NHL Power Rankings: Canadiens Take Over the Top SpotFebruary 4, 2021
NHL Power Rankings: Canadiens Take Over the Top Spot
And here we are, back again.
The NHL has moved into its second month of regular-season play, and teams are beginning to separate themselves from one another in the pandemic-prompted, geographically reconfigured divisions.
Prolific point-getters Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl have resumed their net-filling ways with the Edmonton Oilers, five goaltenders have already posted two shutouts apiece and Petr Mrazek has a microscopic 0.99 goals-against average through his initial four appearances of 2020-21.
The B/R hockey team got together at midweek this time around to compile its latest bottom-to-top list of all 31 NHL clubs and where they stand with each either approaching or surpassing double-digit games played.
Take a look, and let us know what you think in the comments section.
Nos. 31-26: Senators, Red Wings, Rangers, Coyotes, Ducks, Sharks
31. Ottawa Senators (Last Week: 30th)
Lest anyone forget, the Ottawa Senators were unbeaten at one point this season. Problem was, it was after the first game. They have since dropped eight in regulation and one in overtime. Good thing they have Tim Stutzle, who has three goals through his first seven games and seems destined to make a huge impact.
30. Detroit Red Wings (Last Week: 25th)
The fleeting optimism of the season's earliest stages has given way to ugly reality for the Detroit Red Wings, who have not won a game since an OT decision over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Jan. 19. A 5-1 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning on Wednesday was their 15th in a row on the Gulf Coast since 2011.
29. New York Rangers (Last Week: 21st)
The New York Rangers were expected to make headlines this term, but not for being the league's most disappointing team. But that's where they stand after an uneven start in which they have scored just 25 goals in nine games. Meanwhile, former first-round pick Tony DeAngelo is out the door after an altercation with teammate Alexandar Georgiev.
28. Arizona Coyotes (Last Week: 19th)
Consistent offense was expected to be a problem. And whaddaya know?! Consistent offense has been a problem. The Arizona Coyotes have scored only 23 goals in nine games overall and only six times in their past four games, including a pair of shutout losses. Thirteen of those 23 tallies have come from three players.
27. Anaheim Ducks (Last Week: 28th)
Got a problem with the way things are going for the Anaheim Ducks in 2020-21? Don't blame John Gibson. The 27-year-old, a former second-round pick, has a 2.34 goals-against average, a .924 save percentage and a pair of shutouts across 10 starts for Anaheim, which has scored just 19 goals in 11 games.
26. San Jose Sharks (Last Week: 26th)
Running into the Colorado Avalanche hasn't been the best circumstance for the San Jose Sharks, who dropped consecutive decisions by a combined score of 10-3. The pandemic has wreaked havoc on the Sharks and forced them to play home games in Arizona, but they will return to SAP Center on Feb. 13.
Nos. 25-21: Islanders, Blackhawks, Sabres, Kings, Predators
25. New York Islanders (Last Week: 8th)
Nothing like a five-game skid to put a crimp in the plans for continuing a surprising resurgence. The New York Islanders started the regular season with three wins in four games but have since scored just 10 times in sweeps by the Philadelphia Flyers and Washington Capitals and a shutout by the New Jersey Devils.
24. Chicago Blackhawks (Last Week: 31st)
The preseason forecasts for the Chicago Blackhawks included much doom and gloom, and while it's not as if a championship parade is on the way, it's not been dreadful, either. Chicago has just four regulation losses in 11 games, though losses in two overtimes and two shutouts represent missed opportunities.
23. Buffalo Sabres (Last Week: 29th)
The flip side of the Blackhawks resides in Buffalo, with the Sabres winning just twice in regulation through 10 games. A split of two games with the New Jersey Devils at the end of January may have caused additional problems too, with the Sabres now paused until at least Feb. 8 by COVID-19 protocols.
