NHL Power Rankings Through 20-25 Games

American Thanksgiving has come and gone, and now we can start putting more and more stock in the NHL standings as they pertain to Power Rankings.

The numbers don’t lie and, historically, if teams are occupying a playoff spot at this stage — at American Thanksgiving — they have a 78.4 per cent chance of making the postseason.

Conversely, the teams currently on the outside looking in will face an uphill battle the rest of the way, with long playoff odds — only three or maybe four will rally to make it.

At least that’s been the case since the salary-cap era began in 2005-06, with just 38 teams defying the odds over the last 12 seasons — including Toronto, Boston and Calgary last season, replacing Tampa Bay, New Jersey and Los Angeles from the fourth Thursday in November.

The latter three are looking like playoff locks again through the first quarter of this season. Toronto and Calgary are off to better starts, while Boston is among that group with ground to make up going forward.

However, with 12 teams separated by a mere eight points in the Eastern Conference and 12 teams separated by a measly five points in the West when this year’s holiday arrived, there could be more exceptions than usual to the American Thanksgiving playoff rule.

In saying that, this old adage still applies: ‘Your record is what it says you are’ or ‘your team is what the standings say it is’ — be it good or bad.

The sample size is big enough now to say, with a degree of certainty, that the good teams of today will be the good teams of tomorrow and also of April when the postseason rolls around. Ditto for the not-so-good and flat-out bad teams of today.

Until this point, the Power Rankings — through five-, 10- and 15-game segments — have been a hybrid between results to date and expectations over 82 games. Sometimes still leaning towards my preseason predictions which, admittedly, are getting more embarrassing with every passing day, week and month.

As the calendar continues to progress, the standings become more and more telling and gradually paint the playoff picture. In the meantime, those projections from the outset become less and less relevant.

Nevertheless, as of Nov. 27, here’s how I see the 31 teams stacking up — my Power Rankings through 20 to 25 games:

1) St. Louis Blues




LAST 5 GAMES RECORD: 4-1-0-0 — 6-3 win over Minnesota, 2-0 loss to Nashville, 8-3 win over Edmonton, 4-3 overtime win over Vancouver, 4-1 win over Edmonton

NEXT 5 GAMES SCHEDULE: Home to Anaheim on Wednesday, home to Los Angeles on Friday, at Minnesota on Saturday, at Montreal on Dec. 5, home to Dallas on Dec. 7

ANALYSIS: Topping the overall standings — though Tampa has a game in hand — and now topping my Power Rankings, St. Louis is legit. I hadn’t watched this team closely until I tuned in to see the Blues tune up the Oilers twice, and while Edmonton is bad, St. Louis is definitely good. Powered by arguably the league’s top line and boasting the highest-scoring defence group, the Blues are a force to be reckoned with this season. I’m a believer now.

2) Tampa Bay Lightning




LAST 5 GAMES RECORD: 2-3-0-0 — 5-2 loss to Pittsburgh, 3-1 loss to Washington, 3-2 overtime win over Chicago, 5-3 loss to New York Islanders, 6-1 win over Dallas

NEXT 5 GAMES SCHEDULE: At Buffalo on Tuesday, at Boston on Wednesday, home to San Jose on Saturday, home to New York Islanders on Dec. 5, home to Colorado on Dec. 7

ANALYSIS: Finally, some adversity for the current Stanley Cup favourite, with Tampa Bay losing three of its last four after winning five in a row. This blip shouldn’t last long, with Buffalo looking like the perfect slump-buster, but it was enough to bump the Lightning from top spot in these Power Rankings — a spot that Tampa had held through five, 10 and 15 games.

3) Nashville Predators




LAST 5 GAMES RECORD: 4-0-0-1 — 4-3 shootout loss to Carolina, 2-0 win over St. Louis, 3-2 shootout win over Montreal, 5-3 win over Winnipeg, 5-2 win over Colorado

NEXT 5 GAMES SCHEDULE: Home to Chicago on Tuesday, home to Vancouver on Thursday, home to Anaheim on Saturday, home to Boston on Dec. 4, at Dallas on Dec. 5

ANALYSIS: Despite having a four-game winning streak halted in a skills competition, with backup Juuse Saros in net on Sunday, Nashville is looking like a team that could go all the way again — primed for another long playoff run, with the addition of Kyle Turris paying immediate dividends. The Predators are the early winners in that three-team trade, and with Ryan Ellis expected back from injury within the next month, Nashville is on the verge of getting another ringer. Filip Forsberg is on fire and Ryan Johansen is heating up too, so David Poile has to be pumped about the potential of his team going forward.

