The hockey community was shaken this week by the events that took place in Ottawa. It hit home to many hockey players who played with heavy hearts. Nonetheless, hockey continued, teams played, and changes were made to this week’s Power Rankings. Many teams are going to be faced with injuries for the next few weeks and will have to dig deep to remain contenders. Here are the Power Rankings for Week 3.
30. Carolina Hurricanes (0-5-2)
Last Week’s Ranking: 29
This Week’s Schedule: @Canucks, Coyotes, Kings
Breakdown: There is a new worse team in the NHL and it is the Carolina Hurricanes who still remain without a win. With injuries to many of their top players, the Canes have not been able to gain any footing in the standings and remain on a sinking ship headed straight to Connor McDavid or Jack Eichel.
29. Buffalo Sabres (2-7-0)
Last Week’s Ranking: 30
This Week’s Schedule: @Maple Leafs, Bruins, @Penguins, Red Wings
Breakdown: It was much of the same for Buffalo as they started the week with two consecutive losses. The only reason they moved up a spot in the rankings was their win against the San Jose Sharks – doubt anyone saw that coming. However, they will still be duking it out for the worst overall record this season with Carolina.
28. Edmonton Oilers (3-4-1)
Last Week’s Ranking: 28
This Week’s Schedule: Canadiens, Predators, Canucks
Breakdown: Edmonton rallied for three consecutive wins this week saving Dallas Eakins’ head coaching job. Everything is still a mess in the Oil City with one of their top prospects, Nail Yakupov, getting stuck with 4th line duties. When do all these amazing first round talents start putting it together and making the Oilers a competitive team?
27. Winnipeg Jets (3-5-0)
Last Week’s Ranking: 26
This Week’s Schedule: @Avalanche, @Coyotes
Breakdown: Without Evander Kane the Winnipeg Jets have little to no offense at their disposal. Without scoring, it’s difficult to win hockey games. They managed to beat the Carolina Hurricanes and Colorado Avalanche this week, which isn’t saying much at all since both teams have been struggling mightily.
26. Florida Panthers (2-2-3)
Last Week’s Ranking: 27
This Week’s Schedule: Coyotes, Flyers
Breakdown: Florida had a relatively easy week with only two games against two of the worst teams in the NHL, Colorado and Arizona. Even still, both of their games went to overtime where they came out with a win and a loss. The team is still looking for their players to step up.
25. Arizona Coyotes (3-3-1)
Last Week’s Ranking: 24
This Week’s Schedule: @Lightning, @Panthers, @Hurricanes, @Capitals
Breakdown: Arizona is just not getting wins when they need it most. They lost to Nashville in a shootout this week and were shutout by the Minnesota Wild. Even though they outplayed the Florida Panthers, it took them until overtime before the Coyotes were finally able to secure a win. Other than Yandle and Ekman-Larsson, Arizona’s defense doesn’t quite hold up against the rest of the league
24. Philadelphia Flyers (3-3-2)
Last Week’s Ranking: 25
This Week’s Schedule: Kings, @Lightning
Breakdown: Smoked by the Blackhawks, the Flyers went into Pittsburgh the next day and left Consol Energy Center like they normally do – with a win. Philadelphia was outplayed and outshot by the Red Wings on Saturday night, but escaped with two points they had no business getting. Now with Braydon Coburn and Andrew MacDonald out for a month each, they’re defense is as depleted as ever. It’s not going to be an easy few weeks for the Orange and Black.
23. Colorado Avalanche (2-4-3)
Last Week’s Ranking: 21
This Week’s Schedule: Sharks, Islanders, @Blues, Ducks
Breakdown: I knew the Avalanche weren’t going to be as good as the team that showed up last season, but to think they’d have this big a dropoff is ludicrous. They took care of Vancouver easily this week scoring seven goals, but were upset twice in overtime to the Panthers and Jets. It’s not time to press the panic button yet, but it’s getting close.
22. Toronto Maple Leafs (3-4-1)
Last Week’s Ranking: 22
This Week’s Schedule: Sabres, @Blue Jackets, Blackhawks
Breakdown: Toronto remains in the 22nd spot. They were one of a few teams to play two games this week and managed to split both of them. There are nights they’ll come out onto the ice as if they were being shot out of a cannon (NYI) and times where you’d think to yourself: “Did they know there was a game tonight?” On any given night the Maple Leafs are like a box of chocolates…you never know what you’re gonna get.
21. New York Rangers (4-4-0)
Last Week’s Ranking: 20
This Week’s Schedule: Wild, Jets
Breakdown: This isn’t the same team as last season for whatever reason. Almost everything has remained the same. The Rangers have always relied heavily on Henrik Lundqvist to make the team successful. Now that he’s struggling, so is the rest of the squad and that doesn’t bode well for the Broadway Blueshirts or their fans.
