NHL Power Rankings: Capitals, Penguins and Rangers All Rise as Bruins Stay at No. 1

Lyle Fitzsimmons@@fitzbitzFeatured Columnist IIIDecember 15, 2022

NHL Power Rankings: Capitals, Penguins and Rangers All Rise as Bruins Stay at No. 1

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    WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 12: Washington Capitals goaltender Darcy Kuemper (35) makes a save on shot by Boston Bruins right wing David Pastrnak (88) during the Boston Bruins game versus the Washington Capitals on October 12, 2022 at the Capital One Arena in Washington, D.C.  (Photo by Mark Goldman/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
    Mark Goldman/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

    It's good to be a Boston hockey fan.

    The Bruins have won 23 of their first 28 games, haven't lost a home game in regulation (15-0-1) and have the best goal-differential in the league by a wide margin.

    So let's face it, it's been good to be a Boston fan for a couple months.

    The Bruins held on to the top spot in B/R's Power Rankings for the fifth straight week by sweeping all five first-place votes. Meanwhile the Toronto Maple Leafs and New Jersey Devils swapped spots with Toronto taking over second and New Jersey dropping to third after four weeks at No. 2.

    The Vegas Golden Knights and Pittsburgh Penguins rounded out the top five with the Golden Knights dropping a spot from third to fourth and the Penguins leaping from 10th to fifth.

    Also rising up the ladder are the Washington Capitals, Pittsburgh Penguins and New York Rangers, who spiked eight, five and seven spots, respectively.

    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, Blue Jackets, Sharks, Coyotes, Flyers, Senators

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    SAN JOSE, CA - DECEMBER 13: Nick Bonino #13 of the San Jose Sharks celebrates scoring a goal against the Arizona Coyotes at SAP Center on December 13, 2022 in San Jose, California. (Photo by Kavin Mistry/NHLI via Getty Images)
    Kavin Mistry/NHLI via Getty Images

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

    One win in 10 games for the Ducks was bad enough without goalie John Gibson leaving a Tuesday night game against Toronto—which ended in a 7-0 loss—with what the team simply labeled "discomfort."

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

    In a development that'll shock no one, veterans Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews will apparently meet with Blackhawks brass in January to discuss their futures, per Dave Pagnotta of The Fourth Period.

    30. Columbus Blue Jackets (Last Week: 28 / Move: -2)

    Russian-born winger Kirill Marchenko spent four years in the KHL and 16 games in the AHL before finally arriving in Columbus and getting his NHL run going with career goal No. 1 Sunday against Los Angeles.

    29. San Jose Sharks (Last Week: 30 / Move: +1)

    Take a bow if you had Nick Bonino in the "he'll score a goal in four straight games" pool. That's precisely what the 34-year-old has done for the Sharks after not scoring in the season's first 24 games.

    28. Arizona Coyotes (Last Week: 29 / Move: +1)

    One arrest and a gnawed finger made the scoresheet after a fan brawl during a Friday game against Boston. Meanwhile, on the ice, a 4-3 victory ended Arizona's 19-game losing streak against the Bruins.

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

    It's been 4-11-5 over the last 20 for the Flyers, and perhaps the biggest concern is the nosedive in the defensive end, where the team goals-against average has swelled to 3.27, 21st in the league.

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

    The good news: Cam Talbot stopped 32 shots for his first shutout with the Senators in a 3-0 defeat of Anaheim on Monday. The bad news: Tim Stutzle left the game with an upper-body injury.

Nos. 25-21: Blues, Canucks, Sabres, Predators, Panthers

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    BUFFALO, NEW YORK - DECEMBER 13: Tage Thompson #72 of the Buffalo Sabres celebrates scoring a goal during the third period of an NHL hockey game against the Los Angeles Kings at KeyBank Center on December 13, 2022 in Buffalo, New York. (Photo by Joshua Bessex/Getty Images)
    Joshua Bessex/Getty Images

    25. St. Louis Blues (Last Week: 24 / Move: -1)

    One night doesn't erase a 2-8 slide but it was still a nice tonic for the stumbling Blues, who got a 25-save shutout from Jordan Binnington in his first win since Nov. 21—ending an 0-6-1 stretch.

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

    Bo Horvat is in the final throes of a six-year contract, but he doesn't want to publicly discuss a trade. "I just want people to respect my privacy and my choice to keep this confidential and private," he said.

    23. Buffalo Sabres (Last Week 25 / Move: +2)

    No goals on 15 shots in the first 40 minutes on Tuesday against Los Angeles exploded into six goals on 16 shots in the final period of a 6-0 win, including two by Tage Thompson to lift him to 23 on the season.

    22. Nashville Predators (Last Week: 15 / Move: -7)

    Keep the Predators away from the Edmonton Oilers. Nashville's run of bad luck against the Oilers reached eight straight games on Tuesday night and stretches back to February 2019.

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

    A 14-12-4 start won't yield another Presidents' Trophy, but GM Bill Zito believes in the Panthers. "Are we building a team that can ultimately challenge for a Cup? I'm convinced we're doing that," he said.

Nos. 20-16: Flames, Canadiens, Kings, Red Wings, Oilers

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    NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE - DECEMBER 13: Connor McDavid #97 of the Edmonton Oilers celebrates his goal against the Nashville Predators during an NHL game at Bridgestone Arena on December 13, 2022 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by John Russell/NHLI via Getty Images)
    John Russell/NHLI via Getty Images

    20. Calgary Flames (Last Week: 18 / Move: -2)

    Defenseman Chris Tanev was helped from the ice after taking a shot to the head against Montreal. he doesn't stay down very often," goalie Jacob Markstrom said. "So when he stays down, you're worried."

