NHL Power Rankings: Bruins and Hurricanes Tied for No. 1 Spot at End of 1st Half

Lyle Fitzsimmons@@fitzbitzFeatured Columnist IIIFebruary 2, 2023

NHL Power Rankings: Bruins and Hurricanes Tied for No. 1 Spot at End of 1st Half

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    RALEIGH, NC - JANUARY 29: Carolina Hurricanes Center Jordan Staal (11) and Boston Bruins Center Patrice Bergeron (37) race to the puck during the game between the Boston Bruins and the Carolina Hurricanes on January 29, 2023 at PNC Arena in Raleigh, North Carolina. (Photo by Katherine Gawlik/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
    Katherine Gawlik/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

    The Carolina Hurricanes simply won't go away.

    Coach Rod Brind'Amour's team already leads the Metropolitan Division and is among the league's best in several statistical categories, but it's been staring up at the Boston Bruins in B/R's Power Rankings for four straight weeks since the start of 2023.

    Until now.

    Carolina's 9-3-2 run across 14 games in January—including an 8-1-1 stretch to end the month—was enough to sway three voters to cast first-place ballots in its direction and forge a tie with the Bruins, who received the remaining three first-place votes to stay atop the list for the 12th consecutive week. Both Boston and the Hurricanes also got three second-place votes.

    Meanwhile, the New Jersey Devils, Toronto Maple Leafs and Tampa Bay Lightning rounded out the top five for the third consecutive 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, Blackhawks, Ducks, Coyotes, Sharks, Canadiens, Canucks

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    VANCOUVER, CANADA - JANUARY 3: Bo Horvat #53 of the Vancouver Canucks and Sebastian Aho #25 of the New York Islanders battle for the puck during the first period of their NHL game at Rogers Arena January 3, 2023 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.  (Photo by Jeff Vinnick/NHLI via Getty Images)
    Jeff Vinnick/NHLI via Getty Images

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

    A 4-10-2 run in January ended with an OT loss to Washington and sent the Blue Jackets to the break last overall in points (34, tied) and points percentage (.333), officially kicking off the Connor Bedard watch.

    31. Chicago Blackhawks (Last Week: 29/Move: -2)

    The Blackhawks were a top-half team killing penalties in January, but they allowed two power-play goals in a pre-break loss to Edmonton that prolonged a recent three-losses-in-four-games slump.

    30. Anaheim Ducks (Last Week: 31/Move: +1)

    A Trevor Zegras hot streak sparked a positive run for the Ducks, who beat Arizona to reach three straight wins for the first time this season. Zegras had 11 points in his final eight pre-break games.

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

    Goalie Connor Ingram made a career-high 43 saves in Arizona's final game before the break to finish off a busy January in which he won just one of six starts but had a .929 save percentage on 224 shots.

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

    The Sharks scuffled through four straight losses (two in OT) before reaching the break with a 6-4 win at Pittsburgh in which forward Logan Couture's five points (two goals, three assists) were a career high.

    27. Montréal Canadiens (Last Week: 25/Move: -2)

    The Canadiens skidded into an extended hiatus—they won't play again until February 11 against the New York Islanders—with four straight losses (one in OT) in which they were outscored 18-9.

    26. Vancouver Canucks (Last Week: 27/Move: +1)

    Dealing captain Bo Horvat to the Islanders was a direct nod to the future for the Canucks, who acquired a 25-year-old (Anthony Beauvillier), a 20-year-old (Aatu Raty) and a first-round pick in the 2023 draft.

Nos. 25-21: Blues, Flyers, Senators, Red Wings, Panthers

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    WINNIPEG, CANADA - JANUARY 28: Goaltender Carter Hart #79 of the Philadelphia Flyers keeps an eye on the play during third period action against the Winnipeg Jets at the Canada Life Centre on January 28, 2023 in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. (Photo by Darcy Finley/NHLI via Getty Images)
    Darcy Finley/NHLI via Getty Images

    25. St. Louis Blues (Last Week: 22/Move: -3)

    Going 6-of-6 killing penalties was the lone bright spot in a 4-2 loss at Winnipeg for the Blues, who ended January with five straight losses and sit eight points back of the nearest playoff position.

    24. Philadelphia Flyers (Last Week: 24/Move: 0)

    Carter Hart's 40-save shutout yielded a 4-0 defeat of Winnipeg on Saturday and capped a successful January in which the Flyers were 8-4-2. "We're feeling good about ourselves," Hart said.

    23. Ottawa Senators (Last Week: 26/Move: +3)

    The Senators made tangible progress in the days before the break, creeping within six points of a playoff position after winning four straight games and outscoring opponents by an 18-7 margin in doing so.

    22. Detroit Red Wings (Last Week: 20/Move: -2)

    The Red Wings won three of four before ending their pre-break schedule with a 2-0 loss to the Islanders. They've racked up a .521 points percentage but are still 14th of 16 in a competitive Eastern Conference.

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

    A game-winner against Boston with three seconds left in regulation Saturday provided a dramatic feel-good moment for the Panthers in their January finale, particularly after a three-game losing streak.

Nos. 20-16: Islanders, Predators, Capitals, Flames, Sabres

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    ELMONT, NEW YORK - MARCH 03: Anthony Beauvillier #18 of the New York Islanders scores a third period goal against the Vancouver Canucks at UBS Arena on March 03, 2022 in Elmont, New York. (Photo by Mike Stobe/NHLI via Getty Images)
    Mike Stobe/NHLI via Getty Images

    20. New York Islanders (Last Week: 23/Move: +3)

    The league's 25th-best offense (2.85 goals per game) got a potent jolt when the Islanders acquired Horvat, who had 54 points in 49 games with the Canucks in the final season of a six-year contract.

