NHL Power Rankings: Bruins Stay on Top with Scorching Devils Right Behind

Lyle Fitzsimmons@@fitzbitzFeatured Columnist IIINovember 23, 2022

NHL Power Rankings: Bruins Stay on Top with Scorching Devils Right Behind

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    NEWARK, NEW JERSEY - OCTOBER 03: Trent Frederic #11 of the Boston Bruins skates against the New Jersey Devils at Prudential Center on October 03, 2022 in Newark, New Jersey. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
    Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

    Thanksgiving week has arrived in the U.S.

    And while to many that means overloading on turkey, stuffing and family gatherings, when it comes to the NHL the message is important, albeit not quite official.

    With nearly one-quarter of the 2022-23 schedule now in the rearview mirror, most teams have settled into an identity that'll carry them through the balance of the season. In fact, recent history suggests that three-quarters of the teams in playoff slots at this point will indeed go on to be a part of the postseason tournament come springtime.

    It's getting harder to envision any other scenario in either Boston or New Jersey, where the Bruins and Devils have combined to go 33-5 through their first 19 games while going 1-2 in the league when it comes to regulation wins, goals scored and goal differential.

    It's no different when it comes to B/R's Power Rankings, which have the teams 1-2 for the second straight week after voting by a five-person panel. Boston and New Jersey arrived to this week's polling riding win streaks of seven and 13 games, respectively,

    Three of five voters had Boston first in this week's balloting, while New Jersey claimed the other two first-place votes and Vegas was third on four of five. The Colorado Avalanche crashed the top-five party on the strength of three fourth-place tallies, while the Winnipeg Jets hung on for fifth thanks to top-five inclusion on three of five ballots.

    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: Ducks, Sabres, Senators, Canucks, Sharks, Blackhawks, Coyotes

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    NASHVILLE, TN - NOVEMBER 21:  Jakob Chychrun #6 of the Arizona Coyotes skates the puck against the Nashville Predators during the third period at Bridgestone Arena on November 21, 2022 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images)
    Brett Carlsen/Getty Images

    32. Anaheim Ducks (Last Week: 32 / Move: 0)

    It’s three losses in a row and seven in 10 games in November for the woeful Ducks, who somehow still have zero regulation wins after 19 games. Of the five victories they have managed, three have come in overtime and two others in shootouts.

    31. Buffalo Sabres (Last Week 25 / Move: -6)

    It’s tough to remember the good times in Buffalo, where the Sabres were a red-hot 7-3 to begin the season but had dropped eight in a row heading into Tuesday’s game at Montréal. General manager Kevyn Adams is angling for “sustainable success” with a roster that was the league’s youngest to enter the season.

    30. Ottawa Senators (Last Week: 30 / Move: 0)

    A Stanley Cup wasn’t expected, but it wasn’t supposed to be this bad in Ottawa, which started a four-game road trip with an ugly 5-1 loss in San Jose. Injuries to Josh Norris and Cam Talbot haven’t helped, and trade prize Alex DeBrincat has just five goals in 18 games after scoring 41 last season.

    29. Vancouver Canucks (Last Week: 29 / Move: 0)

    A 5-4 loss to visiting Vegas on Monday was more of the same for the Canucks, who blew a multi-goal lead for the seventh time this season. That’s just two off their franchise record in that inglorious stat for an entire season in 1986-87.

    28. San Jose Sharks (Last Week: 28 / Move: 0)

    The Sharks gave up nine goals while losing the first two games of a homestand before settling down for a 5-1 defeat of visiting Ottawa on Monday. Defenseman Erik Karlsson had an assist in 25-plus minutes of ice time and leads all blue-liners in goals (11), assists (18) and points (29).

    27. Chicago Blackhawks (Last Week: 21 / Move: -6)

    Chicago’s most recent skid reached four games with a 5-3 home loss to Pittsburgh on Sunday, and the Blackhawks are 2-7-3 in 12 games since a 4-2 start in October. They’ve been outscored 19-6 in the 0-4 stretch and are last in the league with 2.44 goals scored per game.

    26. Arizona Coyotes (Last Week: 26 / Move: 0)

    A shootout loss in Nashville wasn’t a great result, but the Coyotes were boosted by the presence of defenseman Jakob Chychrun on the ice for the first time this season. He hadn’t played since suffering an ankle injury in March and also underwent wrist surgery during the offseason.

Nos. 25-21: Blue Jackets, Capitals, Flyers, Wild, Panthers

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    SAINT PAUL, MN - NOVEMBER 17: Kirill Kaprizov #97 of the Minnesota Wild warms up prior to the game against the Pittsburgh Penguins at the Xcel Energy Center on November 17, 2022 in Saint Paul, Minnesota. (Photo by Bruce Kluckhohn/NHLI via Getty Images)
    Bruce Kluckhohn/NHLI via Getty Images

    25. Columbus Blue Jackets (Last Week: 31 / Move: +6)

    It’s not a good sign when all you can manage to say is, “Well, at least we’re not Anaheim.” But that’s about the size of things for the Blue Jackets, who were 12-6 after 18 games last season and are 7-10-1 this year. Only one team, the Ducks, has allowed more goals than Columbus’ 78.

