This is the Way: NHL Power Rankings Week 9
By Kevin Mejia
BIGGEST JUMP: Minnesota Wild, 17
BIGGEST DROP: Florida Panthers, Montreal Canadiens, 11
- Boston Bruins (20-3-5) (UP 4) – It might have taken until the 3rd period last night, but Boston has extended its winning streak to 8 games, and the team has a 12-game point streak as well. Brad Marchand and David Pastrňák lead the team with 44 and 43 points, respectively. Goalies Tuukka Rask and Jaroslav Halák both sit with save percentages above .930. Halák’s shutout last night marked his 2nd on the season. A rematch versus the Colorado Avalanche Saturday night will be a game to watch.
- Washington Capitals (20-4-5) (DOWN 1) – Winners of 4 straight games, the Capitals continue to play grade A hockey. Defenseman John Carlson is killing it with 40 points, as he is a lock for the Norris barring injury. Alex Ovechkin sits 2nd in the league with 20 goals. Even without his running mate Nicklas Bäckström, who has missed 6 games in a row with an upper body injury, the Capitals continue to hum along. Jakub Vrána has 14 goals as the Caps continue their west coast swing.
- St. Louis Blues (18-5-6) (DOWN 1) – Victories over Pittsburgh, Chicago, Calgary, and Tampa Bay since Tuesday, November 19th has propelled the Blues to the top level of the NHL. With a 4-game winning streak on the line tonight versus the Penguins, the Blues will look to continue their hot streak. David Perron currently leads the team with 28 points in 29 games. Jordan Binnington has played elite level goaltending with a .926 save percent. The Blues streak may come to an end versus the Maple Leafs this Saturday.
- New York Islanders (18-6-2) (DOWN 1) – The best team in the tri-state area… the Islanders continue to prove their haters wrong. The Isles seem to be slipping of late but are winners of 2 of their last 3 games. The California road trip was unsuccessful, with jet lag catching up to the Isles as they only acquired 1 of a possible 6 points in the Golden State. A win against Toronto is always fun as well. The Islanders square off against the Golden Knights tomorrow.
- Edmonton Oilers (17-9-3) (UP 3) – Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl have 51 and 50 points, respectively. McDavid is on pace for 144 points while Draisaitl sits at a comfortable 141-point pace. The next leading scorer has 19 points. Who is it? By god, it’s Zack Kassian. If there was any elite talent on this team besides McDavid and Draisaitl, this team could win the cup with ease. Kudos to Mikko Koskinen who has a .921 save percent after starting off the season quite slowly.
- Philadelphia Flyers (16-7-5) (UP 3) – Look out, the Broad Street Bullies are back in business. The Flyers have won 5 in a row as they knocked the Leafs out last night by a score of 6-1. Carter Hart now sits at a comfortable .910 save percent while backup Brian Elliott boasts a .916 of his own. The consistent goaltending combined with offense from all around has pushed the Flyers to a top 3 spot in the Metropolitan division. Ivan Provorov has entered the conversation for goal of the year.
- Colorado Avalanche (16-8-2) (DOWN 3) – Well, Mikko Rantanen is back and the Avs are better than ever. Winners of their last 3, the Avalanche are cooking up a storm. The rapid offense has been sparked by a duo no one saw coming; Nathan MacKinnon and Cale Makar. MacKinnon has 42 points, while Makar is in contention for the Calder, leading all rookie scorers with 25 points as a defenseman. With depth scoring (Joonas Donskoi 11 goals, André Burakovsky 11 goals, Nazem Kadri 10 goals), the Avalanche continue to dominate.
- Winnipeg Jets (17-10-1) (UP 10) – A strong 7-3-0 over their last 10 games, the Jets are soaring above their competition. The Jets flew over Dallas last night and blew them away with a 5-1 victory. Patrik Laine leads the Jets in scoring with a solid 27 points. Connor Hellebuyck has been absolutely dynamic in net posting a .934 save percent. This level of play is Vezina level. The Jets may be able to string together some wins together over Dallas, Anaheim, and Detroit this week.
- Arizona Coyotes (16-9-4) (DOWN 3) – Arizona has proven to the league they are a forced to be reckoned with, as they have gone 5-3-2 in their last 10. The Yotes scoring might be a bit low, but this is no problem when the quarter season Vezina winner Darcy Kuemper is in net. Kuemper has provided the team with a fantastic start to the season, going 11-6 with a ridiculous .936 save percent. A matchup in Pittsburgh may be difficult, but the Coyotes should be able to handle business.
- Vegas Golden Knights (15-11-4) (UP 11) – Vegas seems to be in a bit of a precautionary state as of now. In their last 3 weeks the squad has posted a 6-4-1 record. A team content with playing .500 level hockey will not make the playoffs. As of now, however, the team is riding high with a 4-game winning streak. Look out for this team to make more noise as the season progresses. With 5 players over 20 points on the season, the offense seems to be clicking.