4) Vegas Golden Knights

LAST RANKED: 15 (+11)



LAST 5 GAMES RECORD: 5-0-0-0 — 4-2 win over Arizona, 5-4 overtime win over San Jose, 4-2 win over Anaheim, 4-2 win over Los Angeles, 5-2 win over Vancouver

NEXT 5 GAMES SCHEDULE: Home to Dallas on Tuesday, at Minnesota on Thursday, at Winnipeg on Friday, home to Arizona on Sunday, home to Anaheim on Dec. 5

ANALYSIS: I’ve said it before, then doubted it briefly, but Vegas is for real — reeling off five straight wins over Pacific Division rivals. Nobody, not even Bill Foley, had the expansion Golden Knights topping the division standings with games in hand at American Thanksgiving. This club ceases to amaze no matter who is in net — for the record, Malcolm Subban is back between the pipes, taking over for injured fourth-stringer Max Lagace. It’s been a miraculous start to their inaugural season, but now it’s getting to the point where playoffs are absolutely a possibility for the Golden Knights, and George McPhee may have to rethink the seller’s approach on James Neal, David Perron and others. Vegas might be a buyer — a win-now team. Simply stunning!

5) Columbus Blue Jackets

LAST RANKED: 19 (+14)



LAST 5 GAMES RECORD: 5-0-0-0 — 5-2 win over Ottawa, 1-0 overtime win over Calgary, 3-2 win over Buffalo, 2-0 win over New York Rangers, 2-1 overtime win over Montreal

NEXT 5 GAMES SCHEDULE: At Montreal on Monday, home to Carolina on Tuesday, home to Anaheim on Friday, at Washington on Saturday, home to New Jersey on Dec. 5

ANALYSIS: Riding a league-high six-game winning streak dating back to a 2-1 shootout decision over Detroit on Nov. 11, the Blue Jackets are backstopped by the league’s best goalie in Sergei Bobrovsky, who has to be the Vezina favourite as of today. Columbus’ offence is still a work in progress, but John Tortorella’s team is finding ways to win, thanks in large part to Bobrovsky — much like it did during last season’s 16-game winning streak that stretched from Nov. 29 to Jan. 3. That run will be tough to replicate — it was one win shy of an NHL record, set by Pittsburgh in the 1992-93 season — but Columbus is rolling again right now.

6) Winnipeg Jets




LAST 5 GAMES RECORD: 3-2-0-0 — 4-0 loss to San Jose, 4-1 win over Anaheim, 2-1 win over Los Angeles, 5-3 loss to Nashville, 5-2 win over New Jersey

NEXT 5 GAMES SCHEDULE: Home to Minnesota on Monday, at Colorado on Wednesday, home to Vegas on Friday, home to Ottawa on Sunday, at Detroit on Dec. 5

ANALYSIS: Coming off a difficult stretch where Winnipeg fared relatively well, the Jets will look to take off again now. Not much to say about this team, but likes to like. A treat to watch, with Kyle Connor fitting in on the top line and all four lines contributing offensively. Connor Hellebuyck is still going strong in goal and Tyler Myers is in the conversation for comeback player of the year at this point. It’s going to get colder in Manitoba, but the Jets may not cool off any time soon.

7) New Jersey Devils

LAST RANKED: 10 (+3)



LAST 5 GAMES RECORD: 3-1-0-1 — 4-3 overtime win over Detroit, 3-2 win over Vancouver, 3-2 shootout loss to Boston, 4-3 overtime win over Minnesota, 5-2 loss to Winnipeg

NEXT 5 GAMES SCHEDULE: Home to Florida on Monday, at Colorado on Friday, at Arizona on Saturday, at Columbus on Dec. 5, home to Columbus on Dec. 8

ANALYSIS: With points in four straight, including three wins, the Devils just won’t go away. They are sticking around the top of the Metropolitan Division — presently leading that pack — and lingering near the top of the overall standings as well. Taylor Hall and Nico Hischier have a good thing going in New Jersey, sparking the league’s worst offence from last season and giving Cory Schneider more than enough run support on most nights. Not as shocking as Vegas, but New Jersey continues to be a pleasant surprise this season.

8) New York Rangers




LAST 5 GAMES RECORD: 4-1-0-0 — 4-3 shootout win over Vancouver, 2-1 overtime win over Detroit, 6-1 win over Carolina, 3-0 win over Ottawa, 2-0 loss to Chicago

NEXT 5 GAMES SCHEDULE: Home to Florida on Tuesday, home to Carolina on Friday, at Pittsburgh on Dec. 5, at Washington on Dec. 8, home to New Jersey on Dec. 9

ANALYSIS: The Metro has been flexing its muscle again lately — as evidenced by this edition of the Power Rankings — with the two New York teams almost interchangeable right now. The Rangers have won four in a row overall and eight straight at home dating back to that terrorist attack in Lower Manhattan on Halloween. Henrik Lundqvist and his teammates rallied back that day — perhaps saving Alain Vigneault’s job — and have been a different team ever since. There are more tough tests ahead, with some key divisional games on the horizon, but the Rangers have definitely been a top-10 team in November with a 9-2-0-0 record. They’ll try to close out a 10-win month on Tuesday when hosting lowly Florida.

