NHL Power Rankings: Bruins Vault to the Top Spot as Maple Leafs Fall

Lyle Fitzsimmons@@fitzbitzFeatured ColumnistFebruary 18, 2021

NHL Power Rankings: Bruins Vault to the Top Spot as Maple Leafs Fall

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    Adam Hunger/Associated Press

    Another week, another supernova.

    After two straight weeks in which streaking Canadian teams had possession of the top spot in B/R's NHL power rankings, the balance of power has shifted south of the border into the United States.

    In fact, U.S.-based teams took hold of the first three spots on this week's list, which was put together following Tuesday night's games around the league even as the COVID-19 pandemic and an intense winter storm continued to wreak havoc on schedule-makers.

    Scroll through to take a look at our rankings from bottom to top, and let us know what you think in the comments section.

Nos. 31-26: Senators, Red Wings, Rangers, Predators, Canucks, Sharks

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    Bruce Bennett/Associated Press

    31. Ottawa Senators (Last Week: 31st)

    Maybe it's a renaissance. Maybe not. But the Ottawa Senators are at least putting a more respectable product on the ice each week. A 5-1 loss against the Jets in Winnipeg wasn't an ideal way to start, but Ottawa got a split there and beat the Toronto Maple Leafs in overtime while scoring six times. It's a start.


    30. Detroit Red Wings (Last Week: 30th)

    Two in Nashville with the Predators yielded a split for the Detroit Red Wings, who then returned home and followed up with an overtime loss to the Chicago Blackhawks before another date with the Hawks on Wednesday night. Vladislav Namestnikov has three goals in his six games since returning to center from a wing spot.


    29. New York Rangers (Last Week: 25th)

    You might have expected a lot of things from the New York Rangers heading into this season. Chances are a lack of teamwide offensive output was not one of those things. Two losses in two games this past week saw the Rangers score just twice while allowing six against the Boston Bruins and New Jersey Devils.


    28. Nashville Predators (Last Week: 27th)

    The Nashville Predators entered the week on a three-game skid and at least halted that with a one-goal win over the Red Wings before dropping a 4-2 decision to them two days later. The team remains among the league's most anemic in scoring, averaging 2.33 goals per game (29th among 31 teams).


    27. Vancouver Canucks (Last Week: 29th)

    The first three games of a four-game set with the Calgary Flames provided three standings points for the Vancouver Canucks, who exchanged 3-1 scores in the first two before an overtime loss Monday. The power play, which was fourth in the league in 2019-20, was just 20th this season through Monday's game.


    26. San Jose Sharks (Last Week: 26th)

    The flip side of Nashville's inability to score is the San Jose Sharks' difficulty keeping pucks out of their net. San Jose gave up 11 in three games last week and finds itself tied for third-worst in the league with an average of 3.57 goals allowed per game. Martin Jones has an .873 save percentage in 10 starts.

Nos. 25-21: Sabres, Kings, Ducks, Wild, Devils

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    John Locher/Associated Press

    25. Buffalo Sabres (Last Week: 24th)

    No games for more than two weeks isn't an ideal situation for any team, and it was no different for the Buffalo Sabres, who came back from a COVID-19-related hiatus and scored once in two straight losses to the New York Islanders. A four-game trip to Washington, New Jersey and Long Island looms this week.


    24. Los Angeles Kings (Last Week: 28th)

    Just when it looked ugly for the Los Angeles Kings with a five-game losing streak, two wins arrived. The Kings scored 10 times and allowed only two goals in consecutive routs of San Jose and the Minnesota Wild. In the net, Cal Petersen (.926 save percentage) is outplaying Jonathan Quick (.887).


    23. Anaheim Ducks (Last Week: 23rd)

    A pair of one-goal games meant good and bad for the Anaheim Ducks, who blanked the Vegas Golden Knights before falling 3-2 to the Sharks. Goaltender John Gibson is pulling his weight, but a paltry offensive output may prompt a call to prospects Trevor Zegras and Jamie Drysdale in the AHL.


