Expectations and Streaks: NHL Power Rankings Week 5
By Kevin Mejia
BIGGEST JUMP: St. Louis Blues, 11
BIGGEST DROP: Colorado Avalanche, 17
- Boston Bruins (11-2-2) (NO MOVEMENT) – After a 6-game win streak, the Bruins lost a toughie to the Canadiens, with a late goal being disallowed. David Pastrňák continues to remain on fire, with 15 goals and 15 assists. Pastrňák even took a photo with a fan who crashed into his Porsche. The Bruins proved their resiliency as they scored 3 unanswered goals against Pittsburgh after giving up a 3-0 lead. The Bruins will continue to be the team to beat in the NHL. They’re hungry.
- Washington Capitals (11-2-3) (UP 1) – The Caps are on a roll, as they have won 4 in a row. In their latest match, Jakub Vrána recorded a hat trick in front of the World Series Champions Washington Nationals. Before that, the Capitals cleaned the Sabres 6-1. Vrána now sits second in goals for the Caps. The Capitals have the highest shooting percentage in the league and have scored in every second period they have played. The Caps host the Golden Knights Saturday.
- New York Islanders (11-3-0) (UP 2) – Stay hot New York. The Isles have won 10 in a row with a victory over the Senators last night. The other 2 wins over the past week include a 1-0 shutout in Buffalo and a thrashing of the Lightning 5-2. This shutdown team has outscored their opponents 35-17 over the course of the win streak. Head coach Barry Trotz continues to bring a defense first mindset to teams which he coaches. The Isles have the Pens and Panthers up next.
- St. Louis Blues (10-3-3) (UP 11) – Winners of 5 straight matches, the Blues have kept their cool after a bit of a Stanley Cup hangover. If the Blues need to play a high scoring affair, they can keep up; the Blues can play a defensive matchup, settling in and digging deep. This team knows what it takes to win, as demonstrated by last year’s run. During their streak, the Blues have only won by 1 goal in each game, with 3 of the 5 games going to overtime.
- Vancouver Canucks (9-3-3) (UP 5) – A west coast swing went exceedingly well as the Canucks captured 5 of 6 points possible. Dating back to October 19th, the Canucks have outshot their opponents in every game. Converting on scoring chances will be key for the Canucks success this season. A disappointing loss to the Blues at home might be frustrating, but the Canucks head to Chicago tomorrow night. Elias Pettersson has 20 points in 15 games. Brock Boeser leads the team with 7 goals after a hat trick versus L.A.
- Nashville Predators (9-4-2) (UP 1) – Well… the Nashville Winter Classic jerseys look… alright??? Blowing a 4-1 lead against the Flames on Halloween was certainly spooky but losing to New York (R) is downright terrifying. An explosive 5-goal second period against Detroit helped rebuild the confidence this team needs to compete in the Western Conference. Matt Duchene scored twice, including this lucky goal. Duchene has lived up to the hype, as he has 13 points in 14 games. Look for a fun one in Vancouver next Tuesday.
- Arizona Coyotes (9-4-2) (UP 1) – The Coyotes continue to prove they are a top tier team and that this year is the year that they will put it all together. After losing by 3 to Montreal, the Yotes won 2 straight before falling to the Flames in overtime on the second half of a back to back. The defense is holding up well along with Darcy Kuemper providing Vezina level goaltending, with a .940 save percent. The Coyotes take on the Caps Monday in D.C.
- Edmonton Oilers (10-4-2) (UP 4) – A complete week for the Oilers as they went 2-0-1 since last Wednesday. Outshooting 2 of their 3 opponents the Oilers seemed semi-dominant. Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl continue to be cheat codes that will carry this team to the playoffs. Mike Smith stopped 51 of 52 shots versus the Penguins, earning himself the 3rd star of the week (.974 combined save percent versus Columbus and Pittsburgh). A tough overtime loss to the Coyotes stings, but St. Louis comes to town tonight.
- Vegas Golden Knights (9-5-2) (NO MOVEMENT) – Fun Fact: Reilly Smith has now scored against all 30 teams he could possibly score against, with this tally against Columbus. Smith also scored the game-winner against Columbus last night. 2 tough losses in overtime to Montreal and Winnipeg after blowing 2-goal leads in each game show signs of mental weakness for the Knights. A win versus Columbus might prove huge to the streakiness of Vegas. The Knights play Toronto and Washington Thursday and Saturday, respectively. Time to roll the dice.
- Buffalo Sabres (9-4-2) (DOWN 6) – Buffalo has come up short in its past 2 games to say the least; a 6-1 drubbing at the hands of the Capitals and a strenuous 1-0 loss to the Islanders. The Sabres outplayed the Isles over the course of the last 2 periods as they outshot them by a combined total of 21-11. The Sabres head to Sweden to take on the Lightning this weekend. With Marco Scandella hurt, Swedish native Lawrence Pilut will make the trip.
