NHL Power Rankings: Golden Knights Take Top Spot; St. Louis Sings the Blues

Lyle Fitzsimmons@@fitzbitzFeatured Columnist IIINovember 10, 2022

NHL Power Rankings: Golden Knights Take Top Spot; St. Louis Sings the Blues

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    TORONTO, ON - NOVEMBER 8: Nicolas Roy #10 of the Vegas Golden Knights celebrates his goal against the Toronto Maple Leafs during the first period at the Scotiabank Arena on November 8, 2022 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Mark Blinch/NHLI via Getty Images)
    Mark Blinch/NHLI via Getty Images

    At last, some stability.

    Though the NHL standings still prompt more than a little surprise a month into the 2022-23 regular season, there's been enough settling to prevent the massive upheaval that was the signature element of last week's B/R Power Rankings.

    While nine teams experienced jumps or drops of 10 or better rankings places last time around, that number was trimmed to just five in November's first full week—led by a 12-spot rise by the Toronto Maple Leafs and an 11-spot ascension by the Seattle Kraken.

    By contrast, the Vegas Golden Knights improved by just one place from last week, but it was the most important one as they evicted the Boston Bruins from the rankings penthouse after two weeks at No. 2. On the flip side, the St. Louis Blues continued a chaotic plunge from fifth two weeks ago to dead last at No. 32 thanks to an eight-game losing streak.

    All six members of the voting panel had Vegas at No. 1, with four listing the Bruins second and two others giving that spot to the New Jersey Devils. St. Louis was No. 32 on five of six ballots and jumped to No. 31 in one instance ahead of the Columbus Blue Jackets.

    Our panel of five voters awarded 32 points for first place and one point for 32nd in coming up with the weekly list. A team's ranking from last week and its subsequent move are listed alongside each updated placement. Scroll through to see where your favorites landed and drop a thought or two of your own in the comments.

Nos. 32-26: Blues, Blue Jackets, Senators, Sharks, Ducks, Canucks, Penguins

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    San Jose defenseman Erik Karlsson was in a celebratory mood after defeating Anaheim and getting his first career hat trick.
    Amanda Cain/NHLI via Getty Images

    32. St. Louis Blues (Last Week: 26 / Move: -6)

    It’s not a good sign when post-game notes have phrases like “team record for consecutive regulation losses,” but that’s the case for the Blues, who dropped an eighth straight on Tuesday in Philadelphia. "We're not playing well enough to win games," coach Craig Berube said. "That's what happens.”

    31. Columbus Blue Jackets (Last Week: 31 / Move: 0)

    It’s been no picnic in middle Ohio either, where the Blue Jackets have dropped five straight in regulation and nine of 12 overall. Their minus-25 goal differential is worst in a 32-team league and both their goals-per-game (2.50) and goals-against (4.58) averages are barely better at No. 31.

    30. Ottawa Senators (Last Week: 25 / Move: -5)

    Six straight losses have erased the shine of a 4-2 start for the Senators, who’ve been without starting goalie Cam Talbot for all but three games with an upper-body injury. Anton Forsberg has made nine starts but his numbers--.898 save percentage and 3.58 goals-against average—aren’t stellar.

    29. San Jose Sharks (Last Week: 32 / Move: +3)

    The Sharks have dropped three straight games in shootouts and four in a row overall, but veteran defenseman Erik Karlsson is having a successful stretch. He had eight points across the three extra-time losses, including his first career hat trick—also the first by a blueliner in the league since April 2021.

    28. Anaheim Ducks (Last Week: 28 / Move: 0)

    Myriad factors have contributed to the sub-standard start in Anaheim, not the least of which is defense. The Ducks have the second-worst goal differential (-22) in the league and have a league-worst 4.62 goals-against average. Neither John Gibson nor Anthony Stolarz has a goals-against average below 3.90.

    27. Vancouver Canucks (Last Week: 30 / Move: +3)

    The Canucks were 4-1-1 in six games heading into a Wednesday visit to Montreal for the second in a five-game trip that’ll take them to Toronto, Boston, and Buffalo before a return home on November 18. Vancouver scored five goals or more in each of the four wins and is led by Bo Horvat’s 12 in 13 games.

    26. Pittsburgh Penguins (Last Week: 22 / Move: -4)

    Another team that’s foundering after a promising start, the Penguins have won just two of their last 10 after opening at 2-0. Pittsburgh recalled 22-year-old center Filip Hallander from the AHL after he’d had four goals and five assists in 10 games at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. He played one NHL game last season.

Nos. 25-21: Predators, Coyotes, Wild, Blackhawks, Flames

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    Minnesota winger Kirill Kaprizov was given a game misconduct following a high-sticking call involving Los Angeles defenseman Drew Doughty.
    Rob Curtis/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

    25. Nashville Predators (Last Week: 29 / Move: +4)

    A road trip that had begun to turn in Nashville’s favor thanks to wins in Calgary and Nashville went sour in Seattle to the tune of a 5-1 loss in which starting goalie and 2021-22 all-star Jusse Saros was pulled after allowing four goals on six shots. “It got away from us in the first,” coach John Hynes said.

