New Year, New Me! NHL Power Rankings Week 13
By Kevin Mejia
BIGGEST JUMP: Vancouver Canucks, 12
BIGGEST DROP: Buffalo Sabres, 9
- Washington Capitals (27-9-5) (NO MOVEMENT) – The Capitals just don’t feel as good as they should have been in December. Going 3-3-0 over their last 6 games to end the month just does not feel like Caps teams of past. Even with Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Bäckström leading the decade in goals and assists, respectively, they seem to have slowed their pace. The power play has been hurting and teams have taken Ovechkin away. A trip back to Raleigh Friday will be a true test for the Caps.
- St. Louis Blues (26-9-6) (NO MOVEMENT) – After everything, the Blues had their 8-game win streak snapped by the Arizona Coyotes. A hard-fought tussle, the Yotes pulled away in the 3rd period. The Blues won’t have it easy, as they go on the road to Denver and Las Vegas to take on two top tier teams in the Western Conference. The Blues have depth scoring, with 5 players with at least 30 points. Jordan Binnington continues to be steady with a .921 save percentage.
- Pittsburgh Penguins (24-11-4) (UP 5) – Even with a win against the Sens, the Pens have lost Jake Guentzel for 4 to 6 months. The Penguins cannot catch a break when it comes to injuries this season. However, the Pens have won 3 in a row and 4 of their last 5. Guentzel’s injury comes at a bad time as he leads the team with 43 points. Evgeni Malkin currently sits second in team scoring with 38 points in 28 games. The Sharks come into town tomorrow.
- New York Islanders (25-10-3) (NO MOVEMENT) – The Islanders hit a 1-2-1 stretch before closing out the year with victories over the Wild and Capitals. Their most recent win over Washington was one of their most competitive and fast paced games this year, as they kept pace with a high scoring Washington team. The Isles have allowed the least goals in the league just only reaching 100 goals in 38 games. Semyon Varlamov has held down the fort with a .920 save percent this season. The Islanders have the Devils tomorrow.
- Boston Bruins (24-7-10) (NO MOVEMENT) – After losing 3 games in a row in overtime/shootout, the Bruins have rattled off a 3-0-1 stretch to end 2019. Most recently, the Bruins tripped over themselves in a shootout loss to the Devils. A huge 7-3 victory over Washington started a small 3-game win streak in this window. David Pastrňák and Brad Marchand lead the team with 59 points each. The Bruins host McDavid and Co. this Saturday at 1 pm. This team is heating up.
- Carolina Hurricanes (24-14-2) (UP 1) – The Carolina Hurricanes have come clean over their last 6 games going 3-3-0. The team plays up to their opponents and will occasionally play down to their opponents, as we saw with the Panthers and Rangers. A hard loss to the Leafs was weird with an early start in an explosive 8-6 loss. Wins against Colorado, Washington, and Montreal prove to me that this team won’t mess around. D.C. comes back to Raleigh this Friday in a rematch of this past Friday’s Canes win.
- Vegas Golden Knights (22-15-5) (UP 3) – An interesting close to 2019 with a 3-2-1 record in their last 6 games, including 2 back to back games. A rough 7-3 loss to the Avalanche was compacted by a 4-3 loss to the Ducks. However, the Knights have won 2 in a row against the Yotes and Ducks. Marc-André Fleury sits with a .913 save percent which is solid for a high scoring offense. Games against Philly, St. Louis, and Pittsburgh will be great games for the Vegas home crowd.
- Toronto Maple Leafs (22-14-5) (UP 7) – With their last 10 games, the Maple Leafs make themselves the HOTTEST team in the league with 17 of a possible 20 points gained. Auston Matthews continues to light the lamp with 27 goals to lead the team. Chemistry between Matthews and new line mate Mitch Marner will propel this team under Sheldon Keefe’s vision. Frederik Andersen’s .915 save percent keeps the Leafs in games. Matthews vs a newly re-defined Patrik Laine takes place tomorrow.
- Colorado Avalanche (23-13-4) (DOWN 6) – In their last 7 games, the Avs have put up a shy 2-4-1 record. The Avs completely outplayed the Jets last night, outshooting them 43-26. Nathan MacKinnon continues to dominate the league with 58 points. The new tandem of Pavel Francouz and Philipp Grubauer has been marvelous posting save percentages of .927 and .911 respectively. The Avalanche will likely rebound sooner rather than later as their shooting percentage seems to be a bit down. A showdown with St. Louis will test the strength of the Avs.
- Dallas Stars (22-14-4) (UP 3) – The Stars come into the Cotton Bowl hot with 2 straight wins against Colorado and Arizona. Winning 3 of their past 5 games the Stars might take the Winter Classic against a slower and colder team in Nashville. Ben Bishop has been solid all season long and will be in contention for the Vezina trophy with a .926 save percent. The offense has picked up with 16 goals in their last 5 games. Jamie Benn will need to pick up his slack as he has 19 points.
