Updated Feb. 25, 2013
Six weeks into the NHL season and the Chicago Blackhawks still remain undefeated in regulation and atop the THW NHL power rankings. However, the Anaheim Ducks are breathing down the Blackhawks’ necks just waiting for them to falter. Clearly the Blackhawks and Ducks are the cream of the crop at the moment, but how did the rest of the league fare this week?
Check back every Monday for updated Power Rankings!
30. Columbus Blue Jackets (5-12-2)
Last Week’s Ranking: 30
This Week’s Schedule: Dallas, @Chicago, Colorado
Breakdown: Although they were able to give the Chicago Blackhawks a scare on Sunday, the Columbus Blue Jackets still remain in the gutter and have lost 5 of 6 games overall. There is a bit of good news for the Blue Jackets however, forward Artem Anisimov is said to only be day-to-day with an upper body injury after a brutal hit sent him to the hospital this past week. Considering they are only scoring 2.05 goals per game, the fact that they won’t be without Anisimov for a long time is a huge blessing.
29. Buffalo Sabres (6-12-1)
Last Week’s Ranking: 25
This Week’s Schedule: @Tampa Bay, @Florida, New Jersey, @NY Rangers
Breakdown: In the midst of a 4 game losing streak and already in the basement of the Northeast Division, the Buffalo Sabres made headlines this week when they fired their longtime head coach Lindy Ruff. In the post-Ruff era thus far the Sabres have continued to look abysmal and have been able to score only 5 goals during their last 4 games. After carrying the bulk of the offensive load for the first 3 weeks of the season, forward Thomas Vanek has gone cold, scoring only 2 points in his last 7 games.
28. Florida Panthers (5-9-4)
Last Week’s Ranking: 27
This Week’s Schedule: Pittsburgh, Buffalo, @Carolina, Carolina
Breakdown: And just like that, the Florida Panther season is starting to fall apart right before our eyes. Although the team has seen great production from rookies Jonathan Huberdeau, Jacob Markstrom and Drew Shore, the rest of the Panthers’ squad has been a rag tag group of underachievers resulting in the Panthers losing 7 of their last 8 games. The poster boy for the Panthers’ failures this season has been Stephen Weiss who looks as if he may be on the way out of Florida after being benched during the 3rd period of Sunday’s game against the Bruins. Weiss has been lackadaisical in his shifts all season, accumulating only 4 points in 14 games played.
27. San Jose Sharks (8-6-3)
Last Week’s Ranking: 23
This Week’s Schedule: Colorado, Detroit, Nashville
Breakdown: The San Jose Sharks continue to tumble down the standings as the team falls deeper into despair, losing 9 of their last 10 games. The Sharks’ once might offense is setting a new standard for ineptitude, scoring only 7 goals in their past 7 games and looking absolutely hopeless at times. Although all of their forwards have been unproductive, I will highlight Logan Couture who has recorded only 1 point in his last 8 games this season.
26. Colorado Avalanche (7-8-1)
Last Week’s Ranking: 28
This Week’s Schedule: @San Jose, Calgary, @Columbus
Breakdown: Buried under injuries and a very public soap opera with forward Ryan O’Reilly, the Colorado Avalanche have still managed to win 3 of their last 6 games. During those 6 games the Avalanche have had a very prosperous power play, converting on 5 of 18 (28%) chances when up a man. The Avalanche were happy to welcome back Captain Gabriel Landeskog who had missed almost a month due to concussion – he has compiled 1 point in 2 games back thus far.
25. Edmonton Oilers (7-7-3)
Last Week’s Ranking: 17
This Week’s Schedule: @Chicago, @Dallas, @St. Louis, @Minnesota
Breakdown: Even with their vast arsenal of talented young scorers, the Edmonton Oilers have yet to find sustained success this season, losing 3 of their last 5 games. On a team known for their offense, it has been the Oilers’ penalty kill that has been shining during recent games – killing opponents power plays 24 out of their last 26 chances or 92% of the time. After a stellar rookie campaign, forward Ryan Nugent-Hopkins has hit a bit of a sophomore slump this season, compiling only 7 points (1G 6A) through 16 games played.
