NHL Power Rankings: Bruins, Avalanche and Oilers Surge; Islanders Free-Fall

Lyle Fitzsimmons@@fitzbitzFeatured Columnist IIIJanuary 26, 2023

NHL Power Rankings: Bruins, Avalanche and Oilers Surge; Islanders Free-Fall

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    DENVER, COLORADO - DECEMBER 7:  Alexandar Georgiev #40 of the Colorado Avalanche defends against the Boston Bruins in the second period of a game at Ball Arena on December 7, 2022 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images)
    Dustin Bradford/Getty Images

    Maybe, just maybe, the NHL wealth is about to be shared.

    Though the Boston Bruins have dominated the landscape since the opening puck drop in October, two would-be powerhouses have begun to recover from significantly less impressive first-half showings.

    The Colorado Avalanche and Edmonton Oilers met in last season's Western Conference Final, and each was expected to maintain its prowess this season. It didn't happen early on, but both teams have ticked up recently with six-game winning streaks entering Wednesday.

    The surges pushed the Avalanche and Oilers onto the positive side of the playoff cutline and accounted for moves into the top 11 in the B/R power rankings.

    The Bruins have also won six straight and are atop the rankings for the 11th straight week, outpacing an all-Eastern Conference top five that includes the Carolina Hurricanes, New Jersey Devils, Toronto Maple Leafs and Tampa Bay Lightning for the second straight week.

    Our panel awards 32 points for first place and one point for 32nd to come up with the weekly list. Teams' last rankings and how they moved are shown 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: Blue Jackets, Ducks, Coyotes, Blackhawks, Sharks, Canucks, Senators

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    COLUMBUS, OHIO - JANUARY 19: Vladislav Gavrikov #4 of the Columbus Blue Jackets skates during the first period of a game against the Anaheim Ducks at Nationwide Arena on January 19, 2023 in Columbus, Ohio. (Photo by Ben Jackson/NHLI via Getty Images)
    Ben Jackson/NHLI via Getty Images

    32. Columbus Blue Jackets (Last Week: 32/Move: 0)

    First-pair defenseman and imminent free agent Vladislav Gavrikov could be on the move soon, according to Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman, who said the Blue Jackets are allowing teams to speak with him.

    31. Anaheim Ducks (Last Week: 31/Move: 0)

    The Ducks broke character by scoring the first four goals at Arizona on Tuesday—their first four-goal lead of the season—which at least slowed a 1-5-1 skid.

    30. Arizona Coyotes (Last Week: 29/Move: -1)

    The home loss to Anaheim was the 12th in 14 games for the Coyotes, who are punchless on the power play, including 2-for-27 in their last 12 games and 25th in the league overall (18.5 percent).

    29. Chicago Blackhawks (Last Week: 30/Move: +1)

    The Blackhawks have been streaky, starting a three-game road trip with a loss to Vancouver, their second straight after six wins in seven games.

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

    The Sharks are, in a word, struggling. They've lost eight of 10, and a 3-2 defeat in Detroit on Tuesday was the third straight to start an eight-game road trip that runs through Feb. 12.

    27. Vancouver Canucks (Last Week: 27/Move: 0)

    The Rick Tocchet era started well Tuesday when Vancouver defeated Chicago 5-2 in his first game since taking over for the fired Bruce Boudreau. "The players kind of bought in," he said.

    26. Ottawa Senators (Last Week: 24/Move: -2)

    Center Josh Norris broke out last season with 35 goals, but he'll finish 2022-23 with just two after again injuring a shoulder that he initially hurt in October and caused him to miss nearly three months.

Nos. 25-21: Canadiens, Flyers, Islanders, Blues, Panthers

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    PITTSBURGH, PA - JANUARY 24: Alex Lyon #34 of the Florida Panthers tends goal in the first period during the game against the Pittsburgh Penguins at PPG PAINTS Arena on January 24, 2023 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images)
    Justin Berl/Getty Images

    25. Montréal Canadiens (Last Week: 26/Move: +1)

    It's Sam Montembeault's net, as the 26-year-old has made eight straight starts—going 4-4 with a .930 save percentage and 2.63 goals-against average.

