This week, the NHL said goodbye to the last winless team, as Carolina joined the party with two straight wins, including a victory over the reigning Stanley Cup Champs. As a result, we have a new team at the top and bottom of the our Power Rankings. Here are the Power Rankings for Week 4.
30. Buffalo Sabres (3-9-1)
Last Week’s Ranking: 29
This Week’s Schedule: Canadiens, Oilers, Penguins
Breakdown: Even with a shootout win over their divison rivals, the Detroit Red Wings, Buffalo still fell back into last place. The Sabres were only able to secure three of a possible eight points on the week. Perhaps the most telling stat is Buffalo’s league-worst -27 goal differential. On a positive note, the Sabres finally notched their first power play goal of the year.
29. Carolina Hurricanes (2-6-2)
Last Week’s Ranking: 30
This Week’s Schedule: @Blue Jackets, Blue Jackets, @Capitals
Breakdown: With the return of Eric Staal, the Hurricanes were able to get of the schneid with back-to-back home wins over the Coyotes and the Kings. Things are looking up for Carolina, as they are set for a home-and-home against the scuffling Columbus Blue Jackets. Carolina has too much talent to be battling for the first overall pick in next year’s entry draft, and they will be hoping that this win helps them right the ship.
28. Columbus Blue Jackets (4-7-0)
Last Week’s Ranking: 20
This Week’s Schedule: Hurricanes, @Hurricanes, Lightning
Breakdown: Things went from bad to worse for Columbus last week. After dropping two of three games the previous week, the Blue Jackets laid an egg this past week, dropping all three contests. To make matters worse, Columbus’ struggling penalty kill unit, which is tied for fourth worst in the league, will face Carolina (eighth best power play in the league) twice and Tampa Bay (fifth best power play in the league) this week.
27. Arizona Coyotes (4-6-1)
Last Week’s Ranking: 25
This Week’s Schedule: Maple Leafs, @Ducks, Islanders
Breakdown: The Coyotes have lost three of four over the last week, dropping them to the bottom of the Pacific Division. Arizona is giving up a league worst 3.73 goals against per game, which is definitely not a recipe for success. The road ahead doesn’t get much easier, taking to the road to face the top ranked Ducks, along with home match-ups against the Leafs and Islanders. It is shaping up to be a long season for the Coyotes.
26. Edmonton Oilers (4-6-1)
Last Week’s Ranking: 28
This Week’s Schedule: @Flyers, @Bruins, @Sabres, @Rangers
Breakdown: The week got off to a great start for the Oilers, as Edmonton posted a 3-0 shutout of the Montreal Canadiens, becoming just the second team this season to beat Montreal. The win was the fourth straight for the Oilers, but they followed that with two straight losses to end the week, including a 3-2 loss to division rivals, the Vancouver Canucks. Four road games are on the docket for the upcoming week, can the situation get worse for Edmonton?
25. Winnipeg Jets (5-5-1)
Last Week’s Ranking: 27
This Week’s Schedule: Predators, Penguins, @Senators
Breakdown: It was a good week for Winnipeg, securing seven of a possible eight points, winning three of four in the process. The Jets welcomed Evander Kane back to the lineup this week, and while he didn’t contribute any points, he averaged nearly 20 minutes of ice time per game and makes the Jets a drastically different team. They’ll look to keep rolling this week, but it won’t be easy with home games against two Division leaders in the Predators and the Penguins.
24. Philadelphia Flyers (4-5-2)
Last Week’s Ranking: 24
This Week’s Schedule: Oilers, Panthers, Avalanche
Breakdown: It was a week of close games for the Flyers. They didn’t do much in the way of improving their ranking, knocking off the Kings in overtime, but losing one goal games on the road to the Panthers and the Lightning. With an array of injuries on defense, the Flyers catch a break with three bottom of the barrel offenses coming to town over the next week. Can Philly improve upon their ugly 1-3-1 home record on the season and get their season back on track?
23. Florida Panthers (4-2-3)
Last Week’s Ranking: 26
This Week’s Schedule: @Bruins, @Flyers, Flames
Breakdown: Florida took care of business this week, winning home games against the Flyers and the Coyotes. While neither of those teams have impressed this season, wins are wins and the perfect week was enough to see Florida jump up in the rankings. Florida’s sputtering offense will look to capitalize on depleted defenses in Boston and Philadelphia this week, but another clean sweep is probably out of the question.