24. New York Islanders (8-10-1)
Last Week’s Ranking: 19
This Week’s Schedule: Boston, Toronto, Ottawa
Breakdown: Even with two of the most talented scorers in the NHL at their disposal, the New York Islanders have lost 3 of 5 games and look like the same team that we’ve always known. Even though John Tavares (25 points) and Matt Moulson (23 points) are one of the best scoring duo’s in the NHL, the Islanders still can’t seem to keep the puck out of their own net to support their high powered offense. The Islanders are currently allowing 3.37 goals per game on average and with former punchline Rick DiPietro now in the AHL, there are no more excuses.
23. Washington Capitals (6-10-1)
Last Week’s Ranking: 26
This Week’s Schedule: Carolina, @Philadelphia, @Winnipeg
Breakdown: The Washington Capitals are finally starting to find some consistency, winning 3 of their last 6 games. During those 6 games the Capitals’ power play has been spectacular, converting on 8 of 17 opportunities or 47% of the time. Alexander Ovechkin looked like his old self during the Capitals 5-1 victory over the New Jersey Devils on Saturday – recording his first hat-trick in over 2 years.
22. Tampa Bay Lightning (9-8-1)
Last Week’s Ranking: 22
This Week’s Schedule: Buffalo, @NY Rangers, @Boston
Breakdown: Even though they aren’t the juggernaut that they looked like at the beginning of the season, the Tampa Bay Lightning are looking better and have won 3 of 5 games. The Lightning’s offense continues to be dominant, scoring 20 goals in their past 5 games or 4.00 goals per game. Superstar forward Steven Stamkos has been spearheading the Tampa Bay offense, compiling 11 points (6G 5A) in his last 5 games. However, the Lightning still can’t seem to keep opponents off the board, allowing 3.06 goals per game on average this season.
21. Winnipeg Jets (8-9-1)
Last Week’s Ranking: 29
This Week’s Schedule: @NY Rangers, New Jersey, Washington
Breakdown: The Winnipeg Jets have won 3 of 4 games, including an impressive win against the New Jersey Devils on Sunday. In those 4 games the Jets penalty kill looked much improved, killing off opponents power play 79% of the time and were only really ousted by the Philadelphia Flyers. On offense, forward Evander Kane has been playing very well – earning a point in 7 straight games.
20. Minnesota Wild (8-7-2)
Last Week’s Ranking: 15
This Week’s Schedule: Calgary, @Phoenix, @Anaheim, Edmonton
Breakdown: After impressive wins over Detroit and Edmonton, the Minnesota Wild were stifled by the Calgary Flames on Saturday, but have still won 3 of their last 6 games overall. In their last 6 games the Wild’s power play has been terrible, converting on only 1 of 17 chances when up a man. In net, Goaltender Niklas Backstrom has been fantastic – winning 3 of his last 5 games while allowing only 8 goals and stopping 128 of 136 shots faced.
19. Nashville Predators (8-6-5)
Last Week’s Ranking: 11
This Week’s Schedule: Dallas, @Anaheim, @San Jose
Breakdown: The Nashville Predators have lost 4 of their last 5 games as the team continues to search for ways to put the puck in the net. The offensively challenged Predators have been shutout in their past 2 games and forward David Legwand only has 1 point in his last 6 games played. One reason for the Preds’ offensive woes has been their inability to score on the power playing, converting only 9% of their opportunities during their last 9 games.
18. Philadelphia Flyers (9-10-1)
Last Week’s Ranking: 24
This Week’s Schedule: Toronto, Washington, Ottawa
Breakdown: The Philadelphia Flyers have won 3 of their last 6 games behind consistently great showings from their offense. In their past 4 games the Flyers have scored 20 goals and are finally starting to put up the kind of scoring numbers that they did last season. Forward Jakub Voracek has been playing out of his mind in recent games, scoring 11 points (3G 8A) in his past 4 games.
17. Calgary Flames (7-7-3)
Last Week’s Ranking: 18
This Week’s Schedule: @Minnesota, @Colorado, Vancouver
Breakdown: The Calgary Flames continue to play above people’s expectations en route to winning 3 of their last 5 games. Amazingly, the Flames have been able to win games without any help from their power play, which has converted only 1 of their last 15 opportunities. Goaltender Joey MacDonald has performed surprisingly well recently, winning 3 of his last 4 starts while stopping 110 of 121 shots faced.
