The second full week of NHL play has wrapped up and the league is still full of parity. While the top five teams continued their stellar play, the rest of the league continues to juggle wins and losses while trying to find their identities. With a shortened 48-game season, no team has room for a slow start.
Be sure to check back every Monday for updated Power Rankings!
30. Washington Capitals (2-6-1)
Last Week’s Ranking: 28
This Week’s Schedule: Toronto, @Pittsburgh, Florida
Breakdown: The Capitals currently have two average goaltenders and an underachieving Alexander Ovechkin. If Ovechkin (4 points on the season) can’t return to superstar form then the Capitals will most likely be thinking more about Seth Jones than the playoffs in a few months.
29. Calgary Flames (1-3-2)
Last Week’s Ranking: 26
This Week’s Schedule: @Detroit, @Columbus, @Vancouver
Breakdown: The Flames have been getting crushed on the power play as their penalty killing unit has only been able to stop teams 68.4% of the time when down a man. Team Captain Jarome Iginla has still yet to score a goal this season and as the team enters a potential rebuild, it is not insane to think that Iginla’s days in Calgary could be coming to an end.
28. Florida Panthers (3-5-0)
Last Week’s Ranking: 30
This Week’s Schedule: @Winnipeg, @Philadelphia, @Washington
Breakdown: The Panthers came back from the dead last week winning 2 of 3 games, but still have many obstacles to overcome before being considered legitimate contenders once again. The return of Marcel Goc and Kris Versteeg from injury has given the Panthers new life as they hope to get back to their winning way. First-year Panther Peter Mueller has carried the bulk of the Panthers’ scoring load, netting a goal in the team’s last 4 contests.
27. Philadelphia Flyers (3-6-0)
Last Week’s Ranking: 24
This Week’s Schedule: Tampa Bay, Florida, Carolina
Breakdown: Currently in the bottom 5 of the league is goals per game (2.33), the Philadelphia Flyers are still struggling to put out a consistent offensive effort each night. Goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov is continuing to have a resurgent season (2.40 GAA / .920 SV%), but unless the Flyers can strengthen both their offense and defense, it will be all for nothing.
26. Columbus Blue Jackets (3-5-1)
Last Week’s Ranking: 27
This Week’s Schedule: Los Angeles, Calgary, Edmonton
Breakdown: The Columbus Blue Jackets have continued to impress by playing hard and giving opponents a handful every night. Acquired in the Rick Nash trade, Artem Anisimov has become the team’s go-to scorer with four goals already on the season. While the Blue Jackets will most likely finish in the bottom five of the NHL, fans should be happy that the team is progressing ahead of schedule.
25. Los Angeles Kings (2-3-2)
Last Week’s Ranking: 25
This Week’s Schedule: @Columbus, @Nashville, @Detroit
Breakdown: Good news! The Los Angeles Kings raised their power play to 10.8%! …. Bad News! Their power play is 10.8%! The Los Angeles Kings still continue to struggle offensively even after the return of Anze Kopitar. Jeff Carter and Mike Richards currently have 6 points combined and will need to elevate their play if the Kings hope to win games this season.
24. Buffalo Sabres (3-5-1)
Last Week’s Ranking: 22
This Week’s Schedule: @Ottawa, Montreal, @NY Islanders, Boston
Breakdown: Forward Thomas Vanek (8G 11A) is having a MVP worthy season, but the Sabres porous defense is keeping the team from winning most games. Behind a weak defense, Ryan Miller is having a terrible statistical season thus far (3.11 GAA / .906 SV%) as he is continuously put in bad situations because of the defense in front of him. If the team cannot fix their defensive woes, they will possibly waste the best season of Thomas Vanek’s career.
23. Winnipeg Jets ( 3-4-1)
Last Week’s Ranking: 11
This Week’s Schedule: Florida, Toronto, @Ottawa
Breakdown: After an impressive first week of play, the Winnipeg Jets have completely fallen apart, losing three in a row by a combined score of 18-9. Winnipeg’s defense has absolutely broken down as they now lead the NHL in goals allowed per game on average with 3.88. Although they put up impressive point totals, defensemen Dustin Byfuglien and Tobias Enstrom will need to start playing improved defense if the team hopes to contend in the Southeast Division.