    22. Minnesota Wild (Last Week: 20th)

    Like the Sabres before them, the Minnesota Wild did not fare well in a return from an extended COVID-19-related sabbatical, dropping a 4-0 decision to the Kings on Tuesday. They'll play three more in California and one in Colorado before finally returning to home ice against Los Angeles on Feb. 26.


    21. New Jersey Devils (Last Week: 22nd)

    And then there are the New Jersey Devils. The Garden State residents didn't play between Jan. 31 and Feb. 16, but they returned with great success—in their case, a 5-2 defeat of the Rangers at Madison Square Garden. Three goals in the third period broke open a tie, and Mackenzie Blackwood made 37 saves.

Nos. 20-16: Coyotes, Blue Jackets, Stars, Flames, Blackhawks

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    Nam Y. Huh/Associated Press

    20. Arizona Coyotes (Last Week: 19th)

    An epic seven-game series with the St. Louis Blues finally ended last week with two losses and a win for the Arizona Coyotes, the finale of which was a 1-0 shutout featuring 24 saves by Darcy Kuemper. Clayton Keller's goal in that one gave him five in 15 games—two off Christian Dvorak's team lead.


    19. Columbus Blue Jackets (Last Week: 14th)

    Scoreboard operators in Chicago and Raleigh were happy to see the Columbus Blue Jackets, who scored 11 goals and allowed 15 across two games with the Blackhawks and one with the Carolina Hurricanes. Patrik Laine has four goals in seven games with his new team, and he had his first NHL fight, too.


    18. Dallas Stars (Last Week: 12th)

    A 4-0 start to the regular season seems an eternity ago for the Dallas Stars, who dropped a pair to the Carolina Hurricanes this past week and have won just once in their past eight games. Three subsequent games have been called off because of a winter storm, leaving the team idle until Saturday at the earliest.


    17. Calgary Flames (Last Week: 18th)

    A defeat of the Canucks pushed a win streak to three for the Calgary Flames, who subsequently split another pair with Vancouver and sat a point behind the Edmonton Oilers for fourth in the North Division on Tuesday with two games in hand. Johnny Gaudreau is tied for fifth in the league with nine goals.


    16. Chicago Blackhawks (Last Week: 21st)

    Three one-goal games provided a pair of overtime wins for the Chicago Blackhawks, who prolonged one of the season's earliest positive surprises. Wingers Patrick Kane (22 points in 17 games) and Alex DeBrincat (16 points in 13 games) are point-per-game players for Chicago, which is eighth in the league in total goals.

Nos. 15-11: Capitals, Penguins, Oilers, Jets, Islanders

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    Keith Srakocic/Associated Press

    15. Washington Capitals (Last Week: 10th)

    A split of a two-gamer with the Penguins in Pittsburgh was the entire week for the Washington Capitals, who will return home to begin a five-game stand on Thursday against the Sabres. A 3-1 win Tuesday was goalie Vitek Vanecek's first in February after he had allowed 15 goals in his previous four starts.


    14. Pittsburgh Penguins (Last Week: 15th)

    A herky-jerky season continued for the Pittsburgh Penguins, who closed a series with a win over the New York Islanders before splitting a pair with the Washington Capitals. As blasphemous as it sounds, the arrival of Ron Hextall and Brian Burke to executive spots spawned Sidney Crosby trade chatter.


    13. Edmonton Oilers (Last Week: 16th)

    A shutout of the Montreal Canadiens made it six wins in seven for the suddenly surging Edmonton Oilers, but the bandwagon stalled when goalies Mikko Koskinen and Mike Smith allowed six goals on 24 shots in a 6-5 loss to the Winnipeg Jets on Monday. The shutout was Smith's 40th in the NHL.


    12. Winnipeg Jets (Last Week: 13th)

    The feasts outweighed the famines for the Winnipeg Jets, who scored 11 goals in defeats of the Senators and Oilers while netting one in a loss to Ottawa. The Jets' clip of 3.53 goals per game through Tuesday was tied for fifth in the league, as was center Mark Scheifele among individual point scorers with 21.