16. St. Louis Blues (10-6-2)
Last Week’s Ranking: 12
This Week’s Schedule: Chicago, Edmonton, @Dallas
Breakdown: After winning 3 straight games the St. Louis Blues have stumbled, losing 2 of their last 3 games against questionable opponents – the San Jose Sharks and Colorado Avalanche. In those 3 games, the Blues’ offense has been abysmal, only being able to score 3 total goals. Luckily for the Blues however, goaltender Jaroslav Halak has been spectacular since returning from injury. In his 2 starts since returning from injury, Halak has only allowed 2 goals and stopped 38 of 40 shots faced.
15. New Jersey Devils (10-5-4)
Last Week’s Ranking: 7
This Week’s Schedule: @Winnipeg, @Buffalo
Breakdown: The New Jersey Devils have lost 4 of their last 5 games, including 2 against teams from the less than stellar Southeast Division. In those 5 games the Devils have been outscored 18-8 and have struggled to score in almost every game. After being one of the best offensive weapons on the teams for the early part of the season, forward David Clarkson has only been able to compile 1 point in his last 5 games.
14. New York Rangers (8-7-2)
Last Week’s Ranking: 10
This Week’s Schedule: Winnipeg, Tampa Bay, Buffalo
Breakdown: After looking like they were finally getting into form, the New York Rangers have since lost 4 of 5 games. In those 5 games the Rangers offense has been non-existent, scoring only 8 goals or 1.60 goals per game. However, even with their offense in the gutter, forward Rick Nash has still managed to get a point in his last 4 games.
13. Phoenix Coyotes (8-7-3)
Last Week’s Ranking: 13
This Week’s Schedule: @Vancouver, Minnesota, Anaheim
Breakdown: Although their offense has been much improved in recent games, the Phoenix Coyotes have still lost 3 of their last 5 games. In their last 4 games the Coyotes’ offense has been clicking – scoring 15 goals or 3.75 goals per game. Defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson is now tied for the team lead in points with 12 including a spectacular 4 points in his last 2 games alone.
12. Dallas Stars (9-8-1)
Last Week’s Ranking: 14
This Week’s Schedule: @Nashville, @Columbus, Edmonton, St. Louis
Breakdown: After an impressive 4 game winning streak – including a win over the 1st place Anaheim Ducks – the Dallas Stars have since fallen back to earth, losing 3 of their last 5 games. In those 5 games the Stars’ Achilles heel has been their penalty kill – stopping opponents power play only 17 of 22 times or roughly 77% of the time. On offense, forward Michael Ryder is on a hot streak, obtaining a point in his last 5 straight games.
11. Carolina Hurricanes (9-7-1)
Last Week’s Ranking: 5
This Week’s Schedule: @Washington, Pittsburgh, Florida, @Florida
Breakdown: Well it looks as if I was a bit too eager to jump on the Hurricanes’ bandwagon last week as the team went on to lose 3 of their next 4 games. In those 4 games the Hurricanes were outscored 14-9 as they struggled to keep opponents off of the scoreboard. Goaltender Cam Ward is still trying to regain his old form while losing 2 of his past 3 starts with a 3.00 GAA / .892 SV%.
10. Detroit Red Wings (9-7-3)
Last Week’s Ranking: 16
This Week’s Schedule: @Los Angeles, @San Jose, Chicago
Breakdown: After losing 5 games in a row, the Detroit Red Wings have won 2 straight games while outscoring opponents 12-3 in that time. The Red Wings continue to be a streaky team as they look to find sustained success, but their recent offensive explosion should make fans happy. Defenseman Niklas Kronwall has been an offensive juggernaut recently, scoring 6 points (2G 4A) during the team’s 2 most recent wins.
9. Los Angeles Kings (8-6-2)
Last Week’s Ranking: 20
This Week’s Schedule: Anaheim, Detroit, @Vancouver
Breakdown: After starting the season ice cold, the Los Angeles Kings are finally beginning to heat up – winning 5 of their last 6 games. Defense and goaltending have been the Kings’ strongest assets during their last 6 games, allowing opponents to score only 8 goals or 1.33 goals per game. In his last 3 starts goaltender Jonathan Quick has allowed only 5 goals while stopping 80 of 85 shots faced.
8. Toronto Maple Leafs (11-8-0)
Last Week’s Ranking: 8
This Week’s Schedule: @Philadelphia, Montreal, @NY Islanders
Breakdown: The Toronto Maple Leafs have held steady in recent games, winning 3 of their last 5 contests. The Maple Leafs’ penalty kill has been spectacular over their last 5 games – killing off power plays 94% of the time. James van Riemsdyk continues to do well offensively - currently the team leader in points and compiling 5 points in his last 5 games played.
