Look out! There is movement atop the THW NHL Power Rankings! With a few weeks of play in the books during this shortened NHL season, parity still reigns supreme as teams continue to juggle losing streaks and winning streaks en route to mediocrity. While a few teams have been able to play consistently good hockey throughout the season thus far, most NHL teams are still shaking off the cob webs and trying to find their identities as the season begins to heat up.
Check back every Monday for updated NHL Power Rankings!
Last Week’s Ranking: 30
This Week’s Schedule: @Florida, @Tampa Bay, @NY Rangers
Breakdown: The Capitals were able to end a three game losing streak against the road-weary Florida Panthers on Saturday, yet still remain at the bottom of the league standings and still look like anything but a contender. Mike Ribero has been a nice surprise for the Capitals, compiling 14 points (4G 10A) through 12 games this season. Also, after a slow start to the season, Alexander Ovechkin is beginning to pick up his play scoring 5 points (2G 3A) in the team’s last 4 games.
Last Week’s Ranking: 26
This Week’s Schedule: San Jose, @Los Angeles, @Phoenix
Breakdown: After some promising play early on this season, the Blue Jackets have lost 5 of their last 6 games and are beginning to look more like a rebuilding squad. As a team, the Blue Jackets are only scoring 1.92 goals per game on average, currently worst in the NHL. Although Artem Anisimov has played well, the team is still lacking a legitimate go-to scorer.
Last Week’s Ranking: 25
This Week’s Schedule: @St. Louis, Columbus, @Chicago
Breakdown: The Los Angeles Kings continue to struggle as the glow of their Stanley Cup Championship begins to wear off. The Kings have lost 4 of 5 including a last second heart-breaker to the Detroit Red Wings on Sunday. Talented scorers Anze Kopitar, Mike Richards and Jeff Carter have all struggled to score and are a big reason why the Kings’ powerplay remains at an anemic 10.9%.
Last Week’s Ranking: 29
This Week’s Schedule: Minnesota, Dallas, St. Louis, @Dallas
Breakdown: The Flames’ already rough season took another blow this week when both goaltender Miika Kiprusoff and forward Mikael Backlund were place on IR. Kiprusoff is considered day-to-day while Backlund is expected to miss multiple weeks. The Flames are currently allowing 3.44 goals per game – a number you can expect to see rise until Kiprusoff returns.
Last Week’s Ranking: 16
This Week’s Schedule: Phoenix, @Minnesota, @Edmonton
Breakdown: Currently missing three of their top skaters – Steve Downie, Gabriel Landeskog and Ryan O’Reilly – the Colorado Avalanche are beginning to tumble down the standings, losing 5 of their last 7 games. P.A. Parenteau has done his best to compensate for the team’s missing scorers, netting 7 goals so far this season. However, both Gabriel Landeskog and Ryan O’Reilly will need to return to the ice soon – before the Avalanche fall too far out of contention.
Last Week’s Ranking: 28
This Week’s Schedule: Washington, Montreal, Tampa Bay
Breakdown: After a terrible start to their season, the Florida Panthers played inspired hockey while going 2-1-1 on their first long road trip of the season. Although they have managed to win a few games, the Panthers still look like a team that can give up 5 goals on any given night and currently allow 3.64 goals per game on average – worst in the NHL.
Last Week’s Ranking: 24
This Week’s Schedule: @Ottawa, Boston, Pittsburgh
Breakdown: Thomas Vanek is continuing to have an MVP worthy season, compiling 23 points (11G 12A) through just 12 games this season. However, the Sabres still can’t keep the puck out of their own net, allowing 3.54 goals per game. If the Sabres can learn how to keep opponents off of the score sheet then Thomas Vanek may very well be able to carry them into the playoffs.
Last Week’s Ranking: 12
This Week’s Schedule: Carolina, @NY Rangers, New Jersey
Breakdown: After impressing in the first few weeks of the season, the New York Islanders are starting to look like the same old team we always knew. Currently in the midst of a 4 game losing streak, being outscored 14-5 in those games. The signing of goaltender Tim Thomas made headlines this week and although it’s most likely only a cap-related trade, it’s safe to say that even Thomas in his prime could not excel behind the Islanders’ porous defense.