22. Colorado Avalanche (3-4-5)
Last Week’s Ranking: 23
This Week’s Schedule: Canucks, Maple Leafs, @Flyers
Breakdown: Aside from a 5-0 thrashing of the slumping Islanders, the last week was full of disappointment for Colorado. After a stellar season last year, the Avalanche have struggled to recapture the magic this time around. To put things in perspective, the Avalanche had only lost six games (including OTL) at the end of December last season, but they have already accumulated ten losses this year, and we are only three days into November. What makes this even more alarming is the fact that Colorado has the league’s second best penalty kill so far, meaning things could get worse.
21. Washington Capitals (4-5-2)
Last Week’s Ranking: 10
This Week’s Schedule: Flames, @Blackhawks, Hurricanes
Breakdown: It was an ugly week for the Capitals, losing all three games, including a home game against the lowly Coyotes. Washington’s power play continues to perform at an elite level, recording at least one power play goal in every game last week, but that did not translate to victories. Despite their prolific offense, they can’t seem to keep opponents off the scoreboard, conceding nearly three goals per game. The good news for fans is that there will be no shortage of goal scoring in the foreseeable future, so games will be extremely entertaining.
20. Dallas Stars (4-3-4)
Last Week’s Ranking: 13
This Week’s Schedule: Kings, Predators, Sharks
Breakdown: The Stars were able to steal two points in overtime losses to the Ducks and the Blues, but overall it was a sub-par week for Dallas. The 0-1-2 record for the week was definitely a setback and the week ahead will be grueling. Fortunately, it is a week of home games, where Dallas hasn’t lost in regulation this season. Every point counts, but it’d be nice to see the Stars improve on their inability to close games out in overtime.
19. New York Rangers (5-4-1)
Last Week’s Ranking: 21
This Week’s Schedule: Blues, Red Wings, @Maple Leafs, Oilers
Breakdown: It was a quiet week for the Rangers with just two games on the schedule. Despite four days off in between games, the Rangers were shutout at home over the weekend by the Jets. The good news is that the Rangers were able to rally for five third period goals in Monday’s victory over the Wild, showing the heart of a playoff team in the process. The bad news is that the Wild were probably more responsible for those five goals than the Rangers, but they’ll take the win nonetheless.
18. Toronto Maple Leafs (6-4-1)
Last Week’s Ranking: 22
This Week’s Schedule: @Coyotes, @Avalanche, Rangers, @Senators
Breakdown: Toronto is trending upwards, winning four of their last five, including all three this week. It certainly helps that they’ve averaged four goals per game over the last five, a pace that they’ll look to maintain as they’ve lost winger Joffrey Lupul to a broken hand. The Leafs will play three of four on the road in the upcoming week, giving Toronto a chance to prove that their 3-0-1 road record is not a fluke.
17. New Jersey Devils (6-3-2)
Last Week’s Ranking: 18
This Week’s Schedule: Blues, @Blues, @Red Wings
Breakdown: The Devils have been inconsistent this season, but this week offered a glimmer of hope, as the Devils took two of three. The week started with an 8-3 loss to division foes, the Pittsburgh Penguins, but the Devils rebound nicely securing all four points remaining for the week. When St. Louis comes to town on Tuesday, the Devils will look win their third straight, matching their season best winning streak. Could this be a turning point for New Jersey?
16. Ottawa Senators (5-3-2)
Last Week’s Ranking: 15
This Week’s Schedule: Red Wings, Wild, Jets, Maple Leafs
Breakdown: It was a middle-of-the-road week for the Senators, registering a 1-1-1 record. Things are looking up though, as Ottawa hasn’t lost in regulation at home and they have four games at home this week. That being the case, the Senators will hope to cultivate the success they had at the beginning of the season, winning four of their first five. With a number of beatable opponents ahead, it would be a disappointment if Ottawa doesn’t earn a higher ranking next week.