7. Ottawa Senators (11-6-2)
Last Week’s Ranking: 21
This Week’s Schedule: Montreal, @Boston, @Philadelphia, @NY Islanders
Breakdown: It seems the rumors of the Ottawa Senators’ demise were in fact greatly exaggerated as the team has been able to go 4-1-0 since losing superstar Erik Karlsson for the season with a severed Achilles tendon. Luckily for Senators’ fans Vezina worthy goaltender Craig Anderson won’t be an addition to the mountain of injured skaters as his sprained ankle shouldn’t keep him off of the ice for too long. On offense, forward Colin Greening has been a nice surprise recently, scoring 5 points (2G 3A) in his last 3 games.
6. Vancouver Canucks (10-4-4)
Last Week’s Ranking: 6
This Week’s Schedule: Phoenix, Los Angeles, @Calgary
Breakdown: After a 6 game winning streak propelled them back into the spotlight, the Vancouver Canucks have fallen on hard times, losing 4 of their last 6 games – including a 8-3 beat down at the hands of the Detroit Red Wings on Sunday. Luckily for the Canucks, in 2 of those 4 losses they were able to salvage 1 point in overtime. Henrik Sedin has been stellar for the Canucks recently, compiling 9 points (2G 7A) in his last 6 games.
5. Montreal Canadiens (12-4-2)
Last Week’s Ranking: 9
This Week’s Schedule: @Ottawa, @Toronto, Pittsburgh, @Boston
Breakdown: Over a month into the season and it looks like the Montreal Canadiens may really be the real deal – winning 6 of their last 7 games. Without an exceptional power play, the Canadiens have still managed to score 21 goals in their last 7 games or 3.00 goals per game. Much of the Canadiens’ recent offensive success can be attributed to the play of forward Max Pacioretty who has 7 points (4G 3A) in his last 5 games.
4. Pittsburgh Penguins (13-6-0)
Last Week’s Ranking: 3
This Week’s Schedule: @Florida, @Carolina, @Montreal
Breakdown: The Pittsburgh Penguins continue to stay hot this season, winning 5 of their last 6 games. The Penguins’ power play has been sensational over their last 5 games, converting on 6 of 20 opportunities, or 30% of the time. As expected, Sidney Crosby has been leading the Penguins offensively, totaling 8 points (3G 5A) over his last 5 games.
3. Boston Bruins (11-2-2)
Last Week’s Ranking: 4
This Week’s Schedule: @NY Islanders, Ottawa, Tampa Bay, Montreal
Breakdown: After dropping 2 games in a row, the Boston Bruins have once again heated up and have won 3 straight games. Throughout the past few weeks the Bruins have been a model of consistency, recording points in 7 of their last 8 games with their only bad loss coming against a weak Buffalo Sabres squad. In their past 4 games the Bruins’ special teams unit was spectacular as their power play converted 75% of their opportunities and their penalty killing unit stopped 100% of opponents chances. In his past 3 starts, goaltender Tuukka Rask has only allowed 5 goals and stopped 80 of 85 shots faced.
2. Anaheim Ducks (12-2-1)
Last Week’s Ranking: 2
This Week’s Schedule: @Los Angeles, Nashville, Minnesota, @Phoenix
Breakdown: Even though the Chicago Blackhawks have yet to lose a game in regulation, it is not crazy to think that the Anaheim Ducks have been equally as impressive so far this season. Other than the Blackhawks, the Ducks are the hottest team in the NHL – winning 10 of their last 11 games and scoring and impressive 3.27 goals per game on average this season. Although the Ducks can get their goals from a wide variety of skaters on any given night, forward Ryan Getzlaf has been great lately – earning 5 points (2G 3A) in his last 4 games.
1. Chicago Blackhawks (15-0-3)
Last Week’s Ranking: 1
This Week’s Schedule: Edmonton, @St. Louis, Columbus, @Detroit
Breakdown: After a brief and surprising scare at the hands of the Columbus Blue Jackets, the Chicago Blackhawks once again were able to capture victory and remain the only team to have not lost in regulation this season. In net, both starter Corey Crawford and backup Ray Emery have been fantastic for the Hawks. Over a month into the season and Crawford still looks like a possible Vezina candidate – compiling an 8-0-3 records with a 1.50 GAA / .941 SV%.