Last Week’s Ranking: 27
This Week’s Schedule: @Toronto, @Winnipeg, @New Jersey, @Montreal
Breakdown: The Philadelphia Flyers have won 3 of 4 and are finally starting to play some consistent hockey as they climb the Atlantic Division standings. Matt Read is excelling so far in his sophomore season, leading the team with 9 points (5G 4A). However, Claude Giroux is still searching for his superstar form and only have 7 points on the season thus far.
Last Week’s Ranking: 23
This Week’s Schedule: Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Boston
Breakdown: After embarrassing losses at the hands of the Tampa Bay Lightning and Florida Panthers, the Winnipeg Jets have stabilized and won 2 of their last 3 games. However, the Jets’ achilles heal continues to be their penalty kill which currently sits at an NHL worst 66.7%. The Jets’ offense should benefit from the return of offensive minded denfenseman Dustin Byfuglien who has been absent with a lower-body injury.
Last Week’s Ranking: 14
This Week’s Schedule: @Calgary, @Vancouver, Colorado, Detroit
Breakdown: The Minnesota Wild have lost 3 of their last 4 games and have struggled to get their offense going. In their past 4 games, the Wild have only been able to score 5 goals as they continue to lack offense outside of their top scoring line. Devin Setoguchi, Cal Clutterbuck, Pierre-Marc Bourchard and Mikael Granlund have only combined for 12 points so far this season.
Last Week’s Ranking: 21
This Week’s Schedule: @NY Islanders, @New Jersey, Toronto
Breakdown: The Carolina Hurricanes have been playing consistent hockey behind a resurgent offensive effort and steady goaltending, getting points in their last 3 games. After a terrible start to the season and his starting job in jeopardy, goalie Cam Ward is finally starting to look like his old self. Ward was fantastic in games against Toronto and Ottawa last week, stopping a combined 86 shots.
Last Week’s Ranking: 20
This Week’s Schedule: @Colorado, @Nashville, Columbus
Breakdown: After a rough start to the season, the Phoenix Coyotes have won 3 of their last 4 games, with their only loss coming at the hands of the powerhouse Chicago Blackhawks. Goaltender Mike Smith has been brilliant for the Coyotes in recent games, earning 2 shutouts in his past 4 starts – including a 33 save performance against the San Jose Sharks.
Last Week’s Ranking: 15
This Week’s Schedule: Dallas, Colorado
Breakdown: Although the Edmonton Oilers are an exciting young team, they are still having trouble winning close games and it’s starting to cost them in the divisional standings. The Oilers have lost 5 of their last 6 games, and while they have managed points through overtime losses, they are costing themselves dearly by only getting a single point on most nights. On a team filled with young scoring talent, forward Sam Gagner has risen to the top of the team scoring lead with 13 points (4G 9A) through the team’s first 12 games. If the Oilers can start turning some of their overtime losses into wins, then they will surely be playoff bound this season.
Last Week’s Ranking: 3
This Week’s Schedule: Montreal, Washington, @Florida
Breakdown: Wow, what happened to the Tampa Bay Lightning? After looking like one of the best teams in the league, the Bolts have dropped their past 4 games while being outscored 14-6 in the process. While the Lightning’s offense will most likely get back to form, the team is beginning to show that they are an average defensive team at best. Players like Matt Carle and Eric Brewer will have to step up and support goaltender Anders Lindback in order for the team to win games when their offense has an off night.
Last Week’s Ranking: 22
This Week’s Schedule: @Edmonton, @Calgary, @Vancouver, Calgary
Breakdown: After struggling to start the season without their star player Jamie Benn, the Dallas Stars have righted the ship and won 4 of their last 5 games. In his 7 games since returning from his contract holdout, Benn has compiled 7 points (4G 3A) and has sparked the team, especially since the loss of forward Ray Whitney. Sadly, the Stars are still only scoring 2.08 goals per game on average, however if Jamie Benn and Jaromir Jagr continue to contribute like they have recently you can expect that number to rise.
Last Week’s Ranking: 18
This Week’s Schedule: @Boston, NY Islanders, Washington
Breakdown: The New York Rangers have won 5 of their last 7 games and are starting to look like the Stanley Cup contender that many envisioned them to be at the beginning of the season. Goaltender Henrik Lundqvist has brushed off the rust that he showed early on and has played like his old self in recent games, allowing only 5 goals in his past 3 starts. The top scoring trio of Richards, Nash and Gaborik continue to carry the bulk of the offensive load, however the emergence of players like Carl Hagelin and Taylor Pyatt is starting to add a new dimension to the Rangers’ offense that had been missing thus far.