20. Columbus Blue Jackets (4-4-0)
Last Week’s Ranking: 17
This Week’s Schedule: @Devils, @Canadiens
Breakdown: Columbus finished up their West Coast trip with a 1-2 record. They pulled out a win agains the Sharks, but dropped both games in Southern California to the Ducks and Kings. Their defense hasn’t helped out Bobrovsky much as they averaged over four goals against during the last three games.
19. St. Louis Blues (3-3-1)
Last Week’s Ranking: 10
This Week’s Schedule: @Stars, Ducks, Avalanche
Breakdown: There is no more sugar coating it. The St. Louis Blues have played better hockey. The newly acquired Paul Stastny is on the IR with a shoulder injury. Their offense is almost nonexistent, which is a key part of the game the team fed off of last season. Once the goals start coming everything else will fall into place.
18. New Jersey Devils (4-2-2)
Last Week’s Ranking: 19
This Week’s Schedule: @Pengins, Jets, Blue Jackets
Breakdown: While their offense is consistent, their overall game is not. The team needs to start stretching together more than two wins at a time. And don’t even bother looking at their shootout numbers. I thought the Flyers were bad at shootouts (and they are), but the Devils take the cake.
17. Detroit Red Wings (4-2-2)
Last Week’s Ranking: 16
This Week’s Schedule: @Capitals, Kings, @Sabres
Breakdown: Another inconsistent team is the Detroit Red Wings and it’s not often that you hear that. Since Nicklas Lidstrom retired, the team has just not been the same. The team is growing further and further away from those feared teams of the 90s and 2000s. A huge hinderance has been their powerplay, which just can’t seem to put the puck in the net.
16. Boston Bruins (5-5-0)
Last Week’s Ranking: 11
This Week’s Schedule: Wild, @Sabres, Senators
Breakdown: Without Johnny Boychuk and now Zdeno Chara for at least a month, the struggling Bruins are going to have even more issues. Dennis Seidenberg already plays an insane amount of minutes per game so they’ll need other defensemen to log extra time. They’re exactly at .500 – a record they aren’t used to seeing.
15. Ottawa Senators (4-2-1)
Last Week’s Ranking: 15
This Week’s Schedule: @Blue Jackets, Blackhawks, @Bruins
Breakdown: The attacks on the Parliament Building hit close to home for the Senators for obvious reasons. They did drop both their games this week, but managed to stay in the middle of the pack. Will be interesting to see how they battle going forward, but despite the losses they are still #OttawaStrong.
14. Calgary Flames (5-4-1)
Last Week’s Ranking: 23
This Week’s Schedule: Canadiens, Predators, @Canadiens
Breakdown: In there three games this week, the Calgary Flames only managed three points, but I can’t keep holding them back any longer. They are finding ways to get points even without the prettiest of rosters. It’s not going to be an easy week as they face off against the Canadiens twice and the Predators – both teams are top 5 in the league rankings.
13. Dallas Stars (4-2-2)
Last Week’s Ranking: 13
This Week’s Schedule: Blues, Ducks, @Wild
Breakdown: 2-1-0 this week, the Stars are still tempting fate with their lackluster defensive play. Lehtonen is proving to be a huge help to the team, bailing them out on a few occasions, but it’d be best for them to find someone other than Anders Lindback to back him up. Jason Spezza is fitting in nicely and is 2nd on the team in points behind Tyler Seguin. Other than the top three big-name forwards, it doesn’t seem the Stars are getting help anywhere else.
12. Vancouver Canucks (5-3-0)
Last Week’s Ranking: 18
This Week’s Schedule: Hurricanes, Canadiens, @Oilers, Predators
Breakdown: The Sedin twins and Radim Vrabata might be the hottest line in the NHL. Combined they have 31 points (11G, 20A). Quite impressive since the Sedin’s had their struggles last season. Let’s not forget Ryan Miller either, who currently posts a 5-1 record and gives the team a chance to win every game. This week they have two easy matchups (Hurricanes/Oilers) and two more difficult ones (Canadiens/Predators).
11. Minnesota Wild (4-2-0)
Last Week’s Ranking: 14
This Week’s Schedule: @Rangers, @Bruins, Sharks Stars
Breakdown: Easy week for Minnesota where they went undefeated in two games. Kuemper still looks like the real deal in net for the Wild, but the nicest part about their team is their balanced attack from all four lines. The team also just inked Charlie Coyle to a 5-year deal worth $16M. For what he brings to the table, that’s a steal for Chuck Fletcher.