- Calgary Flames (9-7-2) (UP 7) – Winner winner, chicken dinner. The Flames are… heating up after a spooky 3 goal comeback against Nashville capped off with a goal of the year candidate courtesy of Matthew Tkachuk. The Flames won 2 in a row before dropping a game to the Capitals Sunday, but they rebounded in another overtime win against the Coyotes, again from Tkachuk. If the Flames can stay hot against New Jersey tomorrow night, then the Flames might just catch fire and erupt in the standings.
- Florida Panthers (7-3-4) (UP 4) – The Panthers are winners of 2 straight matches. These Cats fearlessly took down the Avs in the face of adversity, tying the game with 90 seconds left and winning 30 seconds into overtime off the stick of Jonathan Huberdeau, who also tied the game. A necessary cakewalk came against Detroit, with Sergei Bobrovsky pitching a 4-0 shutout. 3 of the next 4 games for the Panthers come against top 5 teams in the league.
- Carolina Hurricanes (9-5-1) (DOWN 7) – The Canes are looking like the Carolina Panthers all of a sudden. The Canes have lost 2 in a row after stuffing Detroit 7-3. The Hurricanes have given up 9 goals in their last 2 games (1 empty netter) which seems preposterous for a team with such a solid defense. In the 2 games, James Reimer and Petr Mrázek recorded save percentages of .840 and .857, respectively. Moving pieces for a real number one goalie may benefit the Canes this season.
- Toronto Maple Leafs (8-5-3) (UP 3) – Time to panic in Toronto? Calm your jets, folks. After winning an 11-round shootout, the Leafs beat a bad L.A. team 3-1 last night. The Leafs might be able to cake walk their way to wins, but wins are wins and the Leafs must take them in stride. William Nylander continues to be a fan favorite, doing all the little things right. A beautiful backcheck on his part led to a dazzling backhand goal against the Kings. Things are heating up in the 6ix.
- Anaheim Ducks (9-7-1) (DOWN 2) – Anaheim lives and dies by the sword that is John Gibson. In Gibson’s last 2 games against Minnesota and Vancouver, Gibson had save percentages of .880 and .975, respectively. Based on these percentages, we know that Anaheim lost against Minnesota and beat Vancouver. That’s just how the Ducks fly. Averaging 2 goals over their last 3 games and getting half of their possible points, the Ducks are lucky to be swimming above water right now. Anaheim takes on Edmonton Sunday.
- Dallas Stars (8-8-1) (UP 6) – After a heavy start to the season, the Stars are right back in the thick of the standings. The Stars have won 4 straight games. The old roster calmly collected themselves and now sit with 8 wins. At the moment, the Stars sit 1 point out of the 3rd spot in the Central division. Who are they chasing? Colorado, who they have beaten twice in their 5-game win streak. Ben Bishop has a .928 save percent, showing his patience in net.
- Montreal Canadiens (8-5-2) (DOWN 3) – Montreal is on the come up, winning 3 of their 4 previous games, including a 2-goal comeback against Vegas and an all-around team effort to beat Boston by 1 goal. An awkward 4-1 loss to Dallas might have interrupted a win streak, but Montreal seems unphased. The Canadiens have 7 players, 2 of which are defenseman, that have recorded at least 10 points this season. Montreal should be able to walk through Philadelphia and Los Angeles this week.
- Winnipeg Jets (8-7-1) (UP 5) – Coming into the season, we thought Dustin Byfuglien was taking a break from hockey. Things are getting ugly between Byfuglien and the Jets. The Jets find themselves back on track despite the lack of defensive depth, as they’ve gotten 5 of 6 possible points in their last 3 games. Losing a shootout to New Jersey hurts and the team does not have it easy with Vancouver coming up Friday night. Look for Patrik Laine to score a few more goals soon.
- Colorado Avalanche (8-5-2) (DOWN 17) – Oh, how the mighty have fallen. This Avs team has lost 5 straight games including 2 to the Dallas Stars. The Avs have been outscored 18-7 during the streak. Ever since Mikko Rantanen’s injury coupled with Gabe Landeskog going down, this offense has not been the same. With Matt Nieto and Joonas Donskoi filling in on the first line with Nathan MacKinnon, they just haven’t clicked the same way as Rantanen and Landeskog did with MacKinnon. MacKinnon had a 13-game point streak snapped against Arizona.
- Pittsburgh Penguins (8-6-1) (DOWN 9) – A tough week as the Pens went winless over the course of 2 games. The Pens shelled out 52 shots on Oilers goalie Mike Smith Saturday, but Smith stood tall and only allowed 1 goal. The numbers don’t lie, the more you shoot, the more you score. No worries in this department. However, the Penguins did lose 6-4 to the Bruins Monday night. A tall task was not answered. A matchup with the red-hot Isles awaits Thursday night in Brooklyn.
- Philadelphia Flyers (7-5-2) (NO MOVEMENT) – The Flyers have gone 2-0-1 over their last 3 games, 2 of which have gone to the shootout. The Flyers won a shootout versus New Jersey while falling in 11 rounds to Toronto. Carter Hart recorded a .933 save percent over his starts against New Jersey and Carolina, as he must step into his own this year. Claude Giroux now has 11 points in 14 games and is creating offense for his team. A sneaky surge may be in the works.