- Philadelphia Flyers (22-13-5) (UP 1) – Those west coast swings… they’llllllll get ya!!! A 1-2 record against the bottom-6 California teams is not how the Flyers wanted to end their year. A recent 5-3 loss to the Kings really shakes things up within the Flyers as the team will be puzzled and leave them looking for answers. However, there is no time to think as the Flyers have to get back on the horse against the Golden Knights tomorrow. Carter Hart’s .911 save percent must improve.
- Vancouver Canucks (21-15-4) (UP 12) – Coming out of their graves, the Canucks have won 5 games in a row. Clicking on all levels of offense right now, the Canucks have 20 goals during their win streak. Over the course of the win streak, the Canucks goaltending has propped them up with a .938 save percentage. Sophomore sensation Elias Pettersson leads the squad with 41 points in 40 games. With 7 players over the 20-point mark, the Canucks have the depth to win.
- Tampa Bay Lightning (21-13-4) (UP 6) – Tampa Bay has won 4 in a row to close out December and scored 5 unanswered goals against Buffalo last night. The Lightning roster has not been as potent as last year’s monumental team, but they are afloat sitting 3rd in the Atlantic Division. Nikita Kucherov is pushing his pace as of late as he has 5 points in his last 5 games. Kuch leads the team with 41 points. The Lightning head to the Bell Centre tomorrow night.
- Arizona Coyotes (22-16-4) (DOWN 8) – After a 3-game losing streak, the Yotes snapped it against the HOT Blues. Losing 4 of 6 before the ball dropped is rough, but the Yotes will rebound with new addition Taylor Hall fitting in nicely. The injury to Darcy Kuemper (#darcy4vezina #darcy4hart) has significantly hurt this team. Antti Raanta has not played well within his new starting role. The Coyotes take on a bad Ducks team tomorrow night.
- Winnipeg Jets (22-15-3) (DOWN 6) – After losing 3 of 4, the Jets close the year out with a huge bang in a 7-4 win against the Avs. Kyle Connor had a hat trick and could’ve put up 4 if it had not been for a great save by Philipp Grubauer. Connor Hellebuyck is still standing on his head with a .922 save percent for the Jets. Patrik Laine is sitting at a point per game pace, showing his new game with 24 assists. The Jets welcome in Toronto tomorrow.
- Edmonton Oilers (21-17-4) (DOWN 2) – *Insert obligatory Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl are amazing and provide stats: 64 and 62 points, respectively* The Oilers have struggled as late, losing 4 of their last 6 games. A huge 7-5 win against the Rangers will help the Oilers stay in front of the Flames for the last wild card spot. James Neal propelled the team with a hat trick to hit 19 goals on the season. The Oilers head to Buffalo tomorrow.
- Columbus Blue Jackets (18-14-8) (UP 8) – OOOOOOO wowie. The Blue Jackets had a 6-game win streak snapped against the Caps last Friday and then EVERYTHING HAPPENED. In overtime, officials let the clock run after the whistle for about 1 second against the Blackhawks. The Blue Jackets appeared to score the OTGWG but the puck did not cross the line all the way in time. In the shootout, the BJs lost and starter Joonas Korpisalo went down with an injury. Head Coach John Tortorella was upset to say the least. On to Boston tomorrow night.
- Florida Panthers (20-14-5) (UP 3) – The Panthers closed out the year with wins in 4 of their last 6 games. Losses to Tampa and most recently, Columbus, sting but closing with a 4-2-0 stretch is just dandy. Sergei Bobrovsky couldn’t stop a Baby Yoda if it hit him in his face. Bob has a .897 save percent. Jonathan Huberdeau might be the most underrated player in the NHL right now, as he has 53 points in 39 games. The Panthers travel north to Canada’s capital tomorrow night.
- Calgary Flames (20-17-5) (DOWN 8) – Calgary, Schmalgary… 0-4-1 in their last 5 games at home and overall 2-3-1 in their last 6 games. The Flames have fallen off a bit and dropped to one spot out of the playoffs. Who are they chasing? Their bitter rivals, the Edmonton Oilers. Oh boy. Johnny Hockey needs to get going as he only has 31 points in 42 games. Welcoming in the folks who play at the world’s most famous arena, the Flames will play the Rags tomorrow.
- Chicago Blackhawks (18-17-6) (UP 9) – Hey HEYYYYYY!!!! The Hawks have won 3 in a row and won 5 of their last 7 games, with the losses coming to the Avalanche and Devils. Maybe, just maybe they can make the playoffs… WHO AM I KIDDING??? Sorry Chicago, you might have my heart, but the Central Division is loaded with talent and the Hawks just do not have the goaltending. Even with Robin Lehner finally starting and a .922 save percentage, the Hawks dug themselves a huge hole earlier this season. Never say never.
- New York Rangers (19-16-4) (UP 1) – An average 3-3-0 record over their last 6 has kept the Rangers right in the basement of the Metropolitan Division. Artemi Panarin has quietly put up 55 points to open his New York Ranger career. A 4 goal 3rd period rally fell a bit short last night to the Oilers, but it shows growth for the young team. Fix the Lias Andersson trade situation. A trip to the SaddleDome is in store for the team.