9) New York Islanders

LAST RANKED: 14 (+5)



LAST 5 GAMES RECORD: 4-1-0-0 — 2-1 win over Ottawa, 5-4 overtime win over Philadelphia, 4-3 overtime win over Philadelphia, 4-2 loss to Carolina, 5-3 win over Tampa Bay

NEXT 5 GAMES SCHEDULE: Home to Vancouver on Tuesday, home to Ottawa on Friday, at Florida on Dec. 4, at Tampa Bay on Dec. 5, at Pittsburgh on Dec. 7

ANALYSIS: Dougie Weight has the Islanders scoring in bunches, from Josh Bailey and Jordan Eberle to John Tavares and Matt Barzal. Nick Leddy has been lighting it up from the back end too. Goaltending remains somewhat of a concern, with Thomas Greiss and Jaroslav Halak a middle-of-the-pack tandem at best, but the Islanders have been able to outscore their opposition as of late. This might be the highest they climb all season in the Power Rankings but, in saying that, the Islanders don’t seem to be plateauing just yet.

10) Washington Capitals

LAST RANKED: 13 (+3)



LAST 5 GAMES RECORD: 4-1-0-0 — 4-2 win over Toronto, 3-1 win over Tampa Bay, 5-2 win over Ottawa, 4-1 loss to Calgary, 3-1 win over Minnesota

NEXT 5 GAMES SCHEDULE: Home to Los Angeles on Thursday, home to Columbus on Saturday, home to San Jose on Dec. 4, home to Chicago on Dec. 6, home to New York Rangers on Dec. 8

ANALYSIS: More Metro power, with the Capitals coming off impressive wins over the Atlantic’s best teams. Barry Trotz recently reunited Nicklas Backstrom with Alex Ovechkin and that dynamic duo has been leading Washington’s resurgence, with Ovechkin now leading the league in goals again thanks to his 20th career hat trick — surpassing Petr Bondra for the franchise record, while also overtaking Mike Bossy at 21st on the all-time goals list with 576 total. The return of Matt Niskanen on defence has also helped the Capitals and Braden Holtby continues to be rock solid in goal. Washington will start a five-game homestand on Thursday and is in the midst of playing nine of 10 at home, with the exception of Saturday’s road win in Toronto.

11) Toronto Maple Leafs




LAST 5 GAMES RECORD: 2-2-0-1 — 4-2 loss to Washington, 5-4 win over Carolina, 2-1 shootout loss to Florida, 4-1 loss to Arizona, 6-0 win over Montreal

NEXT 5 GAMES SCHEDULE: At Calgary on Tuesday, at Edmonton on Thursday, at Vancouver on Saturday, home to Calgary on Dec. 6, at Pittsburgh on Dec. 9

ANALYSIS: A couple losses to lesser teams, the Leafs just aren’t playing all that well since smoking Montreal. If not for Frederik Andersen, Toronto could be on a four-game losing skid. This week’s Western Canada road trip could be good or bad for Mike Babcock and the Leafs, but it should be telling in terms of where Toronto stands. Auston Matthews has been pretty quiet lately, so he should be due for a breakout game sooner than later. This team is still learning on the fly, but the Leafs should trend up again — back into the top 10.

12) San Jose Sharks




LAST 5 GAMES RECORD: 2-1-1-1 — 4-0 win over Winnipeg, 5-4 overtime loss to Vegas, 3-1 win over Arizona, 3-2 shootout loss to Anaheim, 3-1 loss to Boston

NEXT 5 GAMES SCHEDULE: At Philadelphia on Tuesday, at Florida on Friday, at Tampa Bay on Saturday, at Washington on Dec. 4, home to Carolina on Dec. 7

ANALYSIS: Brent Burns is on the board — finally scoring his first goal of the season in his 21st game — and he’s got points in three straight. If Burns can become an impact player again, that obviously bodes well for San Jose’s playoff chances as the season progresses. The three California teams are tough to rank, but the Sharks appear to be playing the best of that bunch in the present. San Jose does have the best record of the three in the month of November at 6-3-1-1, while Los Angeles has slumped to 4-6-2-0 and Anaheim is also hanging around .500 at 4-5-1-2.

