The Fight: NHL Power Rankings Week 11
By Kevin Mejia
BIGGEST JUMP: Calgary Flames, 11
BIGGEST DROP: San Jose Sharks, 10
- Washington Capitals (24-6-5) (UP 1) – The Capitals have unofficially officially hit the coast button. After coming home from a great west coast swing, the Caps came home only to lose to Columbus but beat Boston. The Caps Dad trip has been rocky as well, as the Caps smacked the Bolts but lost against the Blue Jackets. A 3-day break will greatly benefit them as they will play against the Devils Friday. #Johnny4Norris stays strong as Carlson has 45 points. Dougie Hamilton sits second in d-man scoring with 34 points.
- St. Louis Blues (21-8-6) (UP 2) – St. Louis stays hot and takes a 3-point lead on Colorado for the lead in the Central Division after a 5-2 win. David Perron propelled the Blues to victory with a hat trick. Perron quietly leads the team with 33 points. St. Louis has now won 3 games in a row after losing 3 in a row with wins over Vegas, Chicago, and Colorado. St. Louis plays host to the Oilers tonight as Connor McDavid comes to town.
- Colorado Avalanche (21-9-3) (UP 4) – After losing to the Blues, the Avs have lost their 9-game point streak. Previously, the Avs had beaten the Bruins decisively and also beat the Flyers. Nathan MacKinnon has an absurd 51 points in 33 games. Unfortunately, Cale Makar has been down with an injury since December 7th. Makar still sits 2nd in rookie scoring to Victor Olofsson. The loss to the Blues didn’t show a close score, however, the game itself felt closer than 5-2. Colorado hosts Carolina tomorrow night.
- New York Islanders (22-8-2) (NO MOVEMENT) – Stay hot New York… but don’t get shellacked by the Preds 8-3!! A 4-1-1 record in their last 6 games against quality teams such as Dallas, Buffalo, and Vegas proves that the Nashville game is likely just a bump in the road. 4 players with 20 plus points might be a bit low for the Isles but the defense sures up the squad. Matthew Barzal leading the way will make for an interesting contract negotiation this offseason.
- Boston Bruins (21-7-6) (DOWN 4) – The Bruins might be one of the hottest teams in the league, however, they have been slumping for their standards. Since the last check in with the Bruins, they have only achieved 1 win, against the Florida Panthers. This 1-4-2 stretch was punctuated with a blown game last night to the Kings. The Bruins will likely need their Christmas break sooner rather than later. 3 home games against the Isles, Preds, and Caps before the 24th will be rough.
- Arizona Coyotes (20-12-4) (UP 3) – Taylor Hall. 1 game, 1 assist, on the game-winning goal. Acquiring an MVP level talent for prospects and picks tells us that the Yotes are all in this season. Making a move in December for this kind of talent is usually unheard of, and it has immediately paid dividends. Hall might be a sparkplug for the team, as they had gone 3-3-0 in their last 6 before his arrival. This change will drastically improve the roster that already bolsters elite goaltending and solid defense.
- Carolina Hurricanes (21-11-2) (UP 6) – HE’S DONE IT AGAIN. Andrei Svechnikov has another Michigan-lacrosse style goal, this one coming last night against the Winnipeg Jets. Unbelievable. In their last 6 games, the Canes have gone 5-0-1 and done it quite decisively, outscoring opponents 25-11. The offense is clicking with Sebastian Aho, Dougie Hamilton, and Teuvo Teravainen leading the way. Only 7 players have less than 10 points. Backup tender James Reimer has a .924 save percent. Watch Thursday night as the Canes take on the Avs.
- Pittsburgh Penguins (20-10-4) (UP 4) – With Sidney Crosby still out, Evgeni Malkin has been producing, with 29 points in 21 games. Geno scored his 400th career goal with an empty netter in Calgary last night. The goaltending situation seems to be getting interesting as Tristan Jarry has a .940 save percentage and a 1.85 goals against average in 15 games. Jarry seems to have taken over the starting job as of late, with Matt Murray posting a .897 save percent. A matchup against the Oilers will draw interest.