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

    The Predators hit the break with a snarl, having won four of their last five—including three straight in which they'd come from behind. "Wins like that really give you a lot of confidence," Roman Josi said.

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

    An OT win at Columbus ended a three-game road skid for the Capitals, who grinded through a desultory January at 6-7-1 and will return February 11 against Boston in the thick of the Eastern wild-card race.

    17. Calgary Flames (Last Week: 17/Move: 0)

    The Flames followed a 5-1 home loss to Chicago with a 5-2 defeat of Seattle in the second of a back-to-back. Goalie Dan Vladar is 10-0-3 in his last 13 starts, tying the franchise's unbeaten streak record.

    16. Buffalo Sabres (Last Week 16/Move: 0)

    The Sabres earned seven of eight points on a four-game trip and won five straight before a shootout loss in Minnesota. They entered Wednesday with the league's best offense (3.74 goals per game).

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

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    EDMONTON, AB - JANUARY 28: Edmonton Oilers Goalie Jack Campbell (36) makes a save in the second period of the Edmonton Oilers game versus the Chicago Blackhawks on January 28, 2023 at Rogers Place in Edmonton, AB. (Photo by Curtis Comeau/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
    Curtis Comeau/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

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

    A Saturday loss to San Jose ended a six-game point streak (3-0-3) for the Penguins, but history was made when Sidney Crosby (1,469) passed Stan Mikita (1,467) for 15th on the league's all-time points list.

    14. Los Angeles Kings (Last Week: 13/Move: -1)

    Blowing a three-goal, third-period lead and losing in OT at Carolina wasn't the ideal break-starter for the Kings, who went 3-2-1 on a road trip and are tied with Seattle atop a tightly bunched Pacific Division.

    13. Colorado Avalanche (Last Week: 10/Move: -3)

    A Saturday win over visiting St. Louis was the seventh in eight games for the Avalanche, who were 8-5 overall in January and reach the break tied with Calgary for the final Western wild-card position.

    12. Vegas Golden Knights (Last Week: 12/Move: 0)

    Back-to-back losses to the Rangers and Islanders in New York continued the recent malaise for the Golden Knights, who reached the break amid an 0-2-2 run in four games and a 1-5-2 skid in eight.

    11. Edmonton Oilers (Last Week: 11/Move: 0)

    It was a successful late January in Edmonton, where the Oilers rode a 7-0-1 stretch into the break and had six straight victories from goalie Jack Campbell in which he's posted a.917 save percentage.

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

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    SEATTLE, WASHINGTON - JANUARY 27: Head coach Dave Hakstol of the Seattle Kraken directs the team from the bench during the second period of a game against the Calgary Flames at Climate Pledge Arena on January 27, 2023 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Christopher Mast/NHLI via Getty Images)
    Christopher Mast/NHLI via Getty Images

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

    Handling business over the final 17 home games will be crucial down the stretch for the Wild, who are 13-3 in their last 16 at Xcel Energy Center but just a point above the Western playoff cutline.

    9. Winnipeg Jets (Last Week: 7/Move: -2)

    The Jets scored four third-period goals to defeat St. Louis in their pre-break finale to end a three-game losing streak and move within a point of first-place Dallas atop the Central Division.

    8. New York Rangers (Last Week: 9/Move: +1)

    An early issue with backup goaltending seems to have been settled with the recent play of Jaroslav Halák, who's 5-0 with a 1.80 goals-against average since mid-December after a 1-6-1 start.

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

    A 3-2 OT loss to New Jersey was the Stars' third straight—all by 3-2 and all in OT. "We need to find a way to get these wins in overtime because these points are going to be big," Jamie Benn said.

    6. Seattle Kraken (Last Week: 8/Move: +2)

    The Kraken's 11-3-1 run through January ended with a 3-1 defeat of Columbus on Saturday and had coach Dave Hakstol beaming. "It's pretty good," he said. "This group should be proud of that."

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

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    TORONTO, ON - JANUARY 29: John Tavares #91 of the Toronto Maple Leafs, joined by his family, waves to the crowd while being honoured in an on-ice ceremony ahead of his 1000th NHL game before facing the Washington Capitals at the Scotiabank Arena on January 29, 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: 5/Move: 0)

    The competitive news is all good these days in Tampa Bay, where the Lightning finished the month by establishing a franchise record with 12 straight home wins. They were 8-2 in their last 10 overall, too.

    4. Toronto Maple Leafs (Last Week: 4/Move: 0)

    John Tavares became the 25th player to reach his 1,000th NHL game in a Toronto uniform during the Maple Leafs' 5-1 win over Washington. Now 32, he debuted as a 19-year-old in 2009-10.

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

    The Devils reached the break as the league's most consistent surprise team of 2022-23, going 8-1-1 in their last 10 games and with a six-point hold on second place in the Metropolitan Division.

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

    An OT defeat of Los Angeles on Tuesday night was the sixth straight victory for goalie Frederik Andersen, who's 5-0 in six starts since returning from an injury that had kept him out since early November.

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

    A 4-1 loss at Carolina was Boston's first to an opponent from the Metropolitan Division and stretched a season-long skid to three games. They still lead the league in wins, points and goal differential.

    Statistics accurate through Tuesday, January 31.