22. Los Angeles Kings (Last Week: 20th)
The Los Angeles Kings have done a respectable job of treading water, following a season-starting three-game skid with three wins in four games. They have dropped two in a row since, but Tuesday's loss to the Anaheim Ducks did bring with it the NHL debut of teen Arthur Kaliyev, who played 18 shifts and scored his first goal.
21. Nashville Predators (Last Week: 18th)
There's been a severe and recurring case of standings whiplash for the Nashville Predators, who have swept a pair of two-game series and been swept in two others. Two wins over the Chicago Blackhawks at the end of January were followed by two losses to the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Nos. 20-16: Devils, Blue Jackets, Flames, Canucks, WIld
20. New Jersey Devils (Last Week: 14th)
Where the Rangers and Islanders have been negatives from the New York metropolitan area, the New Jersey Devils have taken on the role of pleasant surprise. Expected to languish in the league's lower tier, they have racked up 10 points in nine games. And Jack Hughes? Yeah, he's pretty good.
19. Columbus Blue Jackets (Last Week: 24th)
A shootout loss, a shootout win, a one-goal road win and a two-goal road loss have occurred since the most recent rankings. As has the arrival of high-scoring winger Patrik Laine. The Finn served a two-minute penalty and was on the ice for two opposition goals while playing just a shade less than 21 minutes in a 6-3 loss to the Dallas Stars on Tuesday.
18. Calgary Flames (Last Week: 12th)
There hasn't been a long stretch of victories over Canadian rivals in the North Division, but it's not because of goaltending. Bank-busting offseason signee Jacob Markstrom has been the workhorse goaltender the Calgary Flames envisioned, with four wins, two shutouts and a .924 save percentage in seven starts.
17. Vancouver Canucks (Last Week: 27th)
Nothing like an extended series with the Ottawa Senators to turn around a team's fortunes. The Vancouver Canucks defeated the Sens three times in four days from Jan. 25-28, outscoring them 16-3. Another win over the Winnipeg Jets followed, before reality returned with a sweep by the Montreal Canadiens.
16. Minnesota Wild (Last Week: 9th)
A 3-1 start gave way to a 3-4 dip over the past seven games for the Minnesota Wild, who have scored 30 goals, allowed 30 goals, won three times at home and three times on the road. It's a holding pattern for the time being, though, after five players were added to the COVID-19 protocol list on Wednesday.
Nos. 15-11: Oilers, Penguins, Flyers, Jets, Panthers
15. Edmonton Oilers (Last Week: 23rd)
Can a team have two of the best players on Earth and still be mediocre? Look no further than the Oilers, who have clawed back to .500 thanks to two straight wins over the Ottawa Senators. Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl are one-two in the league in both assists and points. The Battle of Alberta looms Saturday.
14. Pittsburgh Penguins (Last Week: 11th)
The momentum of a four-game win streak against the Washington Capitals and New York Rangers was snuffed out by three losses in four subsequent games, but the Pittsburgh Penguins are still in fourth place in a rugged East Division. And though he's no longer a kid, Sidney Crosby is still producing, with eight points in 10 games.
13. Philadelphia Flyers (Last Week: 7th)
If only the Philadelphia Flyers could petition the NHL to let them avoid the Boston Bruins. Philadelphia has lost four games out of 11 to begin the season, but three of them have been against the Bruins, including a 4-3 decision in OT on Wednesday. Some good news: The Flyers may soon welcome back fans to the Wells Fargo Center.
12. Winnipeg Jets (Last Week: 10th)
The Winnipeg Jets are still waiting on the debut of recently acquired center Pierre-Luc Dubois, but they are off to a solid start and head toward the weekend third in the North. Their 35 goals are joint-seventh in the NHL, and five players—Mark Scheifele, Nikolaj Ehlers, Kyle Connor, Blake Wheeler and Andrew Copp—are logging a point per game.