- New Jersey Devils (4-5-4) (UP 7) – Taylor Hall loves the spotlight, and as the leader of the Devils, probably shouldn’t call out the fans for booing when the team hasn’t been playing up to par. If things stay relatively the same before the trade deadline, Hall may get moved. However, that’s neither here nor there. The Devils have won 2 straight and gotten points in their last 4 games! The Devils handled the Hurricanes and got revenge versus the Jets. The Devils will play Edmonton Saturday.
- Tampa Bay Lightning (6-5-2) (DOWN 3) – Tampa Bay seems to have found it’s footing as an inconsistent team. Going from a 7-6 overtime win against the Devils, courtesy of Tyler Johnson was followed by a 5-2 loss to the Islanders. The Lightning seem to be a very base team and will likely continue this way for the rest of the season unless something drastic changes. Maybe their trip to Victor Hedman’s homeland of Sweden will swing the season as they take on the Sabres this Friday and Saturday.
- Columbus Blue Jackets (5-7-3) (DOWN 5) – Columbus has officially entered a rut in the season, as they have lost 5 straight games. With 4 games in their past 6 days, the Blue Jackets turtled to the Oilers, Blues, Flames, and Golden Knights. The Blue Jackets have been outscored 20-8 over the course of the losing streak. Both goalies for the Blue Jackets have save percentages under .900. Pierre-Luc Dubois only has 10 points in 15 games for the scoring lead on the team.
- New York Rangers (5-6-1) (DOWN 1) – A complex set of games took place over the past week for the Rags; they beat a solid Nashville team but somehow lost to Ottawa. At least Kaapo Kakko got on the board with a goal and assist against Ottawa! If anything is expected of this Rangers team, it is to expect the unexpected. A very inconsistent lineup with tons of talent must play up to the New York standard. A win tonight against Detroit would be huge.
- Chicago Blackhawks (4-7-3) (NO MOVEMENT) – A late comeback was foiled for the Blackhawks last night as Timo Meier iced the game with an empty netter. Chicago has continually struggled this season, especially with Corey Crawford’s abysmal .892 save percent. Robin Lehner must be made the full-time starter! The west coast road trip might be considered a success for the Hawks as they got a potential 2 out of 6 points. Patrick Kane has 13 points in 14 games. The Hawks host Vancouver tomorrow night.
- San Jose Sharks (5-10-1) (DOWN 2) – San Jose ended a 5-game losing streak last night! Woo! This team still needs to figure a lot of things out. Getting consistent scoring would be helpful. Getting a save percent better than .889 would be helpful. A plus-minus better than +2 would be helpful. Erik Karlsson looks like a shell of what he used to be and will likely prove to not be worth $92 mil over the next 8 years. God help the Sharks.
- Minnesota Wild (5-9-1) (NO MOVEMENT)– The Wild snapped a 3-game losing streak last night after defeating the Ducks 4-2. Back to back games versus the Blues proved to be too much for the Wild. Of players who have played 10 games or more for the Wild only 1 has a plus-minus above 0, Carson Soucy, who is a +4. The Wild should temper their expectations as the season continues, especially if Devan Dubnyk continues his torrid .883 save percentage. This team will not make the playoffs.
- Los Angeles Kings (5-10-0) (UP 2) – The clown show continues for the Kings. They managed to scrape 2 of 6 possible points out in their last 3 games. Losses to Vancouver and Toronto aren’t shocking, however a late overtime winner from Drew Doughty pushed the Kings to a victory against Chicago. If you really want a telling sign of this team, it’s that Jack Campbell has the better of 2 bad save percentages, with a .881. It’s possible the Kings could eke out a win against Ottawa tomorrow night.
- Ottawa Senators (4-9-1) (NO MOVEMENT) – A weird stretch of 3 games in 4 days has shaken up the Senators a bit. Losses to Boston and the Islanders were sandwiched with a win against the Rangers. The Sens problem seems to lie in their defense, as only Thomas Chabot seems to be worthy of playing at the NHL level. If used in proper situations, Ron Hainsey and Dylan DeMelo may be serviceable 3rd pairing defenseman. Other than that, this team is just sloppy. Brady Tkachuk continues to grow.
- Detroit Red Wings (4-11-1) (DOWN 4) – Just a bad team being bad. The Red Wings have been outscored 17-4 over their last 3 games. That’s just unacceptable, for any team. After somewhat of a hot start to the season, the real Detroit has reared its ugly head. Their schedule doesn’t get any easier either, as they play Boston Friday night while hosting Vegas in a late matinee start Sunday. The goalie situation is atrocious, with both keepers having save percentages under .890. Rebuilds take time.
Flames Photo Credit: (Photo by John Russell/NHLI via Getty Images)
Islanders Photo Credit: (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
Predators Photo Credit: (Photo by Dave Reginek/NHLI via Getty Images)
Panthers Photo Credit: (Photo by Eliot J. Schechter/NHLI via Getty Images)
Penguins Photo Credit: Steve Babineau /Getty Images
Devils Photo Credit: (Photo by Gregg Forwerck/NHLI via Getty Images)
Kings Photo Credit: (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)