22. Dallas Stars (3-5-1)
Last Week’s Ranking: 14
This Week’s Schedule: @Colorado, @Edmonton, Anaheim
Breakdown: The Dallas Stars’ offense has been terrible thus far in the 2013 NHL season scoring a meager 1.78 goals per game. With forward Ray Whitney reportedly set to miss a long period of time with a foot injury, the chances of the Stars’ offense improving does not look good. The team will most likely continue to struggle this season with multiple games against high scoring opponents like the San Jose Sharks and Anaheim Ducks.
21. Carolina Hurricanes (3-4-0)
Last Week’s Ranking: 20
This Week’s Schedule: @Toronto, @Ottawa, @Philadelphia
Breakdown: The Carolina Hurricanes are beginning to benefit from the emergence of Alexander Semin (1G 4A) who was very silent during the first week of this NHL season, but continue to struggle keeping the puck out of their own net. In four starts this season, goaltender Cam Ward has a 4.05 GAA / .867 SV% and could potentially lose his job to journeyman goaltender Dan Ellis.
20. Phoenix Coyotes (3-4-2)
Last Week’s Ranking: 29
This Week’s Schedule: Minnesota, Chicago, @San Jose
Breakdown: The Phoenix Coyotes rebounded nicely last week, going 2-0-2 and playing overall solid hockey. Backup goaltender Chad Johnson has been fantastic in two starts this season recording a 0.98 GAA / .952 SV% and could potentially be a nice compliment to starter Mike Smith who is coming off a shutout against the Dallas Stars after struggling to start the season.
19. Toronto Maple Leafs (4-4-0)
Last Week’s Ranking: 23
This Week’s Schedule: Carolina, @Washington, @Winnipeg, @Montreal
Breakdown: The Maple Leafs offense continues to struggle both on the power play (14.3%) and in even strength situations. Phil Kessel has only recorded four points on the season and has yet to score a goal thus far. The absence of Joffrey Lupul as well as Kessel’s offensive ineptitude could spell doom for the Maple Leaf’s playoff hopes.
18. New York Rangers (4-4-0)
Last Week’s Ranking: 21
This Week’s Schedule: @New Jersey, NY Islanders, Tampa Bay
Breakdown: The New York Rangers capped off a nice week with an impressive 3-2 over the Tampa Bay Lightning. The offensive trio of Rick Nash, Brad Richard and Marian Gaborik is clicking as the top line has combined for 22 points so far this season. Goaltender Henrik Lundqvist’s numbers are down this season (2.78 GAA / .904 SV%), but considering his skill level it is safe to say he will be solid in net most nights.
17. Nashville Predators (3-2-3)
Last Week’s Ranking: 17
This Week’s Ranking: @St. Louis, Los Angeles, @Minnesota, Chicago
Breakdown: Even after handing the San Jose Sharks their first loss of the season, the Nashville Predators are still a very questionable team early in the season. Although the team has a stellar defense and an outstanding goalie in Pekka Rinne, the team is scoring a league worst 1.50 goals per game. Unless the Predators find some offensive talent either in their own system or via trade, the team will find themselves on the wrong end of even more overtime games.
16. Colorado Avalanche (4-4-0)
Last Week’s Ranking: 18
This Week’s Schedule: Dallas, Anaheim
Breakdown: The Colorado Avalanche are an impressive 3-0-0 at home this season and have looked good on most nights even without two of their best offensive talents. The Avalanche currently have the NHL’s worst power play, scoring only 7.4% of the time they are up a man. However, the probable returns of Gabriel Landeskog and Ryan O’Reilly should help alleviate the team’s offensive struggles.