11. Florida Panthers (Last Week: 17th)
It's a league-low sample size, but it's hard to imagine a team being more of a surprise than the Florida Panthers, who have lost once in six games and haven't been beaten in regulation. OK, four of the wins came against the Chicago Blackhawks and Detroit Red Wings, but still. Carter Verhaeghe, plucked from the Tampa Bay Lightning in October, already has five goals and two assists.
Nos. 10-6: Stars, Golden Knights, Blues, Lightning, Hurricanes
10. Dallas Stars (Last Week: 22nd)
The Stars have shown few signs of slippage from the run that netted the Western Conference title in the summer. Two losses to the Carolina Hurricanes ended a 4-0 start, but six goals in a victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets was a nice tonic. Joe Pavelski has seven goals and 14 points in seven games.
9. Vegas Golden Knights (Last Week: 1st)
It's been a week in COVID-19 limbo for the Vegas Golden Knights, who have not played since Jan. 26 after an outbreak affected coaches and players alike. They are scheduled to resume Friday against the Los Angeles Kings. In goal, Marc-Andre Fleury has made three starts and compiled a .951 save percentage.
8. St. Louis Blues (Last Week: 15th)
That sound you hear in the Midwest is the St. Louis Blues hitting their stride—and perhaps the rest of the league shaking. The 2019 Stanley Cup champs have followed a 3-3 start with four straight wins, scoring 19 goals in the process. Center Jordan Kyrou, a second-round pick in 2016, has scored on five of his 25 shots.
7. Tampa Bay Lightning (Last Week: 2nd)
Three wins and an OT loss over the past four games is a sure sign of the pedigree from the NHL champions, who will face Detroit once and Nashville twice in their next three games. The early competition in the Central Division has been sturdy, but the Lightning are in their presumed first-place perch.
6. Carolina Hurricanes (Last Week: 16th)
It was 10 days from Game 3 to Game 4 for the Carolina Hurricanes, but they have not let a little downtime stop the winning. Carolina, in fact, has racked up five straight victories since losing to the Detroit Red Wings on Jan. 16. Andrei Svechnikov and Vincent Trocheck have 10 of the team's 20 non-shootout goals.
Nos. 5-1: Maple Leafs, Avalanche, Capitals, Bruins, Canadiens
5. Toronto Maple Leafs (Last Week: 5th)
A four-game road trip to Alberta that yields three victories and seven points out of a possible eight is a rare occurrence for the Toronto Maple Leafs, who continued the roll that they started closer to home. Their 33 goals are ninth in the league, and three players have already reached double-digit points.
4. Colorado Avalanche (Last Week: 4th)
An uneven start that saw three straight series splits has given way to a surge for the Colorado Avalanche, who have won four of five before heading to St. Louis to meet the equally hot Blues for the first time since mid-January. MVP finalist Nathan MacKinnon is up to his usual tricks, with 14 points in his first 10 games, though coach Jared Bednar told reporters Tuesday that the center is out "week-to-week" with a lower-body injury.
3. Washington Capitals (Last Week: 6th)
Get this: Zdeno Chara and Alex Ovechkin have the same number of goals (two), yet the Washington Capitals are four points clear of fourth place and five up on fifth in the East Division. They can give most of the credit to center Nicklas Backstrom and defenseman John Carlson, who are both averaging better than a point per game.
2. Boston Bruins (Last Week: 13th)
Remember the angst that followed the Boston Bruins' flop after winning the Presidents' Trophy and the concerns about this season? Neither can we. Boston has lost just once in regulation through 10 games and is 6-1 combined against the Philadelphia Flyers, Washington Capitals and Pittsburgh Penguins.
1. Montreal Canadiens (Last Week: 3rd)
At some point, it stops being a fluke. And that point is getting closer each week for the Montreal Canadiens, who crept into the summertime postseason but have looked like a legit contender in 2020-21. Free agent Tyler Toffoli has nine goals in 10 games for the Habs, who have netted a league-best 4.4 goals per game.