10. Washington Capitals (4-2-2)
Last Week’s Ranking: 9
This Week’s Schedule: Red Wings, @Lightning, Coyotes
Breakdown: Barry Trotz is just what the doctor ordered for the Washington Capitals. He’s done a great job turning the once defenseless team into a responsible one and their record shows full well that they are capable of playing in all three zones. You don’t see it often when other players are outshining Alexander Ovechkin, but in this case they’re getting much needed help from their rookies.
9. San Jose Sharks (5-4-1)
Last Week’s Ranking: 4
This Week’s Schedule: @Avalanche, @Wild, Islanders
Breakdown: Not a good week for the San Jose Sharks who went 1-3-0. The Bruins converted on their chances, while the Sharks struggled in a 5-3 loss. The next game was against the Blue Jackets where the Sharks played extremely well, outworked Columbus, but ultimately lost by a goal in regulation. To add salt to the wound, the lowly Buffalo Sabres were outmatched and outclassed by the Sharks, but escaped the Shark Tank with a 2-1 victory. San Jose managed to pull out a victory last night, but other than that, there weren’t many positives to take away.
8. Pittsburgh Penguins (4-2-1)
Last Week’s Ranking: 6
This Week’s Schedule: Devils, Kings, Sabres
Breakdown: The Penguins can’t solve the Philadelphia Flyers when they play at home for whatever reason. They also blew a 3-1 lead against the Red Wings earlier in the week. The only good thing the Pens can hold onto is their 3-0 win against the Predators. The Penguins aren’t struggling, but their play this week knocked them down a few pegs.
7. Nashville Predators (5-1-2)
Last Week’s Ranking: 12
This Week’s Schedule: @Oilers, @Flames, @Canucks
Breakdown: Turns out Peter Laviolette fits like a glove in Nashville and they started the year with a bang. Boasting one of the best records in the league, Laviolette has turned the team around from a bottom feeder to a talented squad that can actually score. It also helps that in seven games played, Pekka Rinne has a 5-1-1 record with a 1.81 goals against average. A healthy Rinne goes a long way in making the Predators a great team.
6. New York Islanders (6-2-0)
Last Week’s Ranking: 8
This Week’s Schedule: Jets, @Avalanche, @Sharks
Breakdown: Garth Snow isn’t that bad of a general manager after all, eh? He’s made the shrewd, logical business moves Islanders fans have been waiting for and it’s paying dividends. Their blueline is now bolstered, their goaltending controversy is solved, and they’re spearheaded by one of the best players in the game – John Tavares.
5. Tampa Bay Lightning (5-1-0)
Last Week’s Ranking: 7
This Week’s Schedule: Coyotes, Flyers, Capitals
Breakdown: No Hedman…no problem. Even without their top Swedish defenseman, the Lightning are still managing to win. They did lose 7-2 to the Minnesota Wild on Saturday, but even top teams have bad games every so often. They’ll face off against the Coyotes and Flyers this week. Luckily for Tampa, they’ve had Philly’s number ever since the 2004 Eastern Conference Finals..
4. Montreal Canadiens (7-1-0)
Last Week’s Ranking: 5
This Week’s Schedule: @Oilers, @Flames, @Canucks, Flames
Breakdown: Another week and the Montreal Canadiens keep on trucking through the rest of the NHL. They have the best record in the NHL and are heading out to play their West Coast Canadian rivals. It’s not crazy to think they can continue their run with a 4-game sweep.
3. Chicago Blackhawks (5-2-1)
Last Week’s Ranking: 2
This Week’s Schedule: Ducks, @Senators, @Maple Leafs, Jets
Breakdown: Blackhawks went 2-2-0 this week, but they still remain one of the elite well-rounded teams in the league. Corey Crawford looks to be out of the lineup for some time, but Antti Raanta did well in his absense. Rookie goalie, Scott Darling, played incredibly well for his NHL debut in a 2-1 win against Ottawa last night.
2. Anaheim Ducks (7-2-0)
Last Week’s Ranking: 3
This Week’s Schedule: @Blackhawks, @Blues, @Stars, @Avalanche
Breakdown: The Anaheim Ducks were riding the hot hand in Frederik Andersen. The team was on a 7-game winning streak before it was halted last night by the San Jose Sharks. The Getzlaf/Perry combo is reeking havoc for opposing netminders as they are both tied for 2nd in points.
1. Los Angeles Kings (6-1-1)
Last Week’s Ranking: 1
This Week’s Schedule: @Flyers, @Penguins, @Red Wings, @Hurricanes
Breakdown: The Kings are sitting atop their mighty throne in back-to-back weeks. They’re riding a 6-game winning streak with no signs of slowing down. As I mentioned last week, ‘That 70s line’ is the new backbone of the team and they’re tearing up the NHL. With spotty defenses that the Flyers, Penguins, and Hurricanes have, I’m betting this will be another good week for Los Angeles.
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