15. Edmonton Oilers (4-3-1)
Last Week’s Ranking: 19
This Week’s Schedule: Vancouver, Dallas, @Detroit, @Columbus
Breakdown: The Edmonton Oilers’ have rode their impressive power play (29%) and clutch offense to a respectable start to this NHL season. Although the Oilers are still not scoring as much as they were expected to, currently scoring 2.38 goals per game, the team has come up bit in clutch moments. It is very impressive that a team as young as the Oilers is already learning how to win close games.
14. Minnesota Wild (4-3-1)
Last Week’s Ranking: 12
This Week’s Schedule: @Phoenix, Vancouver, Nashville
Breakdown: The Minnesota Wild continue to be a one line team as Zach Parise, Mikko Koivu and Dany Heatley have combined for 11 of the teams 19 goals so far this season. Players like Devin Setoguchi and Pierre-Marc Bouchard will need to step up their offensive game if the Minnesota Wild hope to make any noise in the western conference this season. A tough game against Nashville to end their week should give us a good indication of just how good the Wild’s offense can be with this formula.
13. Detroit Red Wings (4-3-1)
Last Week’s Ranking: 16
This Week’s Schedule: The Detroit Red Wings are finally starting to figure things out with Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg carrying the offensive load – combining for 22 points through the teams first eight games this season. However, starting goaltender Jimmy Howard is still a question mark for the Red Wings so far in the season with a 2.96 GAA / .898 SV% while starting all eight of the team’s games.
12. New York Islanders (4-3-1)
Last Week’s Ranking: 13
This Week’s Schedule: Pittsburgh, @NY Rangers, Buffalo
Breakdown: The New York Islanders continue to ride their deep offensive unit to victories despite having a fairly awful defense. Superstar John Tavares has been spectacular so far scoring 11 points (4G 7A) through the team’s first eight games. Oddly enough, even with their questionable defense, the Islanders have still managed to kill off 92.9% of opponents power plays.
11. Vancouver Canucks (4-2-2)
Last Week’s Ranking: 15
This Week’s Schedule: @Edmonton, @Minnesota, Calgary
Breakdown: After it looked as if his bags were already packed, goalie Roberto Luongo has now become the star goaltender once again in Vancouver. Luongo has compiled an impressive 2-0-2 record with a 1.46 GAA / .944 SV% and has been one of the biggest keys to the Canucks’ success in recent games.
10. New Jersey Devils (4-1-3)
Last Week’s Ranking: 6
This Week’s Schedule: NY Rangers, Tampa Bay, Pittsburgh, @Pittsburgh
Breakdown: The New Jersey Devils continue to ride their impressive defense to victories, allowing opponents to score just 2.25 goals per game on average. Adam Henrique has been impressive since his return from injury, scoring 2 points (1G 1A) in his first three games back.
9. Ottawa Senators (5-3-1)
Last Week’s Ranking: 9
This Week’s Schedule: Buffalo, Carolina, Winnipeg
Breakdown: Ottawa Senators’ goaltender Craig Anderson has carried the team thus far this season and has been playing Vezina worthy hockey since opening night. Anderson has compiled an astounding 5-2-1 record with a 1.12 GAA / .964 SV% for the Senators so far this season. While forward Jason Spezza is set to miss some time after having back surgery, Anderson’s play in net will keep the Senators from having to score a ton in most games.
8. Pittsburgh Penguins (6-3-0)
Last Week’s Ranking: 8
This Week’s Schedule: @NY Islanders, Washington, @New Jersey, New Jersey
Breakdown: After scoring 11 goals in their past two games, it seems as if the Pittsburgh Penguins are finally becoming the dominant offensive unit we though they could be. Sidney Crosby is starting to heat up and now has 13 points (4G 9A) through the teams first nine games this season. Two games this week against the stalwart defense of the New Jersey Devils should give the Penguins offense their biggest test of the season.
7. Montreal Canadiens (6-2-0)
Last Week’s Ranking: 10
This Week’s Schedule: Boston, @Buffalo, Toronto
Breakdown: The Montreal Canadiens have risen up the standings while playing solid hockey on both ends of the ice. They are now top six in the league in both goals allowed per game (2.12) and goals scored per game (3.25). The Canadiens’ offense starts at their blue line with defenseman Andrei Markov and Raphael Diaz combining for 16 points through the teams first 8 games. The recent return of P.K. Subban to the team’s lineup has bolstered an already stellar offensive blue line.