    24. Philadelphia Flyers (Last Week: 25/Move: +1)

    The Flyers allowed five power plays in an overtime loss to the Kings on Tuesday that dropped them below .500, but they've managed at least one point in 10 of their last 14 games, going 9-4-1.

    23. New York Islanders (Last Week: 18/Move: -5)

    A 1-6-3 slide pushed the Islanders to 11th in the Eastern Conference and prompted a mea culpa from general manager Lou Lamoriello. "There's no excuses," he said. "Because it's on me, totally on me."

    22. St. Louis Blues (Last Week: 20/Move: -2)

    A season-long seven-game homestand didn't go well, ending at 3-4 with a loss to Buffalo. St. Louis entered Wednesday six points below the playoff cutline.

    21. Florida Panthers (Last Week: 21/Move: 0)

    Journeyman goalie Alex Lyon made his fourth straight start in a loss at Pittsburgh on Tuesday, allowing seven goals on 49 shots. Paul Maurice said Spencer Knight was not "ready to go."

Nos. 20-16: Red Wings, Predators, Capitals, Flames, Sabres

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    DETROIT, MICHIGAN - JANUARY 24: Andrew Copp #18 of the Detroit Red Wings scores a overtime goal past James Reimer #47 of the San Jose Sharks for a 3-2 win at Little Caesars Arena on January 24, 2023 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
    Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

    20. Detroit Red Wings (Last Week: 23/Move: +3)

    Andrew Copp's goal just 25 seconds into overtime yielded a 3-2 win against San Jose on Tuesday, lifting Detroit to 4-3-1 in its last eight games.

    19. Nashville Predators (Last Week: 19/Move: 0)

    A 2-1 defeat of visiting Winnipeg on Tuesday was the fourth straight home win for Nashville and moved it within three points of the playoff cutline entering Wednesday.

    18. Washington Capitals (Last Week: 14/Move: -4)

    The Capitals have dropped five of seven. A loss to the Avalanche on Tuesday was especially costly, as Tom Wilson left after blocking a shot. Nicklas Backstrom was scratched with a non-COVID-19 illness.

    17. Calgary Flames (Last Week: 16/Move: -1)

    Defenseman Chris Tanev won't play until after the All-Star break because of an upper-body injury, but Darryl Sutter said it's not related to the shoulder issue that required surgery in the offseason.

    16. Buffalo Sabres (Last Week 22/Move: +6)

    The needle is pointing up once again for the Sabres, who have won four in a row and whose win at St. Louis on Tuesday was their first on the Blues' home ice since December 2009 (0-7-2).

Nos. 15-11: Wild, Penguins, Kings, Golden Knights, Oilers

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    PITTSBURGH, PA - JANUARY 24: Pittsburgh Penguins Defenseman Kris Letang (58) celebrates his goal with the bench during the first period in the NHL game between the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Florida Panthers on January 24, 2023, at PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh, PA. (Photo by Jeanine Leech/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
    Jeanine Leech/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

    15. Minnesota Wild (Last Week: 10/Move: -5)

    Three straight losses left the Wild fourth in the Central Division and below the cutline for the playoffs heading into Wednesday's games. Minnesota is one point behind Calgary for the second wild-card spot.

    14. Pittsburgh Penguins (Last Week: 15/Move: +1)

    Defenseman Kris Letang had missed 11 games after an injury and the death of his father, but you wouldn't have known it given his two goals and two assists in an overtime defeat of Florida on Tuesday.

    13. Los Angeles Kings (Last Week: 13/Move: 0)

    Two victories after a rare three-game skid—just their second of the season—moved the Kings within a point of the top spot in the tightly packed Pacific Division and a point ahead of the third-place Kraken.