- Winnipeg Jets (20-12-2) (DOWN 1) – A 3-2-1 adventure over the last 2 weeks for the Jets has been… interesting?? Confusing?? Frustrating?? A regulation loss to the Red Wings is puzzling while games like their 7-3 demolition of the Flyers show that the Jets can play with the best of ‘em. However, their most recent game against Carolina was a bit of disaster. Connor Hellebuyck was yanked after 2 periods as he gave up 5 goals. The Jets will look to rebound against Chicago tomorrow.
- Vegas Golden Knights (19-13-5) (NO MOVEMENT) – Vegas is starting to kick things up a bit, as they have won 3 straight games against Dallas, Vancouver, and Minnesota. Overall, the Golden Knights have gone 4-2-1 over their last 7 games. The Knights must push through as key players with big contracts must perform up to those standards. Max Pacioretty leads the way with 35 points. Marc-André Fleury sits well with a .918 save percent. The Golden Knights head to Vancouver tomorrow night.
- Calgary Flames (18-14-4) (UP 11) – Ever since the firing of Bill Peters, the Flames have played exciting hockey and gone 6-2-0 over that stretch. Even with a 2-game losing streak as of late, the Flames still sit well within reach of the Pacific division title. Johnny Gaudreau is heating up with 4 goals in his last 4 games. First line center Sean Monahan is also playing well with 28 points. The Flames look to get off the schneid against Montreal tomorrow.
- Philadelphia Flyers (18-11-5) (DOWN 6) – Before last night’s victory against Anaheim, the Flyers had lost 3 straight games and were on a 1-4-0 slump. Carter Hart took on the daunting task of stopping 40 of 41 shots against the Ducks and has played well overall this season. Travis Konecny has 29 points in 31 games to lead the way for the Flyers. A match versus Buffalo tomorrow will set the season straight for the Flyers. Thoughts are with Oskar Lindblom and his battle against Ewing’s Sarcoma.
- Dallas Stars (19-12-4) (DOWN 2) – Dallas has made a strong push over the past 2 weeks, going 4-1-1. The Stars have only allowed 82 goals all season, 2nd best in the league to the Isles. Things have to pick up a bit offensively, as the Stars have only mustered 91 goals, which is bottom 10 in the league. Slow starts can be overcome, as the Stars started with a 1-7-1 record this season. Ben Bishop is the key to the team, as he clicks with a .933 save percent.
- Edmonton Oilers (19-13-4) (DOWN 9) – Monday night the Oilers snapped a 4-game losing streak against the Stars. A hefty 1-4-1 record since we last checked in the Oilers proves that Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl might not be enough to keep the Oilers afloat. McDavid and Draisaitl are still on pace for 130 plus point seasons, but they have slowed down a bit over the last 2 weeks. A .917 save percent from Mikko Koskinen should be good enough for the Oilers.
- Toronto Maple Leafs (17-14-4) (UP 4) – As the Leafs are heating up with a 4-1-0 record in their last 5 games, they seemed to have right the ship. Even though the young team has given up 52 goals in the 3rd period, which is most in the league, they still continue to find ways to win. Auston Matthews potting 2 gorgeous goals last night against the Sabres helps the squad with their hot stretch. A tough matchup with the Hurricanes will be one to watch Monday night.
- Buffalo Sabres (16-12-7) (DOWN 1) – Jack Eichel has extended his point streak to 17 games with a couple of points last night in Toronto. However, a meager 3-2-2 record over their last 7 games has put the Atlantic division title out of reach. A key stretch of hockey is coming up with games against Philadelphia, Los Angeles, and Ottawa. 4 out of a possible 6 points would be ideal for the Sabres. On the other hand, the Bills clinched a playoff berth with a 17-10 win on SNF.
