NHL Power Rankings: Bruins and Devils Stay on Top; Avalanche and Stars Drop

Lyle Fitzsimmons@@fitzbitzFeatured Columnist IIIDecember 8, 2022

NHL Power Rankings: Bruins and Devils Stay on Top; Avalanche and Stars Drop

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    PHILADELPHIA, PA - DECEMBER 05: Nathan MacKinnon #29 of the Colorado Avalanche looks on against the Philadelphia Flyers in the first period at the Wells Fargo Center on December 5, 2022 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
    Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

    The more things change, the more they stay the same. And the NHL is no different.

    Such is the case in Boston and New Jersey, where the Bruins and Devils continued their respective torrid starts to the 2022-23 regular season and maintained their locks on the top two spots in the B/R Power Rankings for the fourth consecutive week.

    The teams were first and second on each of the six weekly ballots, with four giving the top spot to the Bruins while the other two gave the position to the Devils.

    The Vegas Golden Knights were third and the Toronto Maple Leafs fourth on all six ballots as well, while the Winnipeg Jets leaped up to fifth with inclusion on five of six ballots.

    Following two months of significant weekly movement, only one team, the Dallas Stars, moved as many as five spots—dropping from seventh to 12th.

    Our panel 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, Blackhawks, Sharks, Coyotes, Blue Jackets, Senators, Flyers

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    Philadelphia Flyers goaltender Carter Hart makes a save as Colorado Avalanche's Logan O'Connor closes in during the first period of an NHL hockey game, Monday, Dec. 5, 2022, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Derik Hamilton)
    AP Photo/Derik Hamilton

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

    The Ducks had won just six of 26 games and were mired in a six-game skid, so it’s only natural that they defeated an elite Carolina team on Tuesday that arrived having won four straight. Disney magic!

    31. Chicago Blackhawks (Last Week: 31 / Move: 0)

    Two straight losses and a 1-8-1 stretch in their last 10 games have the Blackhawks perilously close to the NHL basement with 18 points—just one ahead of Anaheim’s 17 through Wednesday’s games.

    30. San Jose Sharks (Last Week: 30 / Move: 0)

    The Sharks returned home Wednesday after an inglorious eastern trip that started with a win at Montreal but devolved into three straight losses in which they were outscored 14-6.

    29. Arizona Coyotes (Last Week: 27 / Move: -2)

    The Coyotes had scratched and clawed their way to a .500 points percentage before a 10-game stretch that saw them regress with just one win and three OT losses heading into Wednesday.

    28. Columbus Blue Jackets (Last Week: 29 / Move: +1)

    An already difficult start got no easier on Monday when forward Jake Voracek suggested his chances of playing anymore this season are "very slim" thanks to persistent concussion symptoms.

    27. Ottawa Senators (Last Week: 28 / Move: +1)

    The Senators proceeded positively through a back-to-back at the New York Rangers and home against San Jose, winning twice by a combined 8-4 clip before stumbling against visiting Los Angeles on Tuesday.

    26. Philadelphia Flyers (Last Week: 25 / Move: -1)

    Losing two straight while scoring only three goals to begin the week was bad, but the Flyers salvaged something with a 5-3 win over the Avalanche on Monday with Carter Hart stopping 29 shots.

Nos. 25-21: Sabres, Blues, Capitals, Canucks, Canadiens

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    VANCOUVER, CANADA - DECEMBER 5: Johnathan Kovacevic #26 of the Montréal Canadiens looks on as Brock Boeser #6 of the Vancouver Canucks takes a shot during their NHL game at Rogers Arena December 5, 2022 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.  (Photo by Jeff Vinnick/NHLI via Getty Images)
    Jeff Vinnick/NHLI via Getty Images

    25. Buffalo Sabres (Last Week 26 / Move: +1)

    Losing eight straight was less than ideal, but the Sabres have bounced back with a 4-2-1 run in their subsequent seven games heading into a Wednesday night visit to Columbus.

