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NHL: Week 2 Western Conference Power Rankings Based Solely on Performance

Adam RickertAnalyst IIFebruary 2, 2013

NHL: Week 2 Western Conference Power Rankings Based Solely on Performance

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    It's been another great week of hockey in the ultra-competitive Western Conference. There have been many surprises and exciting games thus far in the second week of the shortened 48-game season. Each game is crucial, but there have been many of those dreaded three-point games that cause parity to be at an extreme high.

    After another week, we have a slightly clearer idea of which teams are playing well and which teams aren't. Let's take a look at the Western Conference after the second week of the season.

15. Columbus Blue Jackets

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    (Last Week: 15)

    The Blue Jackets haven't been awful, but they still own the cellar in the West for now. They have easily the biggest goals for/goals against ratio in the conference and have only been able to win one game this season that didn't require a shootout.

    On the bright side, this Columbus team has shown a lot more fight than in past seasons, and just because they're on another team's schedule doesn't mean it's an automatic win.

14. Calgary Flames

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    (Last Week: 12)

    While the Flames have only played five games (some teams have played eight), they have only managed to win one of them.

    We haven't seen enough from this team to be able to determine how good or bad they are, but their 1-3-1 record hasn't shown much so far.

    Nevertheless, they've scored the same amount of goals as Columbus, who has played three more games.

    The injury to Sven Baertschi could cause some issues, but the return of Jiri Hudler could make up for it, as he scored twice in Calgary's last game.

13. Nashville Predators

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    (Last Week: 11)

    Don't let their seven points fool you; Nashville has not been impressive at all this season. They have had serious issues with scoring goals, and although Pekka Rinne has been stellar, you cannot expect him to carry this team with an offense as dormant as can be.

    Out of their seven points, three come from shootout losses and one comes from a shootout win. They haven't had any convincing games or moments, and haven't looked very sharp at all so far in the season.

12. Los Angeles Kings

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    (Last Week: 13)

    Nashville's offense is awful, but the Kings really aren't any better at putting the puck in the net.

    Jonathan Quick has been decent, but the offense can't score and Los Angeles has definitely had the worst power play in the NHL this season. When the Kings have a man advantage, they only score 6.1 percent of the time as of February 2.

    Even though the Kings won the Stanley Cup, they struggled in the regular season last year due to their offense. So far, it looks like they still have scoring issues that they need to fix as soon as possible.

11. Phoenix Coyotes

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    (Last Week: 14)

    The Coyotes got some bad news this week, as the potential sale to Greg Jamison that would have kept them in the desert fell through. As unfortunate as it is for the Coyotes that their future is once again uncertain, they need to keep focused on getting wins on the ice.

    They haven't been too successful in that department either, although their offense has been among one of the best in the Western Conference. The injury to Mike Smith will hurt them in goal, but he should be back at some point soon and help stop some pucks.

    On a three-game point streak, the Coyotes may be getting on the right foot, but it's too early to tell how good they really are.

10. Dallas Stars

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    (Last Week: 4)

    They're 3-4-1, but other than last Tuesday's 4-1 loss in Detroit, every game Dallas has played in has been decided by one goal.

    Well, at least they're consistent.

    The Stars have fought through some tough games for wins, and have also lost a few close ones that they could have had at least another point.

    Dallas has been the definition of "average" so far: they've played good but not great, and they haven't been bad at all in any games. We will see in the coming weeks what there is to make of this team.

9. Colorado Avalanche

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    (Last Week: 9)

    Colorado has been pretty up and down thus far as well. The Avs have four regulation/overtime wins, but they also have four regulation losses.

    This team has a lot of potential, but they may need to wait a few years to be one of the better teams in the conference. The Avalanche can skate, and are one of the league's fastest teams on the ice without a doubt, but neither their offense or defense has been overly impressive.

8. Minnesota Wild

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    (Last Week: 7)

    Minnesota has been very good at home, but has yet to win on the road. They have also been kind of shaky this season, becoming the first team to beat the Blackhawks but also losing to teams like Nashville.

    They haven't blown anyone out and they haven't been blown out by anyone, but Zach Parise has really helped the offense. The Parise signing looks like a great move so far, but the Ryan Suter signing hasn't panned out, as he has been mediocre so far.

7. Vancouver Canucks

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    (Last Week: 6)

    Vancouver has been getting better since their 7-3 loss in the home opener, but they still haven't looked overly dominant.

    In the past week, the Canucks have had a 3-0 win, a 4-1 loss, a shootout win against Chicago, and a shootout loss against Los Angeles.

    Vancouver is looking decent, as they currently lead the Pacific Division with 10 points, but only four of those points are from actual regulation or overtime wins.

6. Edmonton Oilers

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    (Last Week: 10)

    Yes, I know, the fourth straight Northwest Division team. This division is going to be fun to pay attention to this season.

    Edmonton has looked like the best team in this division so far even though they have been inconsistent themselves. The Oilers are fast and explosive, and are one of the hottest tickets in the league boasting young stars like Nail Yakupov, who already has five goals.

    Edmonton obviously could improve on defense, but the team as a whole has been fairly good the first two weeks this season.

5. Anaheim Ducks

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    (Last Week: 5)

    Anaheim started the season off with a big 7-3 win in Vancouver and a 5-2 win in Calgary, and has been solid but not terrific since then.

    Since then, the Ducks lost 5-0 to the Canucks, went to two straight shootouts getting a win and a loss, and beat Minnesota 3-1.

    They have not looked overly great on the ice, but their 4-1-1 record looks great in the standings, currently holding on to the fifth spot in the Western Conference with a game or two in hand of most other Western Conference teams.

4. Detroit Red Wings

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    (Last Week: 8)

    The Wings got off to a tough start, losing their original game 6-0, but have started to fly again after the first week of the season.

    Detroit earned seven of eight possible points in games against Minnesota, Chicago, Dallas, and St. Louis as the Red Wings avenged their opening night blowout to the Blues with a 5-3 win last night.

    Defense has somehow not really been a problem, and the Red Wing power play has gotten better in recent games as well. This team still has the potential to be one of the better teams in the league, and it is proving its critics wrong with some great performances in the past week.

3. St. Louis Blues

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    (Last Week: 3)

    Despite playing a great game in Detroit last night, the Blues could not come up with a point against one of their top rivals.

    Nevertheless, St. Louis still has one of the best teams in the NHL and has been very impressive. The goaltending and defense have been airtight once again, and the offense has taken it up a notch from last year due to the addition of Vladimir Tarasenko.

    Also, remember Wade Redden? He has been pretty solid in his first few games with the Blues, scoring a pair of goals.

2. Chicago Blackhawks

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    (Last Week: 2)

    After winning their first six games, the Blackhawks have dropped two straight shootouts.

    They have still gotten at least a point in every game, but the Blackhawks haven't been dominating any of their opponents, being involved in many one-goal games.

    You can say they've come back down to earth, but the Chicago Blackhawks are definitely one of the top Stanley Cup contenders in hockey.

1. San Jose Sharks

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    (Last Week: 1)

    Ok, so Patrick Marleau still isn't scoring two goals every game. That's fine, because if he kept that pace, he would have broken Wayne Gretzky's record for goals in a season...and it's a shortened season.

    Anyways, the Sharks haven't slowed down, as they are the only team left in hockey that has not lost a single game they have played in.

    San Jose has scored the second-highest amount of goals in the conference, and has also given up the least. It can't get much better than that.

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