- Nashville Predators (16-12-5) (UP 6) – Smashville is… back??? A 4-2-0 record over their last 6 matches has put them just outside the playoffs. 13 goals combined against the Rangers and Islanders in their last 2 games have been explosive for a team desperate for scoring. Pekka Rinne and Juuse Saros both have save percentages under .900 which needs to improve for the Preds to make a playoff push. Filip Forsberg will need to produce more than 24 points in 27 games.
- Montreal Canadiens (16-12-6) (UP 3) – The Canadiens kicked off their 7-game road trip with a bang, a 3-1 victory against Vancouver. The power play clicked efficiently going 2 for 2, both scoring in the third courtesy of Tomáš Tatar and Shea Weber. Tatar and Weber actually sit 1-2 in scoring for the Canadiens. The Canadiens have won 4 of their last 5 games, with the one loss coming to Detroit of all teams. The Canadiens take on a hot Flames team tomorrow night.
- Tampa Bay Lightning (17-12-3) (UP 1) – This team will not play up to anyone’s standards and something needs to give. We’ve seen the Lightning get slapped over the past couple of weeks while they’ve also done some slapping of their own. Back to back games have really surmised their season, as a 7-1 curbstompping of the Sharks was followed up with a hard 5-1 loss to the Isles. Even a win against the Bruins shows the Lightning are capable of being a competitive team. Tampa plays D.C. Saturday.
- Minnesota Wild (16-14-5) (DOWN 6) – A busy stretch has led the Wild to a 3-3-1 record over their last 2 weeks. The Wild seem to have fallen off a bit from their plateau. An average team has played well against some good teams like the Flyers and Oilers but have lost to bad clubs like Chicago and Anaheim. Devan Dubnyk sits at a .893 save percent and needs to improve. Even Alex Stalock must improve with his .907. Arizona, Winnipeg, and Calgary will be tough tests.
- Florida Panthers (16-12-5) (DOWN 3) – Sergei Bobrovsky is finally over a .900 save percentage!!! Bob is now posting a .903 save percent in 27 games. The even keel team sits 2 points outside of 2nd in the Atlantic division. The Cats 9-game homestand has been a bit bumpy as the team has gone 4-4-0 with a game remaining against the red-hot Stars. Most recently, the Panthers took down the Senators 6-1, with team leading scorer Jonathan Huberdeau posting 4 assists while Noel Acciari scored a hatty.
- New York Rangers (16-13-4) (UP 2) – A 3-3-1 record since December 4th has provided the Rangers with a little bit of stability. The Rangers sit 6th in the Metropolitan and will likely hover around that spot for the rest of the season. Alexander Georgiev has a .920 save percent in 16 games and may be a trade piece later this season. In my estimation, the Rangers will likely hold on to the young Russian goalie. The Rangers will host an original 6 matchup against the Leafs Friday.
- Los Angeles Kings (14-18-3) (UP 6) – Looky looky. 4-0-1 in their last 5 games, the Kings are pushing through the Pacific division. A comeback win with a late tying goal from Matt Roy against the Bruins must have the confidence in the locker room at an all-time high. With Ilya Kovalchuk now out of the picture, the Kings have been firing on all cylinders. Even with both netminders having save percentages at .893 the Kings are finding ways to win. The Kings take on Columbus tomorrow.
- Vancouver Canucks (16-15-4) (DOWN 7) – Vancouver’s young guns might just have slowed down and hit a giant slump. Don’t look at Elias Pettersson, who is sitting with 35 points at the moment. A subpar 2-4-0 record over their last 6 games just isn’t good enough as Vancouver has fallen out of the playoff picture. Goaltending is not what it was at the start of the season, as Jacob Markstrom has a .915 save percent. The next 3 for Vancouver? Vegas, Pittsburgh, and Edmonton. Yikes.