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

    Cole Caufield left Monday's game with Calgary after a collision with Trevor Lewis and didn't return but won't miss extended time. It's a good thing for the Canadiens, whom he leads with 16 goals.

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

    A scoreless tie through two periods devolved into a 6-0 loss to the Sabres for the Kings. "Responsibility. Carelessness," coach Todd McLellan said. "Been talking about it all year. No, I can't explain it.

    17. Detroit Red Wings (Last Week: 7 / Move: -10)

    Dylan Larkin became the latest forward to hit the injury list when he left Tuesday's game with Carolina after getting hit by a puck. It won't help a team that's dropped three in a row and six of eight.

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

    FYI: Connor McDavid's pretty good. The Edmonton star produced four points Tuesday for the third time in a 10-game point streak and leads the league in goals (26), assists (33) and points (59).

Nos. 15-11: Capitals, Wild, Rangers, Islanders, Avalanche

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    CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - DECEMBER 13: Alex Ovechkin #8 of the Washington Capitals poses with the pucks from his 798th, 799th and 800th career goal after the game at United Center on December 13, 2022 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
    Michael Reaves/Getty Images

    15. Washington Capitals (Last Week: 23 / Move: +8)

    It's 800 down, 94 to go for Alex Ovechkin. If maintains his career scoring pace he'll equal Wayne Gretzky's league watermark in the early days of the 2023-24 season.

    14. Minnesota Wild (Last Week: 13 / Move: -1)

    The Wild ended a western swing with a 3-0 shutout in Vancouver and began a four-game stand with a 2-1 defeat of Edmonton with Filip Gustavsson and Marc-Andre-Fleury combining to stop 55 of 56 shots.

    13. New York Rangers (Last Week: 20 / Move: +7)

    It's four straight wins and seven straight with at least a point for the Rangers, who've surrendered just nine goals in the four victories—which included defeats of league front-runners New Jersey and Vegas.

    12. New York Islanders (Last Week: 11 / Move: -1)

    The Islanders have scored a power-play goal in seven of their last 10 games but have gone 0-for-6 in the last two, including an 0-for-3 against Boston in a shootout loss on Tuesday night.

    11. Colorado Avalanche (Last Week: 14 / Move: +3)

    A 3-2 defeat of Philadelphia on Tuesday night gave the Avalanche consecutive victories for the first time since they'd won three straight from Nov. 17-21. Colorado is 4-5-1 in 10 games since that run.

Nos. 10-6: Kraken, Stars, Jets, Lightning, Hurricanes

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    DETROIT, MI - DECEMBER 13: Pyotr Kochetkov #52 of the Carolina Hurricanes looks down the ice against the Detroit Red Wings during the third period of an NHL game at Little Caesars Arena on December 13, 2022 in Detroit, Michigan. Carolina defeated Detroit 1-0. (Photo by Dave Reginek/NHLI via Getty Images)
    Dave Reginek/NHLI via Getty Images

    10. Seattle Kraken (Last Week: 6 / Move: -4)

    The Kraken bandwagon is leaking oil as the team finds itself amid a season-worst run of four losses in five games. Seattle scored four goals in the six losses, far off its 3.5 average per game.

    9. Dallas Stars (Last Week: 12 / Move: +3)

    A 4-1 defeat of front-running New Jersey was the latest piece of a successful December puzzle for the Stars, who've picked up points in five of their last seven—including four wins.

    8. Winnipeg Jets (Last Week: 5 / Move: -3)

    A four-game win streak quickly turned into a two-game skid after the Jets opened a brief three-game homestand with losses to Washington and Vegas in which they allowed 11 goals.

    7. Tampa Bay Lightning (Last Week: 9 / Move: +2)

    A run of up-and-down weeks was decidedly up for the Lightning this time around thanks to a stretch that's yielded four wins in five games and a 14-game point streak for Steven Stamkos.

    6. Carolina Hurricanes (Last Week: 8 / Move: +2)

    Rookie Pyotr Kochetkov blanked Detroit on Tuesday to become the first Carolina goalie to record back-to-back shutouts since 2003. Kochetkov is 7-1-4 in 12 games with a 2.02 goals-against average.

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

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    TORONTO, ON - DECEMBER 13: Toronto Maple Leafs Right Wing Mitchell Marner (16) skates with the puck during the NHL regular season game between the Anaheim Ducks and the Toronto Maple Leafs on December 13, 2022, at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto, ON, Canada. (Photo by Julian Avram/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
    Julian Avram/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

    5. Pittsburgh Penguins (Last Week: 10 / Move: +5)

    There's not a hotter team in hockey that the Penguins and their six straight wins. Much of the reason for a 17-8-4 start comes from scoring balance that's led to 13 players with 10 or more points.

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

    The Golden Knights will have to do without Jack Eichel for a bit after he went on injured reserve with a lower-body problem. He's played in just three of the team's seven games in December.

    3. New Jersey Devils (Last Week: 2 / Move: -1)

    The Devils have tasted reality with a 5-3-2 mark in their last 10 after beginning on a 16-3 tear. New Jersey has allowed 14 goals in dropping three straight (one in OT) to the Islanders, Rangers and Stars.

    2. Toronto Maple Leafs (Last Week: 3 / Move: +1)

    The Maple Leafs haven't lost in regulation in more than a month and Mitch Marner is as hot as it gets these days with a franchise-best 23-game point streak that's seen him produce 11 goals and 21 assists.

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

    There are multiple stories amid Boston's record-setting start to the season and among them is the resurgence of Jake DeBrusk, who's produced 23 points in 27 games after being in the doghouse for much of the 2021-22 season after going public with a trade request.

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