NHL Power Rankings: Oilers Move Up, but Hurricanes Hold On to No. 1

Lyle Fitzsimmons@@fitzbitzFeatured ColumnistNovember 11, 2021

NHL Power Rankings: Oilers Move Up, but Hurricanes Hold On to No. 1

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    Marta Lavandier/Associated Press

    Here we are again, 15 years later.

    Back then, in 2006, the Carolina Hurricanes and Edmonton Oilers were the last two NHL teams standing on the way to an epic seven-game Stanley Cup Final that the former Hartford Whalers won.

    It's early, but if the 2021-22 season winds up in similar fashion, remember where you heard it first.

    Barely a month into the campaign, the Hurricanes became the second team to embark on a two-week run atop B/R's weekly NHL power rankings—sweeping the ballots as the Oilers, Florida Panthers, Minnesota Wild and St. Louis Blues rounded out the top five.

    Florida placed No. 1 following the first and second weeks of play. The Hurricanes, Oilers and Blues, along with the Panthers, have made the top five each week since play began.

    Carolina entered Wednesday's games with the most wins (10, tied), the fewest losses (one), best points percentage (.909) and best goal differential (plus-20) in the league.

    "These guys know that they are going to get opportunities, so just sticking with what we're trying to do [is important]," head coach Rod Brind'Amour, who was also captain of the 2006 championship team, said. "Composure is part of it. We have a nice mix. You can see there's a little more veteran presence with this group. There's no panic."

    Read on to see how the remaining spots were filled, and feel free to drop a note or two in the comments section to let our puck heads know where they got it right, and perhaps otherwise.


    Editor's note: Votes were recorded before Wednesday night's games.

Nos. 32-26: Coyotes, Canadiens, Blackhawks, Senators, Kraken, Canucks, Sabres

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    David Becker/Associated Press

    32. Arizona Coyotes (Last Week: 32nd)

    It's official. The Coyotes won't go 0-for-82 this season. They earned win No. 1 in game No. 12, rallying from a two-goal deficit to defeat the Seattle Kraken. Lawson Crouse's game-winner was his team-high fourth goal of the season.


    31. Montreal Canadiens (Last Week: 30th)

    The Canadiens were consistent, scoring twice in each of their three games the past week. Problem is, foes scored six, five and three. The good news? Superstar Carey Price has returned to the team facility after a spell in the NHL/NHLPA player assistance program, though his on-ice return timetable is unclear.


    30. Chicago Blackhawks (Last Week: 31st)

    For a team that's won three of 14 this term, a two-game win streak is cause for celebration. Head coach Jeremy Colliton was fired Saturday after the Hawks' disastrous 1-9-2 start. Interim coach Derek King told Ben Pope of the Chicago Sun-Times the team concept is vital: "I'm going to learn from the players. And we're just going to get better together."


    29. Ottawa Senators (Last Week: 28th)

    A defeat in Boston on Tuesday made it seven of eight on the losing side for the Senators since they began the season with two wins in three games. Ottawa scored two or fewer goals in five of the games, and its rate of 2.5 goals per game was fifth-worst in the league entering Wednesday.


    28. Seattle Kraken (Last Week: 29th)

    The Kraken followed a home victory over Buffalo with consecutive road losses to Arizona and Vegas. Goalie Philipp Grubauer took the loss against the Coyotes and allowed five goals for the second time in 10 starts. His .886 save percentage is well off his .919 career mark.


    27. Vancouver Canucks (Last Week: 27th)

    Just two wins and five points came from a seven-game homestand for the Canucks, who will head to Colorado on Thursday for a three-game road trip. The penalty-killing unit is a particular issue, having been successful just 65 percent of the time, second-worst in the NHL.


    26. Buffalo Sabres (Last Week: 16th)

    A 5-1-1 start is fading quickly thanks to a stretch of four regulation losses and an OT defeat. Elsewhere, franchise center Jack Eichel was finally traded after a protracted saga. Forward Peyton Krebs was a major factor in the trade, according to GM Kevyn Adams. "[Krebs] was someone we had targeted and worked extremely hard to get in this deal," Adams said.