13) Los Angeles Kings




LAST 5 GAMES RECORD: 2-2-1-0 — 2-1 shootout win over Anaheim, 3-2 overtime loss to Arizona, 2-1 loss to Winnipeg, 4-2 loss to Vegas, 4-0 win over Florida

NEXT 5 GAMES SCHEDULE: At Detroit on Tuesday, at Washington on Thursday, at St. Louis on Friday, at Chicago on Sunday, home to Minnesota on Dec. 5

ANALYSIS: The Kings have been skidding with just two wins and five points from their last nine games (2-6-1-0). Many felt Vegas would fall off in November, but instead it has been Los Angeles that hasn’t been able to sustain its strong start from October (9-2-1-0). Jonathan Quick hasn’t been as good this month and the Kings are clearly missing Jeff Carter. Rob Blake has been tweaking L.A.’s forward depth, moving Mike Cammalleri for Jussi Jokinen and also acquiring Torrey Mitchell from Montreal for a middle-round pick, but those additions won’t make much difference. The Kings need Anze Kopitar to be a difference-maker again — he hasn’t had a multipoint performance in nine games now, with only two goals over that span.

14) Chicago Blackhawks

LAST RANKED: 20 (+6)



LAST 5 GAMES RECORD: 3-1-1-0 — 4-1 win over Florida, 3-2 overtime loss to Tampa Bay, 2-1 win over Pittsburgh, 6-3 win over New York Rangers, 7-5 loss to New Jersey

NEXT 5 GAMES SCHEDULE: Home to Anaheim on Monday, at Nashville on Tuesday, home to Dallas on Thursday, at Dallas on Saturday, home to Los Angeles on Sunday

ANALYSIS: The Blackhawks will be busy with a rare five-game week starting tonight, but busy is good when things are going well. Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews and Corey Crawford have been leading the charge as per usual, with Chicago earning points in four straight, including three victories. That has eased the stress level for Joel Quenneville, but this will be a tough stretch for the Blackhawks and they’ll need all hands on deck for a winning week.

15) Dallas Stars

LAST RANKED: 12 (-3)



LAST 5 GAMES RECORD: 3-2-0-0 — 6-4 win over Calgary, 3-0 loss to Colorado, 3-1 win over Montreal, 6-3 win over Edmonton, 6-1 loss to Tampa Bay

NEXT 5 GAMES SCHEDULE: At Vegas on Tuesday, at Chicago on Thursday, home to Chicago on Saturday, at Colorado on Sunday, home to Nashville on Dec. 5

ANALYSIS: Dallas has a hard week ahead too, including a home-and-home with Chicago. The Stars are still struggling with consistency under Ken Hitchcock, but they are proving potent on their good nights. Splitting up Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin — playing them on separate lines at even strength — has helped balance the offence, though Benn is pointless in his last three while Seguin is coming off a hat trick. If Ben Bishop can string together some quality starts, Dallas should eventually get on a roll. The Stars still have the makings of a contender, and surely that of a top-10 team.

16) Calgary Flames

LAST RANKED: 11 (-5)



LAST 5 GAMES RECORD: 3-1-1-0 — 3-2 win over Colorado, 6-4 loss to Dallas, 1-0 overtime loss to Columbus, 4-1 win over Washington, 5-4 overtime win over Philadelphia

NEXT 5 GAMES SCHEDULE: Home to Toronto on Tuesday, home to Arizona on Thursday, home to Edmonton on Saturday, home to Philadelphia on Dec. 4, at Toronto on Dec. 6

ANALYSIS: A case can certainly be made for Calgary to be ranked a couple spots higher — or even a handful — with the Flames falling five places through no real wrongdoing of their own. Would Calgary beat San Jose and/or Los Angeles in a seven-game series starting tomorrow? It’s entirely possible, especially with the way Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan have been filling the net lately and essentially all season. Perhaps the Flames and Kings should be swapped here, but we’ll see how Calgary fares in its two games against Toronto and in the second installment of the Battle of Alberta after getting blanked by Edmonton in their season opener. That will be a barnburner at the Saddledome on Saturday.

17) Vancouver Canucks

LAST RANKED: 22 (+5)



LAST 5 GAMES RECORD: 2-1-1-1 — 4-3 shootout loss to New York Rangers, 3-2 loss to New Jersey, 5-2 win over Pittsburgh, 5-2 win over Philadelphia, 4-3 overtime loss to St. Louis

NEXT 5 GAMES SCHEDULE: At New York Islanders on Tuesday, at Nashville on Thursday, home to Toronto on Saturday, home to Carolina on Dec. 5, home to Philadelphia on Dec. 7

ANALYSIS: The Canucks are competitive — you have to give them that — and Brock Boeser is rapidly replacing the Sedin twins as the face of Vancouver’s franchise. His goal-scoring ability seems to give the Canucks a fighting chance every night, almost like a poor man’s Patrik Laine in terms of what he did for Winnipeg as a rookie last season. Boeser might hit a wall at some point since he’s graduating from a shorter schedule in college, but there’s been no stopping him thus far. The Sedins have been productive again lately and Travis Green continues to press the right buttons in his first season as Vancouver’s bench boss. Are the Canucks overachieving in general? Probably, but they might be able to keep it going at this rate.

