ovechkin’s continued dominance, helping them overcome a significant list of early season injuries.
We take a look at all of those teams and more in this week’s NHL Power Rankings.
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To this week’s NHL Power Rankings!
1. Toronto Maple Leafs (Last week: 3). They may not have the best overall record in the league, but you would be hard pressed to find another team that is playing better than them right now. They are 14-2-0 in their past 16 games and have actually been one of the best defensive and goal prevention teams in the league.
2. Washington Capitals (LW: 5). What Ovechkin is doing at the age of 36 defies all reason, logic, and historical aging curves. Just a completely dominant performance right now that is helping to carry a roster dealing with some significant injuries.
[Related: Alex Ovechkin’s latest feat]
3. Edmonton Oilers (LW: 2). The Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl Hart Trophy race is going to be something to watch this season, because as long as Edmonton keeps winning the way it is you have to assume one of them will win it again.
4. Carolina Hurricanes (LW: 1) They lost three out of four games over the past week. Even the best teams slump every once in a while.
5. Florida Panthers (LW: 4). GM Bill Zito has built an incredibly deep team here. The additions of Anthony Duclair, Carter Verhaeghe, Patric Hornqvist, Sam Reinhart, Joe Thornton, and Sam Bennett over the past year, while giving up minimal assets in return, has turned this team into a legitimate Cup contender.
6. Colorado Avalanche (LW: 10). The best offense in the league, scoring six and seven goals every night, while its best player -- Nathan MacKinnon -- is sidelined due to injury. Great team.
[Related: No MacKinnon, no problem for Avalanche right now]
7. Tampa Bay Lightning (LW: 6). No matter which star player goes out of the lineup over the years (Steven Stamkos, Nikita Kucherov, Brayden Point, Victor Hedman, even Andrei Vasilevskiy) they still find ways to win, and win a lot.
8. Calgary Flames (LW: 7). Darryl Sutter hockey is back in Calgary, and it is working. The Flames are a defensive force with him behind the bench.
9. New York Rangers (LW: 8). No idea how good they are overall, but a couple of superstars and an elite goalie will give you a chance every night.
10. Minnesota Wild (LW: 11). The goals are not yet there for Kirill Kaprizov but you can not doubt his overall impact. The superstar this team has been waiting for.
11. Vegas Golden Knights (LW: 9). Injuries to their best players are a big part of this, but Chandler Stephenson is leading this team in scoring right now with 20 points. Bet you would not have guessed that.
12. Boston Bruins (LW: 14). The top line is great, as always, but they really do miss David Krejci on that second line.
13. St. Louis Blues (LW: 15). They have a brutal week ahead with four games against Florida (twice) and Tampa Bay (twice). Nice test here.
14. Pittsburgh Penguins (LW: 17). If some of their top players start finishing their chances they could go on quite the roll.
15. Dallas Stars (LW: 18). Rick Bowness said he knew how to fix it, and now the team has won six out of seven games. This was always a better team than their early season record showed.
16. Columbus Blue Jackets (LW: 19). Oliver Bjorkstrand has always been a really good player, but he seems to be having a true breakout season to drive the Blue Jackets’ offense.
17. Winnipeg Jets (LW: 12). This was not a great week. Before scoring four goals in a win against Calgary, the Jets had lost five games in a row, scoring only five goals.
18. Nashville Predators (LW: 16). After scoring just 19 goals in his first 100 games with the Predators, Matt Duchene already has 13 in 21 games this season.
19. Anaheim Ducks (LW: 13). They have been a team of streaks this season, and with losses in four of their past five games they are starting to regress back to what was expected of them. The season can still be a success, though, because Trevor Zegras and Jamie Drysdale have arrived.
20. New Jersey Devils (LW: 21). Dougie Hamilton looks like one big free agent signing that is going to be worth it.
21. Philadelphia Flyers (LW: 20). Nobody has average teams get by with great goaltending quite like Alain Vigneault does.
22. Detroit Red Wings (LW: 24). Right now the Calder Trophy looks like it is Lucas Raymond’s to lose. What a player.
23. San Jose Sharks (LW: 25). They are hanging around, but am still not sure this roster is a playoff roster this season.
24. Seattle Kraken (LW: 28). They have great underlying numbers and terrible goaltending. The goaltending has started to play better, and suddenly they have won three out of four in a stretch where they played Washington, Carolina, Tampa Bay, and Florida. The season could have gotten away from them there. It did not.
25. Chicago Blackhawks (LW: 22). There is no offense on this team outside of Patrick Kane and Alex DeBrincat.
26. Los Angeles Kings (LW: 23). Anze Kopitar is still great. If they can find some consistency I still think this a team that can hang in the playoff race.
27. Buffalo Sabres (LW: 27). They started 5-1-1 through the first seven games. They are 3-10-1 in the 14 games since then.
28. New York Islanders (LW: 26). Tough to evaluate them objectively since they have not really had anything close to a full roster for a few weeks now. Still, this eight-game losing streak has the season slipping away from them.
29. Arizona Coyotes (LW: 32). They have been a lot more competitive lately, and Shayne Gostisbehere is having a nice bounce-back season.
30. Montreal Canadiens (LW: 30). From the Stanley Cup Final to complete front office changes in only a few months.
31. Vancouver Canucks (LW: 27). This is a bad team, but what has happened to Elias Pettersson this season?
32. Ottawa Senators (LW: 31). The Matt Murray experience just has not gone as anybody planned.