Nos. 25-21: Stars, Avalanche, Predators, Penguins, Golden Knights

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    Charles Rex Arbogast/Associated Press

    25. Dallas Stars (Last Week: 25th)

    An OT win at Calgary on Thursday was the only bright spot for the Stars, who have dropped six of seven since a 3-2 start. Like the Senators before them, scoring is a problem. Dallas is netting just 2.17 goals per game following Wednesday's 4-2 loss to Nashville, the league's fourth-worse record.


    24. Colorado Avalanche (Last Week: 14th)

    The sting of a 4-5-1 start got worse with center Nathan MacKinnon set to miss three weeks with a lower-body injury. He has a goal and nine assists in eight games for the Avalanche, who gave up nine goals in consecutive losses to Columbus in a two-game week.


    23. Nashville Predators (Last Week: 22nd)

    The four-game win streak that ran through last week devolved into a 2-2 follow-up for the Predators, who are somehow 24th in the league in scoring while still managing to have the sixth-best power-play unit at 26.3 percent.


    22. Pittsburgh Penguins (Last Week: 18th)

    Speaking of weird stats, goalie Tristan Jarry was beaten in Chicago on Tuesday, dropping him to 0-3 this season in shootouts, during which he's allowed seven goals on 10 shots. Elsewhere, though, his .926 save percentage and 2.27 goals-against average are better than his career marks. 


    21. Vegas Golden Knights (Last Week: 19th)

    Three wins in four games plus Jack Eichel?! Sounds like a good week for the Golden Knights, who scored 14 goals while allowing just five in defeating Ottawa, Montreal and Seattle. As for Eichel, he's off to Denver on Friday to have disk replacement surgery at the Rocky Mountain Spine Clinic, per Ben Gotz of the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

Nos. 20-16: Red Wings, Islanders, Kings, Bruins, Maple Leafs

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    Paul Sancya/Associated Press

    20. Detroit Red Wings (Last Week: 23rd)

    The ups and downs continue for the Red Wings, who followed three straight regulation losses with three straight victories, including a Tuesday night defeat of the high-flying Oilers. "The arena was buzzing," said center Vladislav Namestnikov, who scored two goals in the victory.


    19. New York Islanders (Last Week: 21st)

    Just three road games to go for the Islanders on a 13-game odyssey to begin the season before their new rink, the UBS Arena, opens on November 20. They sit seventh in the Metropolitan Division heading into Wednesday, though they have gotten points in seven of their 10 games this year.


    18. Los Angeles Kings (Last Week: 26th)

    Now that's more like it for the hard-working Kings, who have won six in a row to erase the stain of a 1-5-1 start. Four of their past five have been one-goal games, and three have gone past 60 minutes. As for individuals, Anze Kopitar (15) and Alex Iafallo (13) are point-per-game players through 13 games. 


    17. Boston Bruins (Last Week: 17th)

    Two more home wins over Detroit and Ottawa made it five victories in five starts at the TD Garden for the Bruins, who are a less glittering 1-4 away from home. Boston rallied from two down to defeat the Senators, though Bruce Cassidy's late-game benching of Taylor Hall made headlines.


    16. Toronto Maple Leafs (Last Week: 10th)

    Topsy-turvy much? The Maple Leafs followed four losses (three in regulation) with five victories before the run was ended with a 5-1 loss to the Kings on Monday. Goalie Petr Mrazek is on the shelf with a groin injury for the next four weeks, but crease-mate Jack Campbell has seven wins, a .936 save percentage and a 1.90 goals-against average.

Nos. 15-11: Sharks, Ducks, Devils, Lightning, Jets

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    Mark Humphrey/Associated Press

    15. San Jose Sharks (Last Week: 13th)

    Just when it looked like the shine of a 6-4-1 start was starting to dull, the Sharks circled the wagons for a 4-1 win at Calgary on Tuesday night, handing the Flames their first regulation loss since their season-opener. "Everyone's bought in in this group," San Jose captain Logan Couture said.


    14. Anaheim Ducks (Last Week: 24th)

    The Ducks remained perfect in November, with their three wins this past week—part of a five-game win streak—seeing them outscore foes by a 10-4 count. Off the ice, general manager Bob Murray resigned Wednesday after being placed on administrative leave Tuesday following accusations of improper professional conduct.


