Hey Now, You’re an All-Star! NHL Power Rankings Week 16
By Kevin Mejia
Biggest Jump: Florida Panthers, 9
Biggest Drop: Arizona Coyotes, 10
- Washington Capitals (33-11-5) (UP 1) – Alex Ovechkin. Hook, line, and sinker. Ovechkin’s last 2 games repeated themselves: he scored back to back hat tricks. Ovechkin handled his business after taking a high stick from Miles Wood against the Devils, while he led the Caps to a comeback after being down 4-1 after 2 periods against the Isles. The Capitals will head into the All-Star break with 3 straight wins by rookie goalie Ilya Samsonov. John Carlson leads defensemen with 60 points, while Roman Josi only has 48.
- Boston Bruins (29-10-12) (UP 4) – The Bruins have been a bit bumpy as of late, however the team should have won their last 3 before the All-Star break. The Bruins split a home and home with the Penguins, blowing a 3-0 lead in Pittsburgh. A goal from David Krejčí with less than 10 minutes to play pushed the B’s to a dub over the Golden Knights right before the break. Boston heads to Winnipeg after All-Star weekend.
- Pittsburgh Penguins (31-14-5) (NO MOVEMENT) – The Pens might’ve had a rough stretch with a 6-day stretch that had the Pens on the road for 3 games along with another home game, but the team managed to come away with 4 points. Not great, not terrible. Sidney Crosby led a comeback charge against the Bruins at home after the Pens went down 3-0. Crosby had 2 dimes to help the Pens get the win. The Pens will look to avenge a shutout loss against the Flyers after the All-Star break.
- Tampa Bay Lightning (29-15-4) (NO MOVEMENT) – Coming off a split on a back-to-back against the Wild and Jets, the Lightning sit comfortably in 2nd place in the Atlantic division. The Lightning lost a tight game against the Wild, who the Lightning have not beat in St. Paul since late 2011. The Bolts responded well on the second half of the back-to-back, as the offense released 7 goals while Andrei Vasilevskiy had a .968 save percent. Anthony Cireilli recorded his first career hat trick as well.
- Florida Panthers (28-16-5) (UP 9) – There is no denying it. The Panthers are the hottest team in the league heading into the All-Star break. The cats have won 6 games in a row. From a Frankie V hat trick last night against Chicago to a game winner with 5.6 seconds left against Minnesota Monday night, the Panthers have found ways to win. The Panthers are wielding a great deal of confidence, as they will take on Montreal after the All-Star break.
- New York Islanders (29-15-5) (UP 1) – Karma is king. After tweeting out a Devon Toews celly mocking Evgeny Kuznetsov, the Isles blew a 4-1 lead against the Caps in the 3rd period. Rough. Before their game against the Caps, the Isles took a hard L at home to the Rangers. To make matters worse, the Canes beat the Isles in a shootout the day after the Caps game. Luckily, the team will feel good going into the All-Star break as they beat the Rangers last night by a score of 4-2.
- St. Louis Blues (30-11-8) (DOWN 7) – Even with the All-Star game in St. Louis this year, fans might have a sour taste in their mouths as the Blues have lost 2 straight games heading into the break. The Blues were outmuscled by the Flyers last Wednesday and they just could not keep pace with the Avalanche on Saturday. With Alex Pietrangelo, Ryan O’Reilly, David Perron, Jordan Binnington and head coach Craig Berube all at the All-Star game, it will be an event to watch for Blues fans.
- Columbus Blue Jackets (26-18-8) (UP 8) – FOR THE THIRD WEEK IN A ROW… ELVIS HAS LEFT THE BUILDING!!! Elvis Merzlikins only in played in 2 of the last 3 games for Columbus, but he posted a ridiculous .973 save percent in those games. Merzlikins even earned 2nd star of the week for his performance. Not to mention, the Blue Jackets have won 5 straight games. Head Coach John Tortorella deserves heaps of credit as this Columbus team was thought to be scraps this season.
- Colorado Avalanche (28-15-6) (UP 2) – The Avs come into the All-Star break on a hot 3-game win streak. Even with only 1 true test against the Blues, the Avs seized the day with wins against San Jose and Detroit. Cale Makar and Nathan MacKinnon continue to lead the way as the dynamic duo have 37 and 72 points, respectively. The duo linked up for a crisp goal against the Red Wings, who the Avs dominated. The Avs come out of the break against the Flyers.
- Philadelphia Flyers (27-17-6) (UP 5) – The Flyers continued their dominance at home with a win against the Penguins last night. Playing 4 games in the last 6 days is no easy task, but the Flyers were up to it, beating St. Louis, L.A., and Pittsburgh. A weird 4-1 loss to the Habs at home is nothing but an anomaly. Flyers fans should have all the confidence in their team, even with Carter Hart hurt. The Flyers just know how to win. They come to Pittsburgh on the 31st.