Last Week’s Ranking: 5
This Week’s Schedule: Los Angeles, @Detroit, @Calgary, @Vancouver
Breakdown: The St. Louis Blues are hitting a very rough part in their season as they have only been able to record 1 out of 8 points in the standings through their last four games. The Blues have been outscored 22-10 in their past 4 games and have been struggling to keep the puck out of their own net. The temporary loss of Jaroslav Halak hindered the Blues’ once two-headed goaltending monster and put added pressure on Brian Elliot. Even with the impending return of Halak, Elliot will need to fix his struggles (3.51 GAA / .853 SV%), or else the Blues’ NHL leading powerplay (36.6%) will mean nothing.
Last Week’s Ranking: 7
This Week’s Schedule: @Tampa Bay, @Florida, Philidelphia
Breakdown: The Montreal Canadiens have hit a small rough patch, losing their past 3 games by a combined score of 13-5. Goaltender Cary Price was shelled by the Toronto Maple Leafs this past week, allowing 6 goals on only 28 shots. However, given Price’s elite status, it was most likely just a bad game and nothing to be worried about. Forward Tomas Plekanec is starting to hit his stride, compiling 5 points (2G 3A) in the teams last 5 games. If Brian Gionta can find his scoring touch, the Canadiens will have a nice offensive trio consisting of Plekanec, Gionta, and Galchenyuk.
Last Week’s Ranking: 17
This Week’s Schedule: San Jose, Phoenix, Anaheim
Breakdown: The Nashville Predators finally started ending up on the right side of overtime games en route to winning 4 of their last 6 games. Aside from a 6 goal explosion against the St. Louis Blues, the Preds are still struggling to put the puck in the net on most nights. Forwards David Legwand and Mike Fisher have combined for only 7 points through the team’s first 12 games and will need to figure out ways to get their offensive game going as soon as possible. Luckily for the Predators, goaltender Pekka Rinne is having another Vezina worthy season thus far, compiling a 1.92 GAA / .929 SV%.
Last Week’s Ranking: 9
This Week’s Schedule: Buffalo, @Pittsburgh, @Toronto
Breakdown: After a hot start, the Ottawa Senators are beginning to struggle a bit, losing 4 of their last 5 games. Although the Senators only allowed 10 goals in those 5 games, their offense was only able to score 8 goals – including being shut out twice. Goaltender Craig Anderson continues to be the top candidate for the Vezina trophy this season, compiling an eye-popping 1.49 GAA / .950 SV%. With forward Jason Spezza out for the foreseeable future, players like Kyle Turris, Daniel Alfredsson and Erik Karlsson will have to carrying an even bigger offensive load than they already are.
Last Week’s Ranking: 19
This Week’s Schedule: Philadelphia, @Carolina, Ottawa
Breakdown: The Toronto Maple Leafs are currently on a hot 3 game winning streak, outscoring opponents 12-4 during that span. After being the butt of many jokes via Twitter, Phil Kessel not only scored a goal, but is now on a two-game scoring streak. However, Phil Kessel isn’t the main story recently for the Leafs offense, forward James van Riemsdyk is starting to find his mojo and has scored 4 points (3G 1A) in the team’s last 3 games. Van Reimsdyk currently leads all Leafs’ scorers with 7 goals on the season. In net, James Reimer is starting to put together a quality season, compiling a 2.30 GAA /.929 SV%.
Last Week’s Ranking: 13
This Week’s Schedule: St. Louis, Anaheim, @Minnesota
Breakdown: The Detroit Red Wings have won 5 of their past 7 games and are starting to show that they can succeed even with all of the pieces they lost this past offseason. Henrik Zetterberg has been outstanding for the Red Wings, compiling 6 points (0G 6A) in the teams past 4 games, and currently is tied for the NHL lead with 13 assists. Goaltender Jimmy Howard has been spectacular in his past two outings, stopping 68 of 71 shots faced.