15. Boston Bruins (7-6-0)
Last Week’s Ranking: 16
This Week’s Schedule: Panthers, Oikers
Breakdown: Another week, another injured defenseman. After trading Boychuk, the injuries to Chara and Miller seemed to represent the worst case scenario. If that was worst case scenario, what would you call it when Torey Krug suffered a broken finger this week? The Bruins gave up three third period goals to blow a lead and the game against Minnesota Tuesday night, but they rebounded with back-to-back wins to close out the week. Can the young defensemen continue to hold their own until the veterans return from injury?
14. St. Louis Blues (6-3-1)
Last Week’s Ranking: 19
This Week’s Schedule: @Rangers, @Devils, Devils, Predators
Breakdown: After an up-and-down start to the season, the Blues seem to be getting back on track. They won all three games last week, including two division wins. With both T.J. Oshie and Paul Stastny injured, the Blues will need to rely on their defensive depth to help carry the team. Upsetting the Predators this week would go a long way in rebuilding the team’s confidence.
13. Calgary Flames (7-4-2)
Last Week’s Ranking: 14
This Week’s Schedule: @Capitals, @Lightning, @Panthers
Breakdown: Calgary has continued to exceed expectations this season. They closed out a strong week with a dominant win in Montreal, beating one of the NHL’s most impressive teams on the road. Jonas Hiller has proven to be a superb addition, giving the Flames a strong last line of defense. His presence will be crucial this week, as Calgary prepares to face two of the most potent offenses in the league. This will be a telling week for the Flames.
12. Los Angeles Kings (6-4-2)
Last Week’s Ranking: 1
This Week’s Schedule: @Stars, Islanders, Canucks
Breakdown: The defending Stanley Cup champs hit a few speed bumps this week, going 0-3-1, including a loss to the recently winless Hurricanes. I’m expecting a bounce back week for the Kings, with a clean sweep well within the realm of possibility.
11. New York Islanders (6-5-0)
Last Week’s Ranking: 6
This Week’s Schedule: @Ducks, @Kings, @Coyotes
Breakdown: The Islanders were riding high last week, entering this week atop the Metropolitan Division. The success ended abruptly, however, as the Isles suffered three straight defeats, including the first two of five game, west coast swing. It won’t be easy for the Islanders to rebound this week, visiting the Pacific Division leading Ducks and the reigning Stanley Cup Champions, but closing the week against the Coyotes should produce a W. It’s still too soon to tell just how good the Isles are this year.
10. Detroit Red Wings (6-2-3)
Last Week’s Ranking: 17
This Week’s Schedule: @Senators, @Rangers, Devils, Lightning
Breakdown: A shootout loss in Buffalo is all that stood between Detroit and a perfect week. After a down week, the Red Wings rebounded with wins over the reeling Capitals and the struggling Kings, before handing the Sabres their first home victory of the young season. The good news is that the power play started to click, recording three power play goals on the week. An improved power play would go a long way in helping to develop consistency, something this team has struggled to find.
9. Chicago Blackhawks (6-5-1)
Last Week’s Ranking: 3
This Week’s Schedule: @Canadiens, Capitals, Sharks
Breakdown: Chicago lost three of four this week, with their only victory coming in a shootout against the Senators. The Blackhawks are still a force to be reckoned with in the Western Conference, but this week brought them back into the pack, at least in the standings. While the penalty kill has remained elite, the power play has not been as potent as in years past, which has certainly cost them with all six losses coming in one goal games. To make matters worse, they have conceded a league worst, three shorthanded goals, not what you’d expect from a team with the veteran core that Chicago has put together. Look for that to improve ASAP.
8. Vancouver Canucks (8-4-0)
Last Week’s Ranking: 12
This Week’s Schedule: @Avalanche, @Sharks, @Kings, @Ducks
Breakdown: The Canucks kept pace with division foes, the Anaheim Ducks, winning three of four last week. Good goaltending goes a long way, as evidenced by Ryan Miller continued success. Miller now leads the league with eight wins, and Vancouver is further distancing themselves from last year’s disaster. This week features four road match-ups against four of last season’s Western Conference playoff teams, a legitimate test of character for the Canucks.