    24. Arizona Coyotes (Last Week: 27 / Move: +3)

    Who needs home ice? The Coyotes went 1-2-1 in their first four-game stand at their Arizona State residence but took to the road and found immediate success with wins at Washington and Buffalo. They’ll be out of state for 12 more games before finally getting back to Arizona on Dec. 9.

    23. Minnesota Wild (Last Week: 16 / Move: -7)

    File Minnesota among the “hardest to figure out” teams so far in 2022-23. The Wild opened at 1-3-1 through five games, responded with five straight victories and then were shut out in consecutive games by Seattle and Los Angeles. Kirill Kaprizov was ejected against the Kings for cross-checking Drew Doughty and may face a suspension pending an incident review by the league’s brass.

    22. Chicago Blackhawks (Last Week: 24 / Move: +2)

    The Blackhawks ended a 0-2-2 skid over four games with a 2-1 defeat of visiting Los Angeles, but then headed to Winnipeg to begin a three-game trip and exited with a 4-0 loss. Chicago has scored just nine goals in five games since netting five against Edmonton on October 27.

    21. Calgary Flames (Last Week: 10 / Move: -11)

    A glittering 5-1 start has been gathered in by a six-game winless streak in which the Flames have lost four times in regulation. A three-game eastern trip that’ll end Thursday in Boston began with consecutive one-goal losses at the New York Islanders (4-3 in OT) and New Jersey (3-2).

Nos. 20-16: Canadiens, Sabres, Capitals, Rangers, Panthers

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    Tage Thompson's goal against Arizona gave Buffalo at least one power-play tally in seven straight games.
    Joshua Bessex/Getty Images

    20. Montréal Canadiens (Last Week: 21 / Move: +1)

    The Canadiens have gotten quite familiar with close games, having had eight of 13 games decided by one or two goals. They’ve won exactly half those games and were 1-1-1 for the week, losing to Winnipeg in OT, defeating Detroit in a shootout, and losing 6-4 to front-running Vegas.

    19. Buffalo Sabres (Last Week 7 / Move: -12)

    A recent skid reached three on Tuesday when the Sabres dropped a 4-1 decision to visiting Arizona despite entering the game as the league’s top-scoring team. The lone goal came from Tage Thompson on the power play, giving Buffalo at least one with a man-advantage in seven straight games.

    18. Washington Capitals (Last Week: 18 / Move: 0)

    The injury cloud is beginning to lift in Washington, where forwards T.J. Oshie, Tom Wilson and Nicklas Backstrom have resumed on-ice work. The Capitals entered the week with 66 man-games lost to injury already in 2022-23, good for fourth in the league behind Montreal, Toronto and Philadelphia.

    17. New York Rangers (Last Week: 6 / Move: -11)

    Losing three straight is bad. Blowing two-goal leads in two of them is worse. And having one of the rallies engineered by your rivals from Long Island is, well…awful. “I can’t pinpoint any one thing, but I think we were sitting back too much and we'rre trying not to lose,” forward Vincent Trocheck said.

    16. Florida Panthers (Last Week: 15 / Move: -1)

    It’s been a consistently inconsistent ride thus far for the Panthers, who’d neither won nor lost more than two in a row through their first 13 games heading into Wednesday night. Forward Matthew Tkachuk picked up a two-game suspension for hitting Los Angeles goalie Jonathan Quick with his stick.

Nos. 15-11: Kings, Oilers, Lightning, Avalanche, Maple Leafs

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    A shutout of Minnesota gave Jonathan Quick 57 for his career and moved him into a tie for 22nd on the NHL's all-time list.
    Gary A. Vasquez/NHLI via Getty Images

    15. Los Angeles Kings (Last Week: 19 / Move: +4)

    The Kings have struggled to find consistency, too, but they finished the ranking week with two straight victories, including a 1-0 blanking of Minnesota that netted Jonathan Quick his 57th career shutout. That’s good for a 22nd-place tie in NHL history alongside Hall of Famer Clint Benedict.

    14. Edmonton Oilers (Last Week: 5 / Move: -9)

    A topsy-turvy start has been the rule in Edmonton as well, where the Oilers followed a five-game win streak with three losses before bouncing back to win at Tampa Bay on Tuesday. Winger Evander Kane left the ice after having his wrist cut by a skate blade and tweeted Wednesday that he’s “on the mend.”

    13. Tampa Bay Lightning (Last Week: 13 / Move: 0)

    The loss to the Oilers was particularly frustrating for coach Jon Cooper because all three Edmonton goals came on special teams—two on the power play and one while shorthanded. "They take advantage of their special teams, get the lead, and then they hold on," he said. "It's tough to come back in this league.”

    12. Colorado Avalanche (Last Week: 20 / Move: +8)

    The defending champions started to resemble themselves a little bit in a two-game week in which they won both games and scored 11 goals while allowing just four. That said, injuries are beginning to stack up, sending Valeri Nichushkin, Bowen Byram and Sam Girard to the shelf alongside the already unavailable Gabriel Landeskog and Darren Helm.