- Carolina Hurricanes (29-18-3) (UP 2) – Splitting their last 4 games, the Canes have come out on the better end in their last 2, beating the Islanders and Jets. However, an injury to Dougie Hamilton will hurt the overall structure of this Carolina defense. On the bright side, Justin Williams won the Canes a game against the Isles in the shootout in his first game back. The Hurricanes will get back on the horse against the Vegas Golden Knights on the 31st.
- Vancouver Canucks (27-18-4) (UP 6) – Out of the scrum that is the Pacific division, the Canucks currently sit atop it. With their last 2 games against San Jose and Arizona, the Canucks came out on top as Elias Pettersson recorded 3 assists and Canucks’ goalies saved 51 of 53 shots. Pettersson will be in St. Louis over the break as an All-Star. Even rookie Quinn Hughes will make the trip. A great matchup awaits after the break, as Central division leading St. Louis takes on Vancouver.
- Edmonton Oilers (26-18-5) (DOWN 3) – The highlight machine that is Connor McDavid stayed hot when the Oilers took on the Coyotes on Saturday. McDavid scored twice, with his 2nd goal coming on a beautiful redirection off the rush. When in St. Louis, it’s unlikely we’ll see a trio of McDavid, Leon Draisaitl, and Matthew Tkachuk on the ice; Draisaitl made it clear he did not want time with the Calgary forward. The Oilers’ first game back after the All-Star break will be against the Flames, with Zack Kassian returning.
- Dallas Stars (27-17-4) (DOWN 9) – The Stars have laid back-to-back eggs against inferior opponents before they check into the All-Star break. In their last 2 games, the Stars have been outscored by the Sabres and Wild by a combined 11-1. With a .857 save percent in his last 2 games, Ben Bishop seems to have mentally checked out before his weeklong break. This anemic offense is led by Tyler Seguin, who has 36 points on the season. The Stars get Tampa Bay on Monday.
- Calgary Flames (26-19-5) (DOWN 6) – The Flames played a couple of games before the All-Star break, beating Toronto in a shootout while losing at Ottawa. Big Save Dave was phenomenal against the Leafs, as he pulled out 35 saves including a dandy against Andreas Johnsson. Against the Senators, the Flames gave up 4 goals before scoring twice. The effort was not there. Next up is the Oilers, as Zack Kassian and Matthew Tkachuk will certainly drop the mitts.
- Toronto Maple Leafs (25-17-7) (DOWN 4)– The Maple Leafs stumble their way into the All-Star break, losing 5 of their last 6 games, including their last 2. Losses to Calgary (in a shootout) and Chicago are tough pills to swallow for a team loaded with so much talent up front. Freddy Andersen has not played well as of late, as he has a .881 save percent this month in 7 starts. Andersen posted a horrific .824 save percent against the Blackhawks. Toronto will greatly benefit from this break.
- Chicago Blackhawks (24-21-6) (UP 5) – Congratulations to Patrick Kane, who scored his 1,000th point of his career against the Winnipeg Jets on a secondary assist. In terms of team play, the Blackhawks had won 5 in a row before last night’s valiant effort against the Panthers. The Hawks tried mounting a comeback, only to fall 1 goal short of a tie game. Even with the 5-game win streak, the Hawks only made it to 5th in the Central division.
- Arizona Coyotes (26-20-5) (DOWN 10) – The Yotes have fallen off quite a bit, however, they only sit 1 point out of first place in the Pacific division. The Coyotes fought hard against the Canucks but could only muster 1 goal. And in their next game, the desert dogs were stomped on by Connor McDavid and the Oilers. Coyotes fans should feel good about this team, as Adin Hill and Antti Raanta have stepped up in the absence of Darcy Kuemper. Rick Tocchet will coach the Pacific division All-Stars.
- Vegas Golden Knights (25-20-7) (UP 1) – The Golden Knights fired a coach just because I moved the team down 12 spots last week? That’s wack. Peter DeBoer won his first game as the head coach of Vegas; however, the wheels have once again fallen off the track. 2 straight losses at the hands of Montreal and Boston aren’t a great look for a team with so much talent. Vegas will reassess their season as they come out of the break against a scary Hurricanes team.
- Winnipeg Jets (25-21-4) (DOWN 3) – A 3-game losing streak at this point in the season, heading to a big break, can be detrimental to a team’s morale. The Jets have just accomplished this feat. Losses against the Lightning, Blackhawks, and Hurricanes have pushed the Jets down the Central division standings. The team is fragile, both mentally and physically. The Jets lost Adam Lowry for 4 weeks with an injury. Deep breaths. The Jets head to Columbus tonight.
- Nashville Predators (22-18-7) (UP 2) – With 1 win their last 3 games, the Preds sit second to last in a competitive Central division. With new head coach John Hynes, the Predators are 3-3-0. Pekka Rinne seems to have turned a corner as he compiled a .914 save percent in January. His .968 save percent against the Sabres led them to a close 2-1 win, with Craig Smith scoring the GWG. A Monday matchup against the Leafs will show how solid the defensive core of the Predators is this season.