6. Anaheim Ducks (5-1-1)
Last Week’s Ranking: 7
This Week’s Schedule: San Jose, @Colorado, @Dallas, @St. Louis
Breakdown: The Anaheim Ducks have been an offensive powerhouse since the beginning of the season and are currently third in the NHL with 3.71 goals scored per game on average. The ageless wonder Teemu Selanne is leading the team in scoring with 9 points (3G 6A) and is giving every ounce of energy he has left to the game during his last NHL season. Goaltender Viktor Fasth has been impressive as a backup, compiling a 1.44 GAA / .938 SV% and could be a nice safety net behind a struggling Jonas Hiller.
5. St. Louis Blues (6-2-0)
Last Week’s Ranking: 3
This Week’s Schedule: Nashville, Detroit, Anaheim
Breakdown: The St. Louis Blues offense continues to be their strongest asset as the team is scoring an impressive 3.75 goals per game on average. Most of their offensive output can be credited to their stellar power play which is scoring at an astonishing 35.5%. Rookie sensation Vladimir Tarasenko continues to lead the team in scoring with 10 points (5G 5A) and is making life easier on secondary scorers David Perron and T.J. Oshie. If he continues to play like this he will most surely be in the hunt for the Calder trophy.
4. Boston Bruins (6-1-1)
Last Week’s Ranking: 4
This Week’s Schedule: @Montreal, Tampa Bay, @Buffalo
Breakdown: The Boston Bruins continue to excel both defensively and in net as they are shutting down opponents power plays 94.1% of the time. However, the teams power play is only converting 10% of their opportunities and their overall offensive output is still questionable. Forward Tyler Seguin only has 4 points (1G 3A) through the team’s first eight games and will need to step up his play and create scoring chances for both himself and his teammates.
3. Tampa Bay Lightning (6-2-0)
Last Week’s Ranking: 5
This Week’s Schedule: @Philadelphia, @New Jersey, @Boston, @NY Rangers
Breakdown: Wow! The Tampa Bay Lightning have been astounding so far this season and currently have the NHL’s best offense, scoring an imposing 4.88 goals per game on average. The bulk of their offensive output can be contributed to their NHL best power play which is converting 36.1% of their chances. Rookie phenom Cory Conacher currently leads all rookies with 12 points (5G 7A) and has been an incredible addition to an already outstanding Tampa Bay lineup.
2. Chicago Blackhawks (7-0-2)
Last Week’s Ranking: 2
This Week’s Schedule: @San Jose, @Phoenix, Nashville
Breakdown: The Chicago Blackhawks keep on rolling not only behind their opportunistic scoring (3.00 goals per game), but also their outstanding NHL best penalty kill that is stopping opponents 94.4% of the time when they are down a man. The most surprising player for the Blackhawks so far this season has been goaltender Corey Crawford. Crawford currently has a profound 1.66 GAA/ .934 SV% – statistics that no one could have envisioned. If Crawford continues to play like an elite goaltender, the Blackhawks offense should be able to outscore most opponents. A trip to San Jose this week will put the Blackhawks elite penalty killing unit up against one of the best power plays in the NHL.
1. San Jose Sharks (7-0-1)
Last Week’s Rankings: 1
This Week’s Schedule: @Anaheim, Chicago, Phoenix
Breakdown: Another week and the San Jose Sharks have remained atop the THW Power Rankings. While the Sharks offense has been dominating opponents while scoring 3.50 goals per game on average, their defense and goaltending have been their biggest surprise. The Sharks currently have the best defense in the NHL, allowing opponents to only score 1.62 goals per game on average. While the Patrick Marleau and Joe Thornton are both in the top 5 of the NHL scoring list, the team’s MVP so far could possibly be goalie Antti Niemi. Niemi has compiled a 1.80 GAA / .936 SV% and in the end could be the key to the Sharks winning the Western Conference.