- Columbus Blue Jackets (14-14-6) (UP 2) – Since the 9th of December, the Blue Jackets have beaten the Capitals twice, lost to Pittsburgh and Ottawa in overtime, and beat the Red Wings. This interesting stretch of hockey has led the Blue Jackets to stay in the bottom of the Metropolitan division. Gustav Nyquist leads the team with 23 points, which just isn’t enough for a successful team. Joonas Korpisalo is heating up, as he played back to back nights and saved 48 of 51 shots. Columbus heads to the Island Monday.
- San Jose Sharks (16-18-2) (DOWN 10) – Head coach Peter DeBoer has been fired. GM Doug Wilson had never fired a head coach in season before. San Jose does not have their 1st round pick as it lies in the hands of Ottawa. San Jose’s mad push has slowed down and DeBoer has paid the price. It is not his fault. Goaltending has been detrimental to the team’s wellbeing as both goalies have save percentages under .900. The Sharks play Vegas-St. Louis back to back this weekend in what might be 2 blowouts.
- Anaheim Ducks (14-16-4) (DOWN 1) – The Ducks might be the worst Duck in sports (see Pittsburgh, Oregon)!! A 1-4-1 record over their last 6 games sits the Ducks last in the Pacific. John Gibson has a .910 save percent this season and can no longer bare the load of the porous defense that is Anaheim. A trip on the east coast has started poorly with a 4-1 loss to the Flyers, followed up with games against the Devils, Islanders, and Rangers before returning home for their Christmas break.
- Ottawa Senators (14-18-3) (NO MOVEMENT) – Interesting watching the gusto the Sens have brought to the ice lately. A dynamic hat trick from Anthony Duclair against his former team and head coach John Tortorella was a big kick for the Sens. A mediocre 3-2-2 record over the last 2 weeks has sustained the Senators as a bottom level team in the league. An unsuccessful Florida trip, going 0-1-1 is what we should expect from the Senators. A home date tomorrow with the Preds will be interesting.
- Chicago Blackhawks (13-15-6) (DOWN 4) – Now convincingly a low-level team, the Hawks have to make smart moves when dealing their assets. However, maybe, just maybe, if they had played a Vezina nominee they signed this offseason the season wouldn’t be a bust. A .924 save percent from Robin Lehner just says it all. The offense does need a bit of work as they sit bottom 10 in the league in goals scored. Patrick Kane can’t carry this team on his back as the Blackhawks take on Colorado tonight.
- New Jersey Devils (10-17-5) (NO MOVEMENT) – The tank has begun. Moving Taylor Hall is only the first step in the process for the Devils. Acquiring a first rounder, conditional third, and 3 prospects is a huge hall for the Devils. The Devils will likely ship out P.K. Subban who has not been himself this year and the Devils will likely retain salary on his contract. Wayne Simmonds, who has 12 points on a 1-year deal, will also likely be moved. New Jersey must get great returns.
- Detroit Red Wings (9-24-3) (NO MOVEMENT) – The worst team in the league. And it is not close. A 12-game losing streak was somehow snapped against the Jets last Thursday, which propelled a 2-game win streak only to be followed with a 2-game losing streak, against L.A. and Columbus. The Red Wings should sell off the entire team for assets, which I’m confident Steve Yzerman will do. The streak will likely ramp up for the Wings, as they take on Toronto and Arizona on back to back nights.
Flyers Photo Credit: Anaheim Ducks Photo Gallery (https://www.nhl.com/ducks/photos/ducks-flyers-photos-121719/g-312654872/p-312722832)
Capitals Photo Credit: (Mark LoMoglio/NHLI via Getty Images)
Penguins Photo Credit: Gerry Thomas/Getty Images
Oilers Photo Credit: (Glenn James/NHLI via Getty Images)
Predators Photo Credit: (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Canucks Photo Credit: (Jeff Vinnick/NHLI via Getty Images)
Senators Photo Credit: (Andre Ringuette/NHLI via Getty Images)