    12. Vegas Golden Knights (Last Week: 9/Move: -3)

    A 2-5-1 stretch has been costly for the Golden Knights, who have fallen from first to third in the Western Conference and whose Pacific Division lead over the Kings has shrunk from six points to one.

    11. Edmonton Oilers (Last Week: 12/Move: +1)

    Edmonton had won six straight entering Wednesday, and its recipe for success includes an unfamiliar ingredient. "We've got some grit to us now," forward Zach Hyman said, "which is a good thing."

Nos. 10-6: Avalanche, Rangers, Kraken, Jets, Stars

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    NEW YORK, NEW YORK - JANUARY 23: Jimmy Vesey #26 of the New York Rangers (L) celebrates his second period goal against the and is joined by Barclay Goodrow #21 (C) and Vincent Trocheck #16 (R) at Madison Square Garden on January 23, 2023 in New York City. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
    Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

    10. Colorado Avalanche (Last Week: 17/Move: +7)

    Things are looking up for the champs thanks to this six-game run, in which they've outscored foes 25-8. A win against Washington on Tuesday made Jared Bednar the winningest coach in franchise history with 266 victories.

    9. New York Rangers (Last Week: 11/Move: +2)

    The vibe with linemates Jimmy Vesey and Vincent Trocheck has Barclay Goodrow thinking of Tampa Bay's successes. "There are definitely some similarities when you look at each individual player," he said.

    8. Seattle Kraken (Last Week: 8/Move: 0)

    The undisclosed injury bug is biting in Seattle, as defenseman Justin Schultz is week to week and hasn't played since Jan. 17 and forward Jaden Schwartz hasn't played since Jan. 12.

    7. Winnipeg Jets (Last Week: 6/Move: -1)

    A loss to Nashville closed a season-long five-game road trip at 2-3, but second-place Winnipeg is 12-4 against Central Division opponents and entered Wednesday with an eight-point cushion over Colorado.

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

    Dallas is three games into an eight-game homestand that will also include dates with East powerhouses New Jersey, Tampa Bay and Boston through Feb. 14. The Stars have the league's seventh-best home record (13-5-4).

Nos. 5-1: Lightning, Maple Leafs, Devils, Hurricanes, Bruins

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    TORONTO, ON - JANUARY 23: William Nylander #88 of the Toronto Maple Leafs celebrates his goal against the New York Islanders with teammate John Tavares #91 during the second period at the Scotiabank Arena on January 23, 2023 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Mark Blinch/NHLI via Getty Images)
    Mark Blinch/NHLI via Getty Images

    5. Tampa Bay Lightning (Last Week: 4/Move: -1)

    A win over the Wild on Tuesday gave the Lightning their 10th straight triumph on home ice and marked the 250th victory for Andrei Vasilevskiy, who is the second-fastest goalie to reach that milestone.

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

    Reuniting linemates William Nylander and John Tavares paid dividends in a defeat of the Islanders on Monday, as they recorded six points in the second period. "We're getting results," Tavares said, "and that's great."

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

    Defenseman Dougie Hamilton has scored two straight overtime winners for the red-hot Devils, who are 7-0-1 in their last eight games. Goalie Vitek Vanecek is equally scorching, having won eight consecutive starts.

    2. Carolina Hurricanes (Last Week: 3/Move: +1)

    Max Pacioretty's torn Achilles tendon gives GM Don Waddell an extra $7 million to work with at the trade deadline. "But we still really like our team," he told Pierre LeBrun of The Athletic. "We're going to look and see if there's anything that makes sense."

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

    A win at Montréal on Tuesday provided another footnote to an already historic season for the Bruins, whose 4-2 triumph got them to 80 points in 47 games—eclipsing the mark of the 1943-44 Canadiens and 1979-80 Flyers, who did it in 49 games.

    Statistics accurate through Tuesday.