    24. St. Louis Blues (Last Week: 20 / Move: -4)

    The back-and-forth Blues ended their latest downturn—a four-game losing streak—with a 7-4 road defeat of the New York Islanders. St. Louis scored 11 goals in the four losses. Unfortunately they allowed 22.

    23. Washington Capitals (Last Week: 23 / Move: 0)

    The Capitals were in Philadelphia on Wednesday to wrap up a six-game trip that had included wins in Vancouver and Edmonton. Darcy Kuemper hasn’t played since Saturday with an upper-body injury.

    22. Vancouver Canucks (Last Week: 24 / Move: +2)

    An awful start turned up the heat on Bruce Boudreau after last season’s revival, but two straight wins and a 7-3 run in 10 games have settled things a bit—including a rally from 4-0 to beat Montreal on Monday.

    21. Montréal Canadiens (Last Week: 19 / Move: -2)

    The Canadiens got five points on a four-game western swing but let one get away after blowing a big lead and losing in OT at Vancouver. They’re home for four of five before another extended trip begins.

Nos. 20-16: Rangers, Panthers, Flames, Oilers, Kings

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    CALGARY, AB - DECEMBER 05: Calgary Flames Goalie Dan Vladar (80) keeps his eye on the play during the first period of an NHL game between the Calgary Flames and the Arizona Coyotes on December 5, 2022, at the Scotiabank Saddledome in Calgary, AB. (Photo by Brett Holmes/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
    Brett Holmes/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

    20. New York Rangers (Last Week: 22 / Move: +2)

    Twenty-nine points and a .537 points percentage through 27 games isn’t a dreadful start, but it’s far less than what was expected in New York and spurred the thought that Gerard Gallant’s seat is warming.

    19. Florida Panthers (Last Week: 21 / Move: +2)

    The Panthers were 2-1-1 on a trip before a 5-2 loss in Winnipeg in coach Paul Maurice’s first game against the team he coached for 600 games. “It'll always be a special place," he said.

    18. Calgary Flames (Last Week: 18 / Move: 0)

    Allowing five goals on 44 shots in two losses prompted Jacob Markstrom to declare he "I suck at hockey right now" and yielded two straight starts for Dan Vladar, who made 45 saves in beating Washington and Arizona.

    17. Edmonton Oilers (Last Week: 15 / Move: -2)

    A porous defense that was allowing 33.6 shots and 3.58 goals per game heading into Wednesday could be helped by the likes of San Jose’s Erik Karlsson if a suggestion by TSN insider Darren Dreger is true.

    16. Los Angeles Kings (Last Week: 14 / Move: -2)

    Winger Alex Iafallo returned to the fold on Tuesday against Ottawa and registered an assist in his first game action since mid-October after a lower-body injury. He has six points in five games played.

Nos. 15-11: Predators, Avalanche, Wild, Stars, Islanders

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    DALLAS, TX - DECEMBER 4: Jordan Greenway #18 and Ryan Reaves #75 of the Minnesota Wild celebrate a goal against the Dallas Stars at the American Airlines Center on December 4, 2022 in Dallas, Texas. (Photo by Glenn James/NHLI via Getty Images)
    Glenn James/NHLI via Getty Images

    15. Nashville Predators (Last Week: 17 / Move: +2)

    Defenseman Ryan McDonagh will miss at least a couple of weeks with an upper-body injury, but things are going well in the meantime for the Predators, who’ve won three straight and are 7-2-1 in their last 10.

    14. Colorado Avalanche (Last Week: 10 / Move: -4)

    The defending champs have the depth to ward off Nathan MacKinnon’s upper-body injury without an apocalypse, but losing your leading scorer for four weeks surely doesn’t help matters.

    13. Minnesota Wild (Last Week: 16 / Move: +3)

    Burly winger Ryan Reaves has played five games with the Wild since coming over from the Rangers for a fifth-round pick, and the team has won four with the only loss coming by one goal.