    11. New York Islanders (Last Week: 17th)

    Three more wins this week made it five in six games overall for the New York Islanders, who surrendered just one goal in a two-gamer with the Buffalo Sabres. A 3-0 defeat of the Sabres on Tuesday was the first NHL win for Russian goalie Ilya Sorokin, who stopped 20 shots to improve to 1-2-1.

Nos. 10-6: Blues, Flyers, Avalanche, Canadiens, Panthers

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    David Zalubowski/Associated Press

    10. St. Louis Blues (Last Week: 9th)

    The St. Louis Blues finished their prolonged series with the Coyotes with two wins in the final three games and will get four in a row at home broken into pairs with the visiting Kings and Sharks. The Blues have also been affected by the weather and will need four postponed games rescheduling.


    9. Philadelphia Flyers (Last Week: 6th)

    The COVID-19-related inactivity continued for the Philadelphia Flyers, who have not played since Feb. 7 but are scheduled to return Thursday night against the Rangers before heading to Lake Tahoe to face the Boston Bruins on Sunday. Still, the team sat third in the East Division after Tuesday's games.


    8. Colorado Avalanche (Last Week: 7th)

    The Colorado Avalanche's 12-day hiatus was followed by two games in three nights against the Vegas Golden Knights, resulting in a split in which each team scored just three goals. Rookie defenseman Bowen Byram, still just 19, played 25:03 in Tuesday's win, his highest total in 10 NHL games.


    7. Montreal Canadiens (Last Week: 5th)

    A loss to the Senators on Feb. 4 was a sign of iffy things to come for the Montreal Canadiens, who have lost three of five overall to topple out of the league's upper-rankings echelon. Montreal has scored just eight times in those five games. Tyler Toffoli scored Saturday after going four games without a goal.


    6. Florida Panthers (Last Week: 11th)

    The Florida Panthers are trying to regain footing after early-season scheduling issues, but they had lost just twice in regulation over 13 games through Tuesday and had the league's second-best points percentage (.769) behind Boston's. The week included two defeats of in-state rival Tampa Bay in three games.

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

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    Bill Kostroun/Associated Press

    5. Carolina Hurricanes (Last Week: 8th)

    The hottest-team-in-the-NHL tag goes to the Carolina Hurricanes, who lit the lamp 16 times in defeats of Dallas (twice) and Columbus prior to a Wednesday night date with Florida. The Hurricanes have been especially hot on the power play, where they sat seventh in the NHL (27.9 percent) through Tuesday.


    4. Toronto Maple Leafs (Last Week: 1st)

    It's a skid of sorts for the Toronto Maple Leafs, who dropped consecutive games for the first time against Montreal and Ottawa on Saturday and Monday. A transaction made news Monday when Alex Galchenyuk came over from Carolina for two players. He has one goal in eight games this season.


    3. Vegas Golden Knights (Last Week: 4th)

    It was a busy week for the Vegas Golden Knights, who had three one-goal games and one two-goal result, going 2-2. Goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury played all four games and surrendered just five goals, continuing a torrid start that has his save percentage at .937 and goals-against average at 1.56.


    2. Tampa Bay Lightning (Last Week: 2nd)

    This just in: The Tampa Bay Lightning are pretty good. Even in a week that saw them lose twice in three games against Florida, they still managed to maintain a one-point lead over the Panthers in the Central Division standings through Tuesday's games. A Thursday game in Dallas has already been postponed.


    1. Boston Bruins (Last Week: 3rd)

    A five-game win streak for the Boston Bruins finally came to an end with a 4-2 loss to the Islanders on Saturday, but the Bruins still find themselves comfortably atop the East Division. Jake DeBrusk is heading to the first line and David Pastrnak to the second as head coach Bruce Cassidy seeks balanced scoring.