18) Pittsburgh Penguins




LAST 5 GAMES RECORD: 2-3-0-0 — 5-2 win over Tampa Bay, 4-3 loss to Boston, 5-2 loss to Vancouver, 2-1 loss to Chicago, 3-1 win over Ottawa

NEXT 5 GAMES SCHEDULE: Home to Philadelphia on Monday, at Buffalo on Friday, home to Buffalo on Saturday, home to New York Rangers on Dec. 5, home to New York Islanders on Dec. 7

ANALYSIS: The dreaded Stanley Cup hangover is still hindering the Penguins, but Sidney Crosby is showing signs of life with three goals and five points in Pittsburgh’s last two contests after recently going 11 games without a goal. Kris Letang is getting better too and Phil Kessel has been the Penguins’ best player so far, but they are without Evgeni Malkin at the moment and Matt Murray’s goaltending has been mediocre lately. Once this team starts firing on all cylinders — and it could happen this week — we’ll be back to talking about a potential three-peat.

19) Ottawa Senators

LAST RANKED: 3 (-16)



LAST 5 GAMES RECORD: 0-4-1-0 — 2-1 loss to New York Islanders, 5-2 loss to Columbus, 5-2 loss to Washington, 3-0 loss to New York Rangers, 3-2 overtime loss to Arizona

NEXT 5 GAMES SCHEDULE: At Montreal on Wednesday, at New York Islanders on Friday, at Winnipeg on Sunday, at Anaheim on Dec. 6, at Los Angeles on Dec. 7

ANALYSIS: On a six-game losing streak since returning from Sweden, it’s not going to get any easier for the Senators — now on a seven-game road trip while playing 10 of 11 away from home. Matt Duchene finally scored his first goal for Ottawa on Saturday — the team’s lone marker, on a power play — but that trade obviously hasn’t had the desired effect. Duchene didn’t have a single point in his first seven games for the Senators through Black Friday, with a combined minus-10 rating. He was a minus in each of those seven outings — an archaic but still telling stat. Duchene shouldn’t have to take Ottawa on his shoulders — Turris never carried that much weight — but he’s no doubt relieved to get that gorilla off his back. Erik Karlsson, Bobby Ryan and Craig Anderson, among others, also have to step it up for the Senators to have success on the road.

20) Anaheim Ducks

LAST RANKED: 21 (+1)



LAST 5 GAMES RECORD: 2-2-0-1 — 2-1 shootout loss to Los Angeles, 4-1 loss to Winnipeg, 4-2 loss to Vegas, 3-2 shootout win over San Jose, 3-2 win over Florida

NEXT 5 GAMES SCHEDULE: At Chicago on Monday, at St. Louis on Wednesday, at Columbus on Friday, at Nashville on Saturday, at Vegas on Dec. 5

ANALYSIS: The depleted Ducks, who are now also down Rickard Rakell, are doing admirable all things considered. Anaheim has been decimated by injuries from Day 1 and has yet to play a game with a fully healthy lineup — that probably won’t happen until around Christmas — but the Ducks have somehow managed to stay within striking distance of a playoff spot. Anaheim finally has its full defence — knock on wood — and that group, along with John Gibson in goal, will have to hold down the fort during a difficult six-game road trip that started with Saturday’s shootout loss in L.A. The Ducks are forging ahead without five of their top-nine forwards, as Rakell has joined Ryan Getzlaf, Ryan Kesler, Patrick Eaves and Ondrej Kase on the sidelines. That would cripple the vast majority of teams, but Anaheim has been surviving so far.

21) Minnesota Wild

LAST RANKED: 23 (+2)



LAST 5 GAMES RECORD: 2-2-1-0 — 6-3 loss to St. Louis, 3-2 shootout win over Colorado, 5-4 win over Buffalo, 4-3 overtime loss to New Jersey, 3-1 loss to Washington

NEXT 5 GAMES SCHEDULE: At Winnipeg on Monday, home to Vegas on Thursday, home to St. Louis on Saturday, at Los Angeles on Dec. 5, at Anaheim on Dec. 8

ANALYSIS: With the exception of Zach Parise — whose career could be in jeopardy — the Wild are healthy again and heating up in a hurry. Mikael Granlund and Nino Niederreiter are red-hot right now, and Charlie Coyle scored his first goal of the season against St. Louis in his fourth game back from injury. Minnesota has a deep forward group with a terrific top-four on defence, and Devan Dubnyk is capable of being one of the league’s best goalies too. So watch out for the Wild in the weeks to come.

