If you look at my top six teams from last week, and then look at them this week, you’ll notice that there’s no change.
I didn’t really see any reason to move the Bruins, Red Wings, Canucks, Rangers, Sharks, or Blues from their spots. I had a hard time with the seven, eight and nine spots.
I put the Blackhawks at number seven this week mainly because they have been so great offensively. Then I put the Flyers barely ahead of the Pens for the same reason: They were a little better offensively and the Pens have had recent struggles.
The Predators have impressed me recently, so I moved them up five spots to 10.
Finally, watch out for the Senators, who I think are the second-best Canadian team in the NHL right now. Despite them not having too much goaltending this season, the Sens are so great offensively with guys like Spezza, Alfredsson, Michalek and Foligno.
Here’s how I see the NHL teams from best to worst to this point. (W-L record and statistics mentioned are updated through Sunday morning, January 15.)
1. Boston Bruins (28-12-1)
Last Week: No. 1
The Bruins have lost three of their last seven games! They even lost to the Hurricanes on Saturday! Not to worry, though. There’s still no reason why they shouldn’t be No. 1.
2. Detroit Red Wings (28-15-1)
Last Week: No. 2
It was an interesting week for the Red Wings. They got crushed by the Islanders. All three of their wins last week were either in OT or by a shootout. Despite this, I still think they have the best team in the Western Conference, barely.
3. Vancouver Canucks (28-14-3)
Last Week: No. 3
Like the Red Wings, the Canucks lost one game this week to a mediocre team. They won the rest past regulation. It was a close call this week between Canucks and Wings for the No. 2 spot. Their high-powered offensive unit continues to help them win games.
4. New York Rangers (28-10-4)
Last Week: No. 4
The Rangers are the second-best defensive team in the NHL, in my opinion. They haven’t lost back-to-back games since December 13-15.
5. San Jose Sharks (25-11-5)
Last Week: No. 5
Since January started, the Sharks have played great hockey. They have yet to finish a game this month without getting at least one point out of it. They scored 13 points in the month of January.
6. St. Louis Blues (26-12-6)
Last Week: No. 6
Like the Sharks, the Blues are another team that has played well this month. They have also grabbed at least one point in every game in January.
7. Chicago Blackhawks (26-13-6)
Last Week: No. 9
Despite not playing well so far this month, the Blackhawks had a decent week. They recorded five points in their three games, and won two of them by a combined six goals.
8. Philadelphia Flyers (26-13-4)
Last Week: No. 7
It was not a very positive week for the Flyers. They beat the two bad teams this week, but they lost to the two teams that have a combined 50 wins.
9. Pittsburgh Penguins (22-17-4)
Last Week: No. 8
The Pens finally broke their six-game losing streak by beating the Panthers on Friday night. I would’ve moved them down more, but they still have a solid offensive unit and good goaltending. It could be worse for these guys.
10. Nashville Predators (25-15-4)
Last Week: No. 15
Since they were crushed by the Stars last week, the Preds have played great hockey. They won their last four games by a combined nine goals—and that made me move them up five spots. They are getting hot at a great time.
11. Ottawa Senators (25-15-6)
Last Week: No. 22
This team gets my “Team of the Week” award. They won each of their four games last week by a combined 10 goals. Offensively, they have picked it up big time as well as getting much more help from their goaltending. As I mentioned earlier, they get my vote as the second-best hockey team in Canada.
12. Los Angeles Kings (22-15-8)
Last Week: No. 17
Apparently, the Kings just figured out that they can actually score a goal. They scored 13 of them in their three games this week. Their only loss this week was in a shootout to the Stars.
13. Toronto Maple Leafs (22-17-5)
Last Week: No. 10
The Leafs have gone flat offensively this week. They scored only four goals in their three games.
14. Washington Capitals (23-17-2)
Last Week: No. 11
The Capitals didn’t impress me too much this week. After getting blown out by the Kings, they got two one-goal victories.
15. New Jersey Devils (25-17-2)
Last Week: No. 14
Like the Caps, the Devils followed up their blowout loss to the Flames with two victories by a goal each.
16. Phoenix Coyotes (20-18-7)
Last Week: No. 12
Since December 20 and 21, the Coyotes have yet to win back-to-back games. They have won only two of their last 11.
17. Dallas Stars (24-18-1)
Last Week: No. 13
It was an inconsistent week for the Stars. There was a blowout loss to the lowly Ducks, then they barely squeezed by the Kings, then they lost a defensive battle to the Avalanche.
18. Minnesota Wild (22-16-7)
Last Week: No. 16
The Wild continue to play very poorly. They have just two victories in their last 13 games.
19. Colorado Avalanche (24-20-2)
Last Week: No. 19
I'm not sure what to make of the Avalanche right now. They had three straight losses, then they barely squeezed by the Stars.
20. Florida Panthers (21-14-8)
Last Week: No. 20
The Panthers played only two games last week and won one of them by a single goal. The Panthers continue to have one of the worst offensive teams in the league.
21. Montreal Canadiens (16-20-8)
Last Week: No. 18
The Habs continue to move down the standings and power rankings. They have only three wins in their last 13 games.
22. Edmonton Oilers (16-23-4)
Last Week: No. 21
The Oilers haven’t won two games in a row since November 22-25.
23. Winnipeg Jets (20-19-5)
Last Week: No. 23
Since 2012 began, the Jets haven’t played well. They have only one victory in their six January games so far.
24. Buffalo Sabres (19-20-5)
Last Week: No. 24
Since their four-game winning streak ended in early November, the Sabres have yet to win at least two in a row. They have a 9-15-0 record in their last 24 games.
25. Calgary Flames (21-20-5)
Last Week: No. 25
As I mentioned once before, the Flames are a very confusing hockey team to watch. They had a three-game winning streak followed by a four-game losing streak. They won four in a row, then they lost five straight. Then they won three of their last four. Again, the Flames are streaky and inconsistent.
26. Anaheim Ducks (14-22-7)
Last Week: No. 30
The Ducks are still not a very strong hockey team, but they have won four of their last five games. It would be five straight if they had scored a goal in regulation against the Flames on Thursday night.
27. New York Islanders (16-20-6)
Last Week: No. 28
The Islanders had an impressive four-goal win over the Red Wings. That's the only reason why I moved them up one spot.
28. Carolina Hurricanes (16-23-7)
Last Week: No. 27
Their goaltending has been a little better recently. They gave up only six goals in their last three games. They have also won their last two. If they play better defensively, they could start to slowly rise up the standings.
29. Tampa Bay Lightning (17-22-4)
Last Week: No. 26
I’m sure the Lightning would like to go back to 2011. Ever since 2012 started, this team has yet to win a game.
30. Columbus Blue Jackets (12-27-5)
Last Week: No. 29
Since November 19-21, the Jackets have yet to win two games in a row.
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