    12. Dallas Stars (Last Week: 7 / Move: -5)

    An 18-game run in which Jason Robertson produced 21 goals and 34 points finally came to an end with a 4-0 loss to visiting Toronto. Robertson entered Wednesday as the league’s top goal scorer with 23.

    11. New York Islanders (Last Week: 9 / Move: -2)

    A stretch of three losses in four games got a little worse on Tuesday against St. Louis when the Islanders dropped a 7-4 decision and saw defenseman Adam Pelech leave with an upper-body injury.

Nos. 10-6: Penguins, Lightning, Hurricanes, Red Wings, Kraken

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    SEATTLE, WASHINGTON - DECEMBER 6: Shane Wright #51 of the Seattle Kraken celebrates his first career NHL goal with the bench during the first period of a game against the Montreal Canadiens at Climate Pledge Arena on December 6, 2022 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Christopher Mast/NHLI via Getty Images)
    Christopher Mast/NHLI via Getty Images

    10. Pittsburgh Penguins (Last Week: 13 / Move: +3)

    It was another up week for the red-hot Penguins, who’ve won three straight, are 8-1-1 in their last 10 and got two goals from Sidney Crosby in a 4-1 defeat of visiting Columbus on Tuesday.

    9. Tampa Bay Lightning (Last Week: 12 / Move: +3)

    They were still 10 points off the Atlantic Division-leading Bruins heading into Wednesday, but the Lightning have looked more like themselves with a 7-3 stretch—scoring 31 goals in the victories.

    8. Carolina Hurricanes (Last Week: 8 / Move: 0)

    The first four games of a six-game trip have been a success for the surging Hurricanes, who won in Pittsburgh, St. Louis and Los Angeles before getting a point with an OT loss at Anaheim.

    7. Detroit Red Wings (Last Week: 11 / Move: +4)

    It’s getting difficult to doubt the Red Wings, who’ve gone 6-2-2 in their last 10 games and beat Tampa Bay 4-2 on Tuesday in coach Derek Lalonde’s return to a building where he’d been an assistant.

    6. Seattle Kraken (Last Week: 3 / Move: -3)

    A seven-game win streak that bridged November and December was halted with a 5-1 home loss to Florida and became a skid with a 4-2 loss to Montreal, though Shane Wright did score his first NHL goal.

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

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    DALLAS, TEXAS - DECEMBER 06: Mitchell Marner #16 of the Toronto Maple Leafs skates with the puck during the first period against the Dallas Stars at American Airlines Center on December 06, 2022 in Dallas, Texas. (Photo by Sam Hodde/NHLI via Getty Images)
    Sam Hodde/NHLI via Getty Images

    5. Winnipeg Jets (Last Week: 6 / Move: +1)

    While Paul Maurice was emotional in returning to face the Jets after leaving the team during last season, Winnipeg forward Mark Scheifele simply wanted the win. "I’m pretty happy with that one," he said.

    4. Toronto Maple Leafs (Last Week: 5 / Move: +1)

    The Maple Leafs have managed at least one standings point in 12 straight games after the win in Dallas, a stretch in which they’re 9-0-3. Mitch Marner has at least a point in each game since October 24.

    3. Vegas Golden Knights (Last Week: 4 / Move: +1)

    Call it satisfaction for coach Bruce Cassidy, who returned to Boston after being fired last spring and saw his new team end the Bruins' home win streak at 14. "He was fired up ready to go," goalie Logan Thompson said.

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

    Ho hum. It’s just another 5-0-1 streak for the still-hot Devils, who ascended to No. 1 overall in the league—two points ahead of Boston—with a shutout of Chicago on Tuesday. They became the sixth team in league history to win 21 times in their first 26 games.

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

    It’s a similar story with the blistering Bruins, who were 10-1-1 in 12 games heading into Wednesday night and dating back to early November. A team goals-against average of 2.17 was the league’s best as well and No. 1 goalie Linus Ullmark was 14-1 in his first 17 appearances with an average of 1.93 goals against.

    Statistics accurate through Tuesday, December 6.

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