22) Carolina Hurricanes

LAST RANKED: 24 (+2)



LAST 5 GAMES RECORD: 3-2-0-0 — 4-3 shootout win over Nashville, 5-4 loss to Toronto, 6-1 loss to New York Rangers, 4-2 win over New York Islanders, 3-1 win over Buffalo

NEXT 5 GAMES SCHEDULE: At Columbus on Tuesday, at New York Rangers on Friday, home to Florida on Saturday, at Vancouver on Dec. 5, at San Jose on Dec. 7

ANALYSIS: The Hurricanes have been hard to get a read on, but there are some encouraging signs here too. Bill Peters still seems to be doing a good job of coaching this club, but Carolina still can’t seem to get the saves it needs from the goaltending tandem of Scott Darling and Cam Ward. That has been the Achilles’ heel for the Hurricanes in recent years and this season has been no different to date. Playing eight of their next nine on the road, Carolina will need consistency in net since Peters won’t be getting his preferred matchups. This could be a make-or-break stretch for the Hurricanes.

23) Boston Bruins

LAST RANKED: 27 (+4)



LAST 5 GAMES RECORD: 4-1-0-0 — 4-2 loss to Edmonton, 4-3 win over Pittsburgh, 3-2 shootout win over New Jersey, 3-1 win over San Jose, 2-1 win over Los Angeles

NEXT 5 GAMES SCHEDULE: Home to Tampa Bay on Wednesday, at Philadelphia on Saturday, at Nashville on Dec. 4, home to Arizona on Dec. 7, home to New York Islanders on Dec. 9

ANALYSIS: The Bruins are really banged-up — without top-six forwards Brad Marchand, David Backes and Anders Bjork — but Anton Khudobin has been bailing out Boston and is still unbeaten in regulation this season, with a 7-0-2-0 record. Khudobin could be in the process of supplanting Tuukka Rask as the Bruins’ starting goalie — especially if he beats Tampa Bay — but the best-case scenario for Boston is to get Rask back to form as well. Marchand should be returning soon to bolster the offence, though he hasn’t been the same scoring machine as last season. Regardless, the Bruins are better with Marchand in the lineup.

24) Montreal Canadiens

LAST RANKED: 17 (-7)



LAST 5 GAMES RECORD: 1-3-0-1 — 3-0 win over Buffalo, 3-2 shootout loss to Nashville, 3-1 loss to Dallas, 6-0 loss to Toronto, 5-4 loss to Arizona

NEXT 5 GAMES SCHEDULE: Home to Columbus on Monday, home to Ottawa on Wednesday, at Detroit on Thursday, home to Detroit on Saturday, home to St. Louis on Dec. 5

ANALYSIS: Can Carey Price be the saviour again for Montreal? The all-world goaltender pitched a 36-save shutout over Buffalo in his return from an undisclosed injury but, before getting hurt, he had been struggling mightily like the majority of his teammates to start the season. The Canadiens haven’t been good for the most part and captain Max Pacioretty is marred in a six-game pointless drought at the moment, but this team tends to go as Price goes. If he can sustain Saturday’s form, Montreal could surge up the standings — especially playing eight of 10 at home, starting with that blanking of Buffalo. If the Canadiens are going to right the ship, this is the time to do it.

25) Colorado Avalanche

LAST RANKED: 29 (+4)



LAST 5 GAMES RECORD: 2-2-0-1 — 3-2 loss to Calgary, 3-2 shootout loss to Minnesota, 3-0 win over Dallas, 4-3 overtime win over Detroit, 5-2 loss to Nashville

NEXT 5 GAMES SCHEDULE: Home to Winnipeg on Wednesday, home to New Jersey on Friday, home to Dallas on Sunday, home to Buffalo on Dec. 5, at Tampa Bay on Dec. 7

ANALYSIS: Nathan MacKinnon is powering Colorado back to respectability, finally enjoying a breakout season on a powerful top line with Gabriel Landeskog and Mikko Rantanen. With Duchene out of the picture, the Avs are now MacKinnon’s team and he is thriving as their go-to guy. Samuel Girard isn’t racking up the points yet, but he’s logging big minutes as a rookie defencemen and already becoming a nice complement to Erik Johnson and Tyson Barrie in Colorado’s top four. The Avalanche are another team in the midst of a lengthy homestand, playing six of seven in Denver — starting with that win over Dallas — and trying to stay in the mix in the ultra-competitive Central Division.