    13. New Jersey Devils (Last Week: 20th)

    A three-game road trip finished with a win over the Sharks and a three-game homestand began with a 7-3 rout of the Panthers for the Devils, who sit in a three-way tie for fourth in the Metropolitan Division. Two goals from Andreas Johnsson mean he boasts a team-best six on the season.


    12. Tampa Bay Lightning (Last Week: 8th)

    Even though it was an OT loss, Tuesday's home game with Carolina marked the sixth straight outing in which the Lightning have secured at least one point. Tampa Bay has outscored opponents 20-11 in the run, winning four times and losing twice in overtime.


    11. Winnipeg Jets (Last Week: 9th)

    Goalie Connor Hellebuyck was back in the net for a shootout loss to St. Louis on Tuesday after missing three games to first be at his son's birth and then because of a non-COVID illness. Backup Eric Comrie played against Dallas, Chicago and the New York Islanders, allowing six goals on 76 shots (.923 save percentage).

Nos. 10-6: Rangers, Blue Jackets, Flyers, Capitals, Flames

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    Patrick Semansky/Associated Press

    10. New York Rangers (Last Week: 7th)

    A trip to the league's northwestern region was not a good one for the Rangers, who followed a victory at Seattle with losses in Vancouver, Edmonton and Calgary in which they were outscored 15-7. New York returned home Monday with a 4-3 win over Florida.


    9. Columbus Blue Jackets (Last Week: 15th)

    It's been a less hectic but no less successful stretch for the Blue Jackets, who have played—and won—just three times since Halloween. Columbus beat Colorado twice this week, scoring eight goals in regulation. However, no team is allowing more shots this season (34.8 per game).


    8. Philadelphia Flyers (Last Week: 11th)

    Unlike the Rangers, the Flyers were 2-1 on their northwestern trip and returned for two home wins around a loss on the road to Pittsburgh. Despite Wednesday's 3-0 loss to the Maple Leafs, the Flyers are fifth in the league with a per-game rate of 2.45 goals allowed.


    7. Washington Capitals (Last Week: 6th)

    It's been a so-so November for the Capitals, who lost on the road against the Lightning and Panthers and at home to the Flyers before defeating the Sabres on Monday. Teenager Hendrix Lapierre was sent back to junior after playing six NHL games, while Alex Ovechkin tied Brett Hull (741) for fourth on the league's all-time goals list. 


    6. Calgary Flames (Last Week: 4th)

    November hasn't been quite as impressive as October was for the Flames, who have dropped two overtime games and another in regulation across four starts since the calendar flipped. After Tuesday's 4-1 loss to the Sharks, they are 0-2-1 in three games against Pacific Division foes despite their 7-2-3 overall start.

Nos. 5-1: Blues, Wild, Panthers, Oilers, Hurricanes

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    Alex Gallardo/Associated Press

    5. St. Louis Blues (Last Week: 5th)

    Goalie Jordan Binnington made 39 saves in Tuesday's win at Winnipeg, marking the fifth time in nine appearances this season in which he's stopped at least 35 shots. He's 3-1-1 in those five games and has a .928 save percentage and a 2.44 goals-against average this year.


    4. Minnesota Wild (Last Week: 12th)

    Three straight five-goal outbursts have yielded three straight wins for the Wild, who have climbed to seventh in the league with 3.27 goals per game. Winger Ryan Hartman has a team-best six goals in 11 games after scoring just seven times in 51 games last season.


    3. Florida Panthers (Last Week: 2nd)

    It's just a five-game sample, but the Panthers are 2-2-1 since an 8-0 start to the season. They have been outscored 11-6 in the past two games, both losses. Goaltender Spencer Knight was beaten 10 times on only 48 shots in those games for a .789 save percentage.


    2. Edmonton Oilers (Last Week: 3rd)

    The Oilers fell into a three-goal hole for the second straight game Tuesday, only this time they didn't climb out and dropped a 4-2 decision in Detroit for their first road loss of the season. It also ended a streak of 10 straight games in which they had scored at least once on the power play.


    1. Carolina Hurricanes (Last Week: 1st)

    Carolina's season-opening win streak finally came to an end at nine when a visit to Florida resulted in a 5-2 loss Saturday. The Hurricanes rebounded to finish the trip south with a 2-1 win in Tampa. "Good teams don't lose two games in a row," defenseman Ian Cole said. "Good teams don't lose three games in a row."