- Minnesota Wild (19-17-5) (DOWN 2) – Minnesota goals scored in their last 6 games: 8, 0, 3, 6, 1, and 1. What do we take away from this as they’ve gone .500 in those games? The takeaway is that the Wild must score a ton of goals for the team to win, which seems to be unsustainable. Alex Stalock has a .901 save percent over the course of the season, which needs to drastically improve. The Wild take on Central Division rival Winnipeg Friday.
- Nashville Predators (18-14-6) (DOWN 6) – The Predators have played a mediocre 2-2-1 over their last 5 games, with back to back losses against the Penguins pushing them out of the playoff picture. The offense has picked up as they have scored 132 goals, which is good for 11th in the league, but sit bottom 15 in goals allowed with 127. Roman Josi leads defenseman in goals with 14 and leads the Preds in points with 39. The Winter Classic awaits, taking place in a couple of hours.
- Montreal Canadiens (18-16-6) (DOWN 6) – Losing 3 games in a row to end 2019 stings for the Canadiens as they have fallen out of the playoff picture. Their next 3 games will not be easy, as they take on the Lightning, Penguins, and Jets all at home. Carey Price isn’t playing up to his $10 million a year contract as he has a .901 save percent. Solid scoring all around just hasn’t come up big lately. Tomas Tatar leading the way with 35 points just isn’t enough.
- Buffalo Sabres (17-17-7) (DOWN 9) – The Sabres are… unfortunately… not playing well. The Buffalo crew has lost 4 in a row and fallen to 25th place in the league. Jack Eichel is trying to keep the team’s playoff hopes alive as he guides the squad with 53 points. Linus Ullmark’s .909 save percent is not up to par. The Ullmark-Hutton tandem has not played as well as they did earlier this season. Jack Eichel vs Connor McDavid part 58 million takes place tomorrow. GO BILLS.
- Los Angeles Kings (17-21-4) (DOWN 3) – Returning home to the Staples Center turned out to be what the Kings needed, as they recorded a 5-3 win over the Philadelphia Flyers. Before that, the Kings had struggled going 1-3-1 before winning against the Broad Street Bullies. Beating California rival San Jose is always fun and good for locker room morale. Goaltenders Jonathan Quick and Jack Campbell are currently posting .894 save percentages. The depth of scoring is like a sagging flower. The Kings continue their homestand against Nashville.
- New Jersey Devils (14-19-6) (UP 3) – Over their latest conquest, the Devils have been playing adequate hockey, going 4-2-1 and showing signs of life. Off of this, the Devils are riding a 2-game win streak but still look too young to compete for anything. A necessary evil to success is quality defenseman, which the Devils should look for this trade deadline and offseason. Keeping their top-2 scoring defenseman in Sami Vatanen and Damon Severson and building around them would do the Devils good. A trip to Nassau Coliseum awaits.
- Ottawa Senators (16-9-5) (NO MOVEMENT) – By the skin of their teeth, the Senators have gone 2-1-2 over their last 5 games. In their 2 wins, the Sens won by a combined 3 goals. Within this time frame, the Senators still remain in 7th place in the Atlantic Division and look prime for drafting a top-10 pick. Anthony Duclair has made the all-star team with 31 points (21 goals). Anders Nilsson appears to have taken the starting job in net, with a .908 save percentage.
- Anaheim Ducks (16-19-5) (DOWN 2) – The Ducks have lost 2 in a row and 4 of their last 6 games. The defense is swiss cheese at this point and John Gibson could only stand on his head for so long. Gibson’s save percent has dropped to a .908 and this team needs a .930 goalie for success, as the team lacks goal scoring depth, sitting bottom-3 in the league in goals scored. A trip to Arizona is in the works for the Ducks. Good luck with that.
- San Jose Sharks (17-21-3) (DOWN 4) – You know it’s bad when the Red Wings shut you out. That’s just pathetic San Jose. C’mon man. The Sharks have lost 4 of 5 and are really cruising for a bruising. Are they talking about tanking?? Martin Jones stinks with a putrid .893 save percent. Take a hike, Martin. Shoutout to Timo Meier, who scored his first career hatty against Philly. The Sharks have a rough road ahead, taking on Pittsburgh, Columbus, and Washington in their next 3 games.
- Detroit Red Wings (10-28-3) (NO MOVEMENT) – Just a bad team doing bad things… but they won a game???? Ah. Against San Jose. Good on Jonathan Bernier for recording a 34 save shutout against the Sharks. Other than that, the bad, terrible Red Wings have lost 4 of their last 5 games. Other than that, and their tank… not much to talk about! The Wings take on Dallas this Friday night. Vote Dylan Larkin for the All-Star game!
Penguins Photo Credit: Joe Sargent/Getty Images
Maple Leafs Photo Credit: (Photo by Mark Blinch/NHLI via Getty Images)
Lightning Photo Credit: (Photo by Bill Wippert/NHLI via Getty Images)
Blue Jackets Photo Credit: (Photo by Jamie Sabau/NHLI via Getty Images)
Blackhawks Photo Credit: (Photo by Gerry Thomas/NHLI via Getty Images)
Devils Photo Credit: (Photo by Andy Marlin/NHLI via Getty Images)