    11. Toronto Maple Leafs (Last Week: 23 / Move: +12)

    Things were bleak in Toronto as a skid dragged into an 0-2-2 stretch, but the needle moved to recovery territory with a 3-0-1 run in which the Maple Leafs scored 13 goals and allowed only eight. In more good news, goalie Matt Murray might be back by the weekend after sitting for weeks with a torn adductor.

Nos. 10-6: Red Wings, Stars, Islanders, Flyers, Kraken

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    Flyers goalie Felix Sandstrom defeated St. Louis to pick up his first win in the NHL.
    Andy Lewis/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

    10. Detroit Red Wings (Last Week: 14 / Move: +4)

    The Red Wings welcomed the calendar flip from October to November with three straight victories before the run was ended with a shootout loss to visiting Montreal on Tuesday. Canadiens goalie Jake Allen made 41 shots in the game, which left Detroit captain Dylan Larkin satisfied. “If we play that game 10 times we could win eight games," he said.

    9. Dallas Stars (Last Week: 8 / Move: -1)

    The Stars were shining bright after a so-so start in Dallas, winning three straight against Los Angeles, Arizona and Edmonton by a combined 18-6 count before falling back to Earth with a 5-1 loss against Winnipeg and former coach Rick Bowness in the finale of a three-game trip. Still, forward Jason Robertson has scored in six straight and has nine for the season.

    8. New York Islanders (Last Week: 12 / Move: +4)

    It's difficult for a franchise with as rich a history as New York's to break new ground, but the 2022-23 Islanders did it when defeats of Calgary and the New York Rangers on Monday and Tuesday marked the first time they'd won consecutive games after trailing by multiple goals at the end of the second period.

    7. Philadelphia Flyers (Last Week: 9 / Move: +2)

    At some point, this John Tortorella standings bump has got to wear off, right? Well it hasn't happened yet for the Flyers, who shook off a 5-2 road loss at Toronto with a 2-1 win at Ottawa that was followed by a 5-1 defeat of visiting St. Louis. The win over the Blues was the first in the NHL for backup goalie Felix Sandstrom, who stopped 27 of 28 shots.

    6. Seattle Kraken (Last Week: 17 / Move: +11)

    The 3-4-2 start to the season suddenly looks downright terrible compared to the five games since, in which the Kraken have gone 5-0 while outscoring their opponents by a 20-8 margin. It's the first five-gamer in admittedly brief franchise history and a 5-1 defeat of Nashville on Tuesday included the team's first four-goal period that didn't include an empty-netter.

Nos. 5-1: Jets, Hurricanes, Devils, Bruins, Golden Knights

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    Winnipeg coach Rick Bowness picked up his first win against his former team, the Dallas Stars.
    Darcy Finley/NHLI via Getty Images

    5. Winnipeg Jets (Last Week: 11 / Move: +6)

    The Jets stretched a points streak streak to six games (5-0-1) since a 2-3 start. The most recent win was a 5-1 rout of Dallas in which new coach Rick Bowness met his former team for the first time, “You know he circles that one on his calendar, especially being at home in Winnipeg for that one,” forward Mark Scheifele said.

    4. Carolina Hurricanes (Last Week: 3 / Move: -1)

    The Hurricanes strung four straight wins bridging October into November before dropping a 3-1 decision to Toronto on Sunday. Carolina hosts Edmonton on Thursday before a quick trip that'll include games in Colorado and Chicago. Of some concern, goalie Frederik Andersen left a Tuesday practice and the team recalled AHL goalie Pyotr Kochetkov.

    3. New Jersey Devils (Last Week: 3 / Move: 0)

    There's no team in the Eastern Conference hotter than the Devils, who've won seven straight to climb into first place in the Metropolitan Division. New Jersey earned wins four, five and six on a western trip to Vancouver, Edmonton and Calgary before returning home to beat the Flames again on Tuesday. It's the team's longest streak since 2011 and helped tie a franchise mark from 1993-94 for fewest games needed to reach 10 wins.

    2. Boston Bruins (Last Week: 1 / Move: -1)

    Pity the poor Bruins, whose 11-2 record through 13 games is only good enough for second-best in the league and now second-best in the power rankings after a two-week stay at No. 1. Boston is unbeaten in seven games at home and possesses the league's best goal differential at plus-23. And that's been without top-pairing defenseman Charlie McAvoy, who'll be back soon as he winds up rehab from an injury suffered during last spring's playoffs.

    1. Vegas Golden Knights (Last Week: 2 / Move: +1)

    Where the Eastern Conference has its streaking Devils, it's all about the Golden Knights out West, where Vegas has won eight straight and still boasts the league's best goals-against average (2.14). Rookie Logan Thompson is 7-2 in nine starts and is among the league's leaders in goals-against average (2.12, seventh), save percentage (.930, eighth) and shutouts (2, tied for first). "He's been fantastic," defenseman Shea Theodore said.