- Montreal Canadiens (22-21-7) (UP 2) – Montreal has taken 4 of their last 5 games and have won their last 2 games. The Canadiens dominated a Flyers team that exceeds at home before winning against Vegas. Against the Knights, the Habs almost blew it after allowing the tying goal with 8 seconds to go. It is a new year for Carey Price as he has a .935 save percent in January. Ilya Kovalchuk continues to be a great add, scoring 3 goals in his last 2 games.
- Buffalo Sabres (22-20-7) (DOWN 4) – The Sabres split a pair of games against the Stars and Predators before heading into All-Star weekend. With Jack Eichel heading to the All-Star game, he’ll finally get the recognition he deserves. Coincidentally, the Sabres won the game that Eichel recorded a point against the Stars. With 9 points in 8 games this month Eichel has surely locked up a Hart Trophy nomination. The Sabres start a 4-game homestand against the Sens after the All-Star break.
- New York Rangers (23-21-4) (DOWN 3) – The lights seem to have gone out at MSG… Rangers fans know all too well this season was just a preview of what is to come. The Rangers took 2 losses in a row before festivities in St. Louis, as they were beaten by Columbus and the other New York team. Before those 2 losses, the Rangers did upset the Isles in Long Island. Artemi Panarin quietly has 68 points in 47 games this season.
- Minnesota Wild (22-21-6) (UP 2) – The Wild suffered a demoralizing loss Monday night against the Panthers, as they scored the game winner with 5.6 seconds to go. Before the heartbreaker Monday night, the Wild had won 2 straight games, as they beat the Lightning and Stars. Minnesota smacked around Dallas, as the Wild scored 2 goals in the first period and never looked back. The Wild play tonight before heading into their All-Star break, as they take on the Red Wings.
- Anaheim Ducks (19-24-5) (UP 3) – The Ducks ride and die by one position: their goalies. In their last 2 games, which were both wins, Ducks goaltending was exceptional, as John Gibson and Ryan Miller combined for a .951 save percent while only allowing 3 goals. The offense even showed up against the Predators, with Rickard Rakell putting up a goal and an assist. The Ducks open up their second half against division rival San Jose at the shark tank.
- San Jose Sharks (21-25-4) (DOWN 1) – The sorry Sharks have lost 3 games in a row, getting outscored by their opponents by a score of 14-4. Their last 2 games have been particularly embarrassing, as the Sharks could only muster enough offense for a single goal. San Jose’s management group will need to decide what to do at the deadline over the All-Star break, as they should sell. Aaron Dell has taken over the starting duties and has a .924 save percent in January.
- Ottawa Senators (17-23-8) (UP 2) – Splitting their last 2 games before a weeklong break, the Senators looked great in a win against the Flames. All-Star Anthony Duclair recorded an assist against the Flames with a pass up to Brady Tkachuk. Duclair leads the Sens low-scoring offense with 33 points. Goaltending is still an issue for the team, as Anders Nilsson leads the way with a .908 save percent. The Senators open things back up with a back to back against New Jersey and Buffalo on Monday-Tuesday.
- Los Angeles Kings (18-27-5) (DOWN 1) – The Kings are just bad! There’s no sugarcoating it! With 4 losses in a row, the Kings have just been terrible, giving up 14 while only scoring 7. Getting doubled up by your opponents is not the way to win hockey games. The only highlight from their 4-1 loss to the Flyers was a Dustin Brown end-to-end goal. That’s how you know it’s bad. Jack Campbell and Jonathan Quick still both have save percentages under .900. Yuck.
- New Jersey Devils (17-24-7) (DOWN 5) – After beating 2 of the best teams in the league last week, the Devils have lost 3 games in a row. The Leafs, Caps, and Blue Jackets all scored 5 or more goals in their games against the Devils. A total of 17 goals to a measly 6 goals will never win games for the Devils. The entirety of the Devils roster suffered at least a minus 1 against the Blue Jackets in their latest game. The Devils play the Sens after the break.
- Detroit Red Wings (12-34-4) (NO MOVEMENT) – The Red Wings are still managing a bad team and are continually sucking the void of space at the gorgeous Little Caesars Arena. With 5 losses in a row at the moment, the Wings are really showing out and going for that number 1 overall draft pick of Alexis Lafreniène. In their last 3 games, they took Pittsburgh to overtime, got slapped by the Panthers and couldn’t keep up with the high paced Avalanche. The Wings have the Wild tonight.
Header Photo Credit: Chase Agnello-Dean/Chicago Blackhawks
Penguins Photo Credit: Justin K.Aller
Avalanche Photo Credit: (Photo by Michael Martin/NHLI via Getty Images)
Oilers Photo Credit: (Photo by Andy Devlin/NHLI via Getty Images)
Blackhawks Photo Credit: Chase Agnello-Dean/Chicago Blackhawks
Sabres Photo Credit: (Photo by Glenn James/NHLI via Getty Images)
Ducks Photo Credit: Anaheim Ducks Media