- Dallas Stars (15-11-3) (UP 11) – Going 7-3-1 over their last 11 games, the Stars have shown off their bright spots as the offense has spotted 37 goals over that span. Averaging a little over 3 goals a game will certainly help as Ben Bishop has a .928 save percent. The offense coming alive is in large thanks to Tyler Seguin, who leads the team with 21 points. Dallas has some fun matchups this week, as they play the Jets again Thursday and the Islanders Saturday.
- Pittsburgh Penguins (14-9-4) (NO MOVEMENT) – Since the last time we checked in, the Pens have gone 4-3-2. Not great, not terrible. With Sidney Crosby out Jake Guentzel and Evgeni Malkin have stepped up to help the team. Malkin is over a point a game while Guentzel sits at a point a game pace. Matt Murray has been getting less time in net, as he now sits with a .897 save percent, which will not cut it in the 412. A rematch with St. Louis awaits the Penguins.
- Carolina Hurricanes (16-11-1) (UP 1) – An up and down past 3 weeks for the Hurricanes has given them a 6-4-0 record over that span. No momentum has built up over said time, as the best the team could muster was 2 2-game win streaks. If the team can get up and running, they will likely be a threat in the Metropolitan division. Being shutout by the Bruins on the road stings but coming home to San Jose tomorrow at PNC Arena will be a delight.
- Minnesota Wild (13-11-4) (UP 17) – Well, it has finally happened. Something has clicked for the Minnesota Wild as they are 7-0-3 in their last 10 games. Jason Zucker is starting to heat up for the Wild as he has 10 goals on the season now. Finnish phenom Kaapo Kähkönen has only played 2 games but has a .950 save percent. This team will likely continue to be hot as long as their goalkeepers are steady in the crease. A south Florida matchup in Tampa awaits the Wild.
- Buffalo Sabres (13-10-5) (UP 5) – The past 3 weeks haven’t been the kindest to the Sabres, however, they seem to be hitting a stride at the moment. With wins in 2 of their past 3 games, the Sabres check into the holiday season in the right mindset; winning. A 7-1 throwdown of the Devils will give the team confidence, which will help the offense immensely over the course of the next few games. Eichel v McDavid part 57 million takes place this Sunday at 8 pm.
- San Jose Sharks (15-13-1) (UP 7) – Since our last checkup, the Sharks and Martin Jones couldn’t stop a beach ball… and that is still the case!! Both goalies have save percentages under .900 at the moment. The Sharks incredibly went 7-3-0 over their last 10, with the offense carrying the team with 33 goals over that course. Elite talents like Logan Couture and Brent Burns are having great seasons but the depth must step up for San Jose to succeed. A trip to the southeast awaits the Sharks.
- Vancouver Canucks (14-11-4) (DOWN 6) – An unimpressive 3 week stretch showcased the Canucks going 4-5-1. The offense has shown off in bursts, like a 6-goal game versus Pittsburgh and a 5-goal game against Edmonton, however the scoring is just inconsistent. Thatcher Demko has seemed to regress as he now sports a .912 save percent. At least Elias Pettersson has 32 points! Rookie Quinn Hughes has 23 points! The future is bright, however a matchup with the Sabres Saturday is calling.
- Florida Panthers (13-9-5) (DOWN 11) – Over the course of the last 3 weeks, Sergei Bobrovsky has done the impossible. His save percent of .881 has gone up to a .884. YIKES. Stop a puck, Bob. Other than that, a bumpy 4-5-0 stretch has been carried by an explosive offense led by Jonathan Huberdeau and Aleksander Barkov. After a bit of a lull in their schedule this week, the Cats take on Columbus and San Jose on back to back nights. Florida has its work cut out for themselves.
- Toronto Maple Leafs (13-12-4) (DOWN 3) – It is a new era of hockey in Toronto. Hockey is fun again. With the firing of Mike Babcock, Sheldon Keefe takes over the bench. The reaction from captain John Tavares (skip to 1:49) after their game in Arizona is all you need to know about how the players feel. A heavy weight has been lifted and this team is playing more relaxed, going 4-2-0 since the firing of Babcock. Even d man Tyson Barrie is having more fun now!
- Tampa Bay Lightning (13-9-3) (DOWN 3) – A mediocre 5-4-1 record since we last checked in on Tampa Bay suggests that there may be something there, but we cannot be completely sure about that. An overtime win over a struggling Nashville team was exactly what the doctor ordered; momentum. With Andrei Vasilevskiy improving to a .908 save percent, the team knows they can win regularly. Nikita Kucherov has started to heat up as he now has 30 points. The Bolts tango with the Isles Monday night.
- Montreal Canadiens (12-10-6) (DOWN 11) – Before last night’s win against the Islanders, the Habs had gone 0-5-3 in their last 8 games. Carey Price has not been himself this year so far, as he is sporting a .899 save percent. Old man captain Shea Weber sits second in team scoring with 23 points. Montreal’s timid offense will need to get it going in order to be successful the rest of the way. A date with the Avs tomorrow night will expose the Habs and their true selves.