7. San Jose Sharks (7-4-2)
Last Week’s Ranking: 9
This Week’s Schedule: Canucks, @Stars, @Blackhawks
Breakdown: A strong, bounce back week for the Sharks. They won two of three, with their only loss coming in a shootout against the recently streaking Minnesota Wild. The good news is that Tomas Hertl ended his eight game scoring drought with a goal in Sunday’s win over the New York Islanders. The Sharks will look for him to get going, and if he can, look out. The Sharks already possess one of the league’s most dangerous offenses, but with a productive Tomas Hertl, they would be lethal.
6. Nashville Predators (7-2-2)
Last Week’s Ranking: 7
This Week’s Schedule: @Jets, @Stars, @Blues
Breakdown: Filip Forsberg continues to lead the Predators in scoring, as Nashville sits atop the Central Division. Forsberg’s emergence, coupled with Peter Laviolette’s coaching influence, have made the Predators a legitimate contender in the West. Pekka Rinne remained hot this week as well, as Nashville took two of three games. The Predators will look to continue their winning ways this week with three Division road games.
5. Minnesota Wild (7-3-0)
Last Week’s Ranking: 11
This Week’s Schedule: Penguins, @Senators, @Canadiens
Breakdown: After a disastrous start, the Wild rebounded and won three straight to close out the week. Monday night saw Minnesota giveaway a win in the third period against the Rangers, allowing five goals late and walking away empty handed. They showed their resiliency Tuesday night, coming back from a 3-1 deficit to beat the Bruins, before heading home to take the first two of a three game home stand. Minnesota’s collapse Monday was a rare blemish in what has been a stellar start to the season for the Wild.
4. Montreal Canadiens (8-3-1)
Last Week’s Ranking: 4
This Week’s Schedule: Blackhawks, @Sabres, Wild
Breakdown: This week saw Montreal struggle for the first time this season. Losing three of four (two in regulation) hurts, but the Habs are still tied for the Atlantic Division lead, so it’s not quite time to panic. That said, losing in convincing fashion to the Oilers and the Flames certainly doesn’t look good. The away game in Buffalo should be a layup, but the two home games against strong Western Conference teams should provide a challenge. I’d expect them to win two of three.
3. Pittsburgh Penguins (7-2-1)
Last Week’s Ranking: 8
This Week’s Schedule: @Wild, @Jets, @Sabres
Breakdown: With a clean sweep for the week, Pittsburgh took over the Metropolitan Division lead. From here, it looked pretty easy for the Penguins this week. They started off with an 8-3 stomping of the New Jersey Devils, following that with back-to-back shutout victories at home. If the Penguins can play that kind of defense, the offense (4.1 goals per game) will make this team unbeatable. This upcoming week sees the Pens play the first three of a five game road trip, with the Wild posing the only real threat.
2. Tampa Bay Lightning (8-3-1)
Last Week’s Ranking: 3
This Week’s Schedule: Flames, @Blue Jackets, @Red Wings
Breakdown: Scoring is clearly not a concern for Tampa Bay, as they continue to roll with three straight wins. They are second in the league in goals per game, trailing only Pittsburgh, and they just wrapped up a week that saw them pot 15 goals in three games. Their goals against have slowly crept up without Victor Hedman, but when you are scoring at that pace, it covers up just about any defensive deficiency. The Lightning will play back-to-back games next weekend, closing the week with an away tilt against division foes, the Detroit Red Wings.
1. Anaheim Ducks (10-3-0)
Last Week’s Ranking: 2
This Week’s Schedule: Islanders, Coyotoes, Canucks
Breakdown: The Ducks have taken over the #1 ranking, dethroning their division rivals, and the defending Stanley Cup Champs, the Los Angeles Kings. There was a slight scare for the Ducks this week, as Frederik Andersen suffered an injury. He’s listed as day-to-day, so hopefully he’ll be back soon. Anaheim took three of four games on their tour of the Central Division, becoming the first team to 10 wins, and leading the NHL with 20 points. Despite their offensive star power, the most impressive stat going for the Ducks is their 1.85 goals against per game, which is good enough for second in the league. Initially pegged as a team in need of a defensive upgrade, the Ducks have silenced their critics and will look to defend their title as they embark on a four game home stand this week.
Check back every Monday for new rankings!