Last Week’s Ranking: 8
This Week’s Schedule: Ottawa, @Winnipeg, @Buffalo
Breakdown: Before dropping their past 2 games to the New Jersey Devils, the Penguins were on a 5 game winning streak and looking like a Stanley Cup contender. During that 5 game winning streak, the Penguins offense was clicking on all cylinders, scoring 20 goals during that time. Sidney Crosby continues to flourish as a facilitator, earning 12 assists through the teams first 13 games. Goaltender Tomas Vokoun continues to be a nice surprise for the Penguins as he has posted a 2.27 GAA / .918 SV% as the team’s reliable backup.
Last Week’s Ranking: 11
This Week’s Schedule: Minnesota, Dallas, St. Louis
Breakdown: Wow! The Vancouver Canucks continue to impress as they stretched their win streak to 5 games on Saturday against the Calgary Flames. During their win streak, the Canucks are outscoring opponents 17-5 and have looked like the perennial President’s Trophy candidates that we all remember. Roberto Luongo has been outstanding to far this season, compiling a 1.53 GAA / .940 SV% ad mist a constant barrage of “goalie controversy” remarks from media and fans alike. If the duo of Roberto Luongo and Cory Schneider continues to stay strong in net, the Canucks will be in good position when forwards David Booth and Ryan Kesler return from injury.
Last Week’s Ranking: 1
This Week’s Schedule: @Columbus, @Nashville, @Chicago
Breakdown: After being the cream of the NHL crop for the first few weeks of the season, the San Jose Sharks have gone winless in their last 4 games. While the Sharks offense was overpowering during early on this year, it has since cooled off and the team has only been able to score 5 goals in their past 4 games. After starting off the season as an early Hart Trophy candidate, Patrick Marleau has hit a wall, going scoreless in the teams last 5 games. Luckily for the Sharks goaltender Antti Niemi is continuing to play excellent and net and should be able to keep the Sharks in most games until their offense wakes back up.
Last Week’s Ranking: 6
This Week’s Schedule: @Chicago, @Detroit, @Nashville
Breakdown: The Anaheim Ducks continue to look good every night on the ice behind a sensational offense that averages 3.36 goals per game. On a team filled with superstar forwards, it is veterans Teemu Selanne and Saku Koivu that lead the team in scoring, combining for 27 points through the teams first 11 games. While Jonas Hiller continues to struggle in net, backup goaltender Viktor Fasth has earned an unblemished 5-0-0 record while compiling a 1.72 GAA / .932 SV%.
Last Week’s Ranking: 10
This Week’s Schedule: Carolina, Philadelphia, @NY Islanders
Breakdown: The New Jersey Devils have climbed atop the Atlantic Division standings, riding a 5 game winning streak and looking even better than they did when they made it to the Stanley Cup Finals last season. During their winning streak, the Devils are outscoring opponents by a combined score of 16-5, including holding the Penguins to just 1 goal in each game they played. The Devils spectacular defense combined with the efforts of goaltenders Johan Hedberg and Martin Brodeur is holding opponents to only 1.92 goals per game on average. Forward David Clarkson has been spectacular for the Devils offensively, scoring 15 points (9G 6A) through the teams first 12 games.
Last Week’s Ranking: 4
This Week’s Schedule: NY Rangers, @Buffalo, @Winnipeg
Breakdown: The Boston Bruins have used their impressive defense and goaltender to climb to the top of the Northeast Division standings early on this season. Goaltender Tuukka Rask is currently sitting on a 1.96 GAA / .922 SV% while playing in front of an outstanding defense. The Bruins power play still sits at a questionable 10.3%, but if they continue to keep opponents scoring low then it won’t be a problem. Forward David Krejci is starting to heat up for the Bruins, scoring 5 points (2G 3A) in the team’s last 5 games.
Last Week’s Ranking: 2
This Week’s Schedule: Anaheim, San Jose, Los Angeles
Breakdown: Three weeks into the NHL season and the Chicago Blackhawks remain as the only team to have not lost in regulation. The Blackhawks are playing outstanding all around hockey and are currently top 5 in the NHL in both goals scored per game (3.42) and goals allowed per game (1.92). Forward Patrick Kane has been playing out of his mind, scoring 19 points (9G 10A) through the teams first 12 games this season. The Blackhawks will face two more tough tests this week as they host the Ducks and Sharks. However considering how well Corey Crawford has been playing, they may very well remain undefeated until next week.
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