- Calgary Flames (13-12-4) (DOWN 9) – The resignation of head coach Bill Peters seems to be a long time coming. GM Brad Treliving never considered another head coach after the firing of Glen Gulutzan. With the water clearing around Bill Peters and Akim Aliu, the Flames will need to reevaluate their season as a whole. There is a huge difference between being a bad coach and a bad person. Swirling rumors of Johnny Gaudreau being moved will not help the team whatsoever. It’s sink or swim now.
- Nashville Predators (12-10-5) (DOWN 8) – Losers of 3 of their last 4, the Preds seem to be hitting a rut at the worst time in the season. Goaltending has imploded, as both Pekka Rinne and Juuse Saros sit with save percentages under .900. Kyle Turris has been scratched a few times this season and is making $6 million to be a 4th line center. Matt Duchene has 20 points in 26 games, yet doesn’t lead the team in scoring, as Roman Josi has 24 points.
- New York Rangers (13-10-3) (DOWN 5) – With the Rangers going younger and younger, we have seen the emergence of rookies Adam Fox and Kaapo Kakko. Fox and Kakko have 14 and 11 points respectively. Checking in on free agent acquisition Artemi Panarin is unnecessary as he has 33 points in 26 games. Steady goaltending from Alex Georgiev and Henrik Lundqvist has kept the Rags in a few games this season. Before heading out west, the Rangers have a back to back of Columbus and Montreal this Thursday-Friday.
- Chicago Blackhawks (10-12-5) (UP 1) – After 15 games in a row with a point, Patrick Kane’s streak has come to an end as of Monday night against the Blues. The Hawks are 1-5-1 over their last 7 games and are becoming easy bait for teams to swallow. Corey Crawford currently has a .909 save percent, but that is just not enough for the Blackhawks to win. Crawford and Kane and a little bit of defense will be the key to success for the Hawks this season.
- Anaheim Ducks (12-12-4) (DOWN 1) – Anaheim continues to ride the back of John Gibson. Their last 10 games have shown what the Ducks are, a team with inconsistent goal scoring that can leap off of one the best goaltenders in the league. With the terrible defense that the Ducks have provided, Gibson has regressed to a .910 save percent. Young guns Sam Steel and Max Jones haven’t been as productive as the Ducks would like, but they still need time to develop. D.C. comes to town Friday.
- Columbus Blue Jackets (11-12-4) (NO MOVEMENT) – A sour 3-5-3 in their last 10 games, the Blue Jackets watch from the basement of the Metropolitan division along with the Devils. The Blue Jackets lost at home last night to a solid Coyotes team. Offense still seems to be an issue for this team, as leading scorers Pierre-Luc Dubois and Gustav Nyquist each have 18 points in 27 games. Joonas Korpisalo must be better than his .902 save percent. Long live the Columbus cannon.
- Ottawa Senators (11-16-1) (UP 1) – Surprisingly enough, over the course of the last 3 weeks, the Sens have gone 5-6-0. Still one of the worst teams in the league, the Sens continue to impress with the likes of Jean-Gabriel Pageau and Thomas Chabot. The Sens should consider packing in the season as of now and start dealing assets for the future. With a loss last night to the Canucks by 3 goals, the Senators have their work cut out for them tonight as they take on a rested Edmonton team.
- Los Angeles Kings (11-15-2) (UP 1) – In their last 9 road games, the Kings sport a record of 0-8-1. The Kings sporadic style of hockey since the 21st of November (wins versus Edmonton, New York (I), and Winnipeg) has surely made them feel confident but losses all around to San Jose make this team collapse. The young Kings have relied on Alex Iafallo and Michael Amadio while veteran leaders like Anže Kopitar have provided scoring for the team. The Kings host the Caps tonight.
- New Jersey Devils (9-14-4) (DOWN 2) – New Jersey has fired their head coach John Hynes as interim head coach Alain Nasreddine will take over. No goalie has a save percentage over .896. Taylor Hall will likely be moved as the season is starting to cave in on itself. The sooner the trade happens, the more value the Devils will get in return. With losses in 4 of their last 5 games, the Devils need to take immediate action to fix the season. The firing of Hynes is only the first move.
- Detroit Red Wings (7-20-3) (DOWN 7) – Well, this is the Detroit team we all thought we were going to get this season. Just bad. Both the power play and penalty kill sit bottom 7 in the league. Since November 23rd, the games just have not been close. Over that course of time, the Red Wings have been outscored 28-5 in just 6 games. Jonathan Bernier has a save percent of .891. Defenseman Filip Hronek is one of the few bright spots for this young team.
Lightning Photo Credit: (Photo by John Russell/NHLI via Getty Images)
Blues Photo Credit: (Photo by Joe Puetz/NHLI via Getty Images)
Jets Photo Credit: (Photo by Jonathan Kozub/NHLI via Getty Images)
Penguins Photo Credit: Joe Sargent/Getty Images
Maple Leafs Photo Credit: (Photo by Dave Reginek/NHLI via Getty Images)
Flames Photo Credit: (Photo by Sara Schmidle/NHLI via Getty Images)
Sens Photo Credit: (Photo by Jeff Vinnick/NHLI via Getty Images)