    24. Washington Capitals (Last Week: 23 / Move: -1)

    The Capitals haven’t won since a 5-1 defeat of Tampa Bay on November 11, going 0-3-1 in the meantime while allowing 19 regulation goals. An interesting remedy could come in the form of San Jose's Karlsson, whom Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman connected to Washington in a recent podcast.

    23. Philadelphia Flyers (Last Week: 18 / Move: -5)

    Philadelphia hasn’t won since November 8, has gone 0-5-2 in the meantime and, perhaps most importantly, has allowed at least four goals in each of the losses. Goalie Carter Hart has started all but one of the games and has a 3.63 goals-against average and .876 save percentage in the skid.

    22. Minnesota Wild (Last Week: 20 / Move: -2)

    The Wild dropped three in a row before rallying to defeat Carolina 2-1 in overtime on Saturday. Forward Kirill Kaprizov notched a point for the sixth straight game and is the third player in franchise history to have 10 goals and 10 assists in 20 or fewer games, joining Marián Gáborík and Zach Parise.

    21. Florida Panthers (Last Week: 10 / Move: -11)

    It’s three losses in a row and four in five games for the foundering Panthers, who are 0-6-1 this season when trailing after two periods and one of 12 teams that has yet to mount a third-period comeback in 2022-23. Last season, they led the league with 11 comeback victories.

Nos. 20-16: Predators, Oilers, Canadiens, Penguins, Flames

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    CHICAGO, IL - NOVEMBER 20: Pittsburgh Penguins center Sidney Crosby (87) looks on during a game between the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Chicago Blackhawks on November 20, 2022 at the United Center in Chicago, IL. (Photo by Melissa Tamez/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
    Melissa Tamez/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

    20. Nashville Predators (Last Week: 22 / Move: +2)

    A seven-round shootout resulted in a 4-3 defeat of Arizona on Monday and allowed the Predators to go 4-0-1 on a homestand before a Wednesday visit to Detroit. Nashville is 6-3-2 in 11 games at Bridgestone Arena this season but has won just three times in eight road games.

    19. Edmonton Oilers (Last Week: 13 / Move: -6)

    The Oilers became victim No. 13 for the Devils to begin a road trip on Monday that’ll include games against the New York Islanders and New York Rangers before they’re back home next week. Backup goalie Jack Campbell was hit near the eye by a puck in New Jersey and didn’t return to the bench.

    18. Montréal Canadiens (Last Week: 19 / Move: +1)

    The Canadiens had split the week heading into a Tuesday night date with visiting Buffalo, losing at Columbus and defeating Philadelphia in a shootout after tying the game in the final seconds of regulation. Defenseman Mike Matheson scored in his first game of the season after an injury.

    17. Pittsburgh Penguins (Last Week: 24 / Move: +7)

    The Penguins won three straight in Minnesota, Winnipeg and Chicago while doubling up their foes, 14-7, on the scoreboard. Sidney Crosby had three goals and seven assists on the road trip and was named the league’s first star for the week for the second time this season.

    16. Calgary Flames (Last Week: 16 / Move: 0)

    Jonathan Huberdeau’s goal in a 5-2 defeat of Philadelphia was just his third of the season in 15 games but gave him at least a point in four of the last five as he tries to shake off a slow start in his new city. Huberdeau had a career-best 115 points last season with the Florida Panthers.

Nos. 15-11: Kings, Blues, Red Wings, Lightning, Rangers

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    COLUMBUS, OHIO - NOVEMBER 19: Filip Hronek #17 of the Detroit Red Wings celebrates his goal against the Columbus Blue Jackets during the second period at Nationwide Arena on November 19, 2022 in Columbus, Ohio. (Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images)
    Emilee Chinn/Getty Images

    15. Los Angeles Kings (Last Week: 14 / Move: -1)

    The Kings had lost three of four games heading into Tuesday night’s visit by the New York Rangers and had been held to just three goals in consecutive road losses at Vancouver and Seattle. That said, the one victory against Edmonton was fueled by the first career hat trick from forward Trevor Moore.

    14. St. Louis Blues (Last Week: 27 / Move: +13)

    The Blues’ season has already been, in a word, chaotic. St. Louis started with three wins, lost eight straight and has now strung together seven wins to get back over .500. "That’s hockey. You stay with it. You keep fighting," goalie Jordan Binnington said. "We were trying, and it just wasn’t clicking.”

    13. Detroit Red Wings (Last Week: 17 / Move: +4)

    Consecutive routs of San Jose (7-4) and Columbus (6-1) marked the first time since 2008-09 that the Red Wings scored six goals in consecutive games. Defensemen were key to the outburst, combining to tally six of the 13 goals—including three of Filip Hronek’s four for the season.