26) Edmonton Oilers




LAST 5 GAMES RECORD: 2-3-0-0 — 4-2 win over Boston, 3-1 loss to Buffalo, 6-2 win over Detroit, 8-3 loss to St. Louis, 6-3 loss to Dallas

NEXT 5 GAMES SCHEDULE: Home to Arizona on Tuesday, home to Toronto on Thursday, at Calgary on Saturday, home to Philadelphia on Dec. 6, at Montreal on Dec. 9

ANALYSIS: Returning home from another losing road trip that ended on a winning note, the Oilers may have saved Todd McLellan’s job with that victory in Boston. The rumour mill is churning, with rumblings of both roster and staff changes in Edmonton should these struggles continue. Tuesday has to be a statement game in hosting league-worst Arizona. Lose that one and you’d have to think heads will roll in the Alberta capital. Many playing the blame game are pointing the finger at Peter Chiarelli for poor asset management and roster construction, but McLellan might be the one to the pay the price if things don’t get better for the Oilers. Connor McDavid has been doing his part despite playing through an illness and Ryan Strome is showing up lately, but Cam Talbot and Oscar Klefbom are having disappointing campaigns. When Edmonton gets a total team effort, the Oilers are tough to beat — as anticipated — but those efforts have been few and far between this season.

27) Philadelphia Flyers

LAST RANKED: 16 (-11)



LAST 5 GAMES RECORD: 0-1-3-1 — 5-4 overtime loss to New York Islanders, 4-3 overtime loss to New York Islanders, 5-2 loss to Vancouver, 5-4 overtime loss to Calgary, 3-2 shootout loss to Winnipeg

NEXT 5 GAMES SCHEDULE: At Pittsburgh on Monday, home to San Jose on Tuesday, home to Boston on Saturday, at Calgary on Dec. 4, at Edmonton on Dec. 6

ANALYSIS: On a seven-game losing streak, albeit with four loser points in their last five games, the Flyers can’t find a way to win lately. The lack of positive results presumably puts Dave Hakstol on the hot seat — at risk of becoming the first coach to get fired this season if Philadelphia doesn’t prevail soon. Would Ron Hextall pull the trigger with another loss in tonight’s Battle of Pennsylvania at Pittsburgh? Or is Hextall assuming responsibility for saddling Hakstol with a lacklustre goaltending tandem and an inexperienced defence group? Either way, the Flyers could be forced to embrace a rebuild if their fortunes don’t improve immediately.

28) Detroit Red Wings

LAST RANKED: 25 (-3)



LAST 5 GAMES RECORD: 1-1-3-0 — 4-3 overtime loss to New Jersey, 2-1 overtime loss to New York Rangers, 6-2 loss to Edmonton, 4-3 overtime loss to Colorado, 3-1 win over Buffalo

NEXT 5 GAMES SCHEDULE: Home to Los Angeles on Tuesday, home to Montreal on Thursday, at Montreal on Saturday, home to Winnipeg on Dec. 5, home to St. Louis on Dec. 9

ANALYSIS: Losers of four straight, but with three loser points to show for their efforts, the Red Wings are in the midst of playing 13 of 15 at home from Nov. 11 to Dec. 15. As they say, Detroit needs to make hay over this stretch at the brand-new Little Caesars Arena, but that will be easier said than done based on the daunting schedule of opponents. So far, the Red Wings are 2-1-2-1 for seven points through six of those 13 games, but the odds won’t be in Detroit’s favour for most of the seven remaining contests. Ken Holland will be keeping a close watch in determining whether or not to sell on Mike Green ahead of the trade deadline.

29) Florida Panthers

LAST RANKED: 28 (-1)



LAST 5 GAMES RECORD: 2-3-0-0 — 4-1 loss to Chicago, 2-1 shootout win over Toronto, 3-2 loss to Anaheim, 4-0 loss to Los Angeles, 2-0 win over San Jose

NEXT 5 GAMES SCHEDULE: At New Jersey on Monday, at New York Rangers on Tuesday, home to San Jose on Friday, at Carolina on Saturday, home to New York Islanders on Dec. 4

ANALYSIS: The Panthers have been lacking forward depth this season — missing Jonathan Marchessault and Reilly Smith, who were inexplicably dumped in the expansion draft — and now Evgenii Dadonov is hurt, sidelined indefinitely with a shoulder injury. Instead, Dale Tallon protected Alex Petrovic on defence and he’s been a healthy scratch more often than not this month, strangely unable to crack Bob Boughner’s lineup. Those decisions aren’t helping matters in hindsight, but the Panthers still have a bit of upside now that Roberto Luongo is back. He could steal some games for Florida and the Atlantic Division is the league’s weak link this season, so not all hope is lost.

30) Buffalo Sabres




LAST 5 GAMES RECORD: 1-4-0-0 — 3-0 loss to Montreal, 3-1 win over Edmonton, 5-4 loss to Minnesota, 3-2 loss to Columbus, 3-1 loss to Carolina

NEXT 5 GAMES SCHEDULE: Home to Tampa Bay on Tuesday, home to Pittsburgh on Friday, at Pittsburgh on Saturday, at Colorado on Dec. 5, at Chicago on Dec. 8

ANALYSIS: The Sabres have lost eight of their last nine games, with only four points over that span. Buffalo’s defence is getting healthier by the day — Rasmus Ristolainen is back, so that’s a big plus — but Evander Kane has been the only consistent forward and he’s likely trade bait at this point. Jack Eichel outplayed McDavid in their recent head-to-head, but Eichel hasn’t been rising to the occasion on a regular basis. Neither has Robin Lehner in net. Phil Housley and Jason Botterill have their work cut out for them in Buffalo, certainly more so than envisioned.

31) Arizona Coyotes




LAST 5 GAMES RECORD: 3-2-0-0 — 4-2 loss to Vegas, 3-2 overtime win over Los Angeles, 3-1 loss to San Jose, 4-1 win over Toronto, 3-2 overtime win over Ottawa

NEXT 5 GAMES SCHEDULE: At Edmonton on Tuesday, at Calgary on Thursday, home to New Jersey on Saturday, at Vegas on Sunday, at Boston on Dec. 7

ANALYSIS: The Coyotes have actually won four of their last six games — starting with a 5-4 victory over Montreal on Nov. 16 in sweeping their way through Eastern Canada. Arizona is back on the road now for six of its next seven games, so that might be a good omen. The Coyotes are evidently player better lately and perhaps deserved a better fate in this edition of the Power Rankings. Based on recent results rather than overall record, Arizona could have been slotted a few spots higher for sure — arguably ahead of Philadelphia at No. 27. The Coyotes have called up top prospect Dylan Strome, who had been tearing up the AHL, for Tuesday’s game in Edmonton. Win there and Arizona won’t be bringing up the rear here any longer.

Updated Power Rankings Through 20-25 Games

1) St. Louis Blues

2) Tampa Bay Lightning

3) Nashville Predators

4) Vegas Golden Knights

5) Columbus Blue Jackets

6) Winnipeg Jets

7) New Jersey Devils

8) New York Rangers

9) New York Islanders

10) Washington Capitals

11) Toronto Maple Leafs

12) San Jose Sharks

13) Los Angeles Kings

14) Chicago Blackhawks

15) Dallas Stars

16) Calgary Flames

17) Vancouver Canucks

18) Pittsburgh Penguins

19) Ottawa Senators

20) Anaheim Ducks

21) Minnesota Wild

22) Carolina Hurricanes

23) Boston Bruins

24) Montreal Canadiens

25) Colorado Avalanche

26) Edmonton Oilers

27) Philadelphia Flyers

28) Detroit Red Wings

29) Florida Panthers

30) Buffalo Sabres

31) Arizona Coyotes

Power Rankings Through 15 Games

1) Tampa Bay Lightning

2) Nashville Predators

3) Ottawa Senators

4) Winnipeg Jets

5) Los Angeles Kings

6) St. Louis Blues

7) Toronto Maple Leafs

8) New York Rangers

9) San Jose Sharks

10) New Jersey Devils

11) Calgary Flames

12) Dallas Stars

13) Washington Capitals

14) New York Islanders

15) Vegas Golden Knights

16) Philadelphia Flyers

17) Montreal Canadiens

18) Pittsburgh Penguins

19) Columbus Blue Jackets

20) Chicago Blackhawks

21) Anaheim Ducks

22) Vancouver Canucks

23) Minnesota Wild

24) Carolina Hurricanes

25) Detroit Red Wings

26) Edmonton Oilers

27) Boston Bruins

28) Florida Panthers

29) Colorado Avalanche

30) Buffalo Sabres

31) Arizona Coyotes

Preseason Power Rankings

1) Edmonton Oilers

2) Pittsburgh Penguins

3) Dallas Stars

4) Tampa Bay Lightning

5) Washington Capitals

6) Chicago Blackhawks

7) Columbus Blue Jackets

8) Toronto Maple Leafs

9) Winnipeg Jets

10) Anaheim Ducks

11) Minnesota Wild

12) Nashville Predators

13) Montreal Canadiens

14) Calgary Flames

15) Buffalo Sabres

16) Philadelphia Flyers

17) New York Islanders

18) New York Rangers

19) San Jose Sharks

20) Boston Bruins

21) Carolina Hurricanes

22) Vancouver Canucks

23) Los Angeles Kings

24) St. Louis Blues

25) Florida Panthers

26) Arizona Coyotes

27) New Jersey Devils

28) Ottawa Senators

29) Colorado Avalanche

30) Detroit Red Wings

31) Vegas Golden Knights