    12. Tampa Bay Lightning (Last Week: 11 / Move: -1)

    The Lightning had won four straight and scored 18 goals in the process before the run was stalled by a 5-3 loss to visiting Boston on Monday. Tampa Bay hosts St. Louis on Friday before a three-game trip that’ll mean games in Buffalo and Philadelphia alongside a return match with the streaking Bruins.

    11. New York Rangers (Last Week: 15 / Move: +4)

    The Rangers remain one of the league’s best teams on the power play (25 percent, ninth overall) but are 23rd in scoring at full strength, and the power trio of Chris Kreider, Artemi Panarin and Mika Zibanejad has combined for just 19 points during five-on-five play.

Nos. 10-6: Islanders, Maple Leafs, Hurricanes, Kraken, Stars

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    SEATTLE, WA - NOVEMBER 19: Seattle Kraken center Matty Beniers (10) skates after the puck during an NHL game between the LA Kings and the Seattle Kraken on November 19, 2022 at Climate Pledge Arena in Seattle, WA. (Photo by Jeff Halstead/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
    Jeff Halstead/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

    10. New York Islanders (Last Week: 6 / Move: -4)

    The Islanders returned from a four-game road trip at 2-2, losing at Dallas and Nashville while sweeping the league’s two Ontario residents with wins at Ottawa and Toronto. Goalie Ilya Sorokin stopped 30 of 32 shots against the Maple Leafs and has a .900 or better save percentage in 10 of his 13 starts.

    9. Toronto Maple Leafs (Last Week: 8 / Move: -1)

    A 3-2 OT home loss to the New York Islanders was frustrating, but it was the fifth straight game with at least one standings point for the Maple Leafs, who visit streaking New Jersey on Wednesday. Ominously, defenseman Morgan Rielly left Monday’s game clutching his left knee after a collision with Kyle Palmieri.

    8. Carolina Hurricanes (Last Week: 5 / Move: -3)

    The Hurricanes’ record in one-goal games took a hit thanks to three straight defeats—3-2 in OT to Colorado, 2-1 in OT to Minnesota and 4-3 in OT to Winnipeg—within a week. Equally frustrating is the team’s power play, which is 0-of-16 in its last five games and now 30th in the league.

    7. Seattle Kraken (Last Week: 12 / Move: +5)

    It’s a tale of two draft picks in Seattle, where Shane Wright, selected fourth overall in 2022, was sent to the AHL after producing one point in seven games and being scratched 11 times. Meanwhile, Matty Beniers has five goals and six assists in full-time play after he was picked second overall in 2021.

    6. Dallas Stars (Last Week: 7 / Move: +1)

    The Stars remained consistent in a shootout loss to Colorado, running their streak of games with at least one standings point to five. They’re 3-0-2 in that quintet and have scored 22 goals to move into a tie with New Jersey for the league’s second-best goals-per-game average (3.84).

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

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    TAMPA, FL - NOVEMBER 21: Patrice Bergeron #37 and Brad Marchand #63 of the Boston Bruins celebrate a goal against the Tampa Bay Lightning and Bergerons 1000th career NHL point during the second period at Amalie Arena on November 21, 2022 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Mike Carlson/NHLI via Getty Images)
    Mike Carlson/NHLI via Getty Images

    5. Winnipeg Jets (Last Week: 4 / Move: -1)

    The good outweighed the bad in Winnipeg’s tumultuous 4-3 defeat of Carolina on Monday, which saw the Jets up 3-0 with five minutes to play before the Hurricanes scored three times with an empty net to force OT. There, Josh Morrissey scored to ice the Jets’ sixth win in eight November games.

    4. Colorado Avalanche (Last Week: 9 / Move: +5)

    The rise toward the top continues for the defending Stanley Cup champions, who’ve won three straight and seven of eight in November. In the most recent win, 3-2 at Dallas on Monday, Cale Makar became the fastest defenseman in league history to reach 200 career points—in his 195th NHL game.

    3. Vegas Golden Knights (Last Week: 3 / Move: 0)

    A two-game stint up north yielded three of a possible four standings points for the Pacific-leading Golden Knights, who were beaten in OT in Edmonton before rallying for a 5-4 win in Vancouver on Monday. Vegas is now home for three straight before a four-game exodus begins November 28.

    2. New Jersey Devils (Last Week: 2 / Move: 0)

    Things are getting downright historical in the Garden State, where the Devils’ defeat of Edmonton on Monday equaled the franchise record of 13 straight wins from the 2000-01 season. A chance at a new mark comes Wednesday against Toronto. “I think the team deserves a standing ovation,” coach Lindy Ruff said. “A run like this is incredible.”

    1. Boston Bruins (Last Week: 1 / Move: 0)

    Speaking of history, no team in the league’s history has won more in its first 19 games than Boston, whose 17 victories equal the 1929-30 Bruins. That team lost in the Stanley Cup Final and only one team with at least 16 wins in its first 19 games wound up winning a title. Meanwhile, Patrice Bergeron’s assist on Monday against Tampa Bay made him the fourth Boston player and 94th in league history to reach 1,000 points.