Who is For Real? NHL Power Rankings Week 2
By Kevin Mejia
BIGGEST JUMP: Vancouver Canucks, 12
BIGGEST DROP: Dallas Stars, 10
- Colorado Avalanche (5-0-0) (UP 6) – My goodness!!! This team is set to make it big this year. The Avs are the only team to beat the Bruins and have also beaten the Coyotes and Capitals this past week. Mikko Rantanen leads the Avs with 9 points. Rookie defenseman Cale Makar has 6 assists on the season. Philipp Grubauer sits comfortably at a .925 save percent. Safe to say this Avalanche team is well constructed by GM Joe Sakic. New additions Nazem Kadri and André Burakovsky have been huge.
- Boston Bruins (5-1-0) (UP 1) – Boston only has one loss on the season, as the Avalanche defeated them last Thursday night. Other than that hiccup, the Bruins have kept a clean slate. Tuukka Rask recorded his first shutout of the season versus the Devils; Rask has a .957 save percent on the season. David Pastrňák hanging up 4 goals on John Gibson of the Ducks is quite impressive. The Bruins managed to make Gibson look human. The Bruins play Tampa Thursday night.
- Carolina Hurricanes (6-1-0) (DOWN 2) – Another week, another dominating performance. Going 2-1-0 with a loss to Columbus is a bit interesting, however wins over the Islanders and Kings helps. This team is dominating opponents and not letting many shots get through to netminders James Reimer and Petr Mrázek. The tandem has played to a .927 save percentage, good enough to keep the Canes in most games. The Canes continue their west coast swing with games versus San Jose and Anaheim, tonight and Friday, respectively.
- Nashville Predators (4-2-0) (UP 10) – What a wild week for the Predators. Coming back from a 4-2 deficit versus the Capitals, then losing to the Kings, and then rebounding versus the Golden Knights with a 5-2 victory in Vegas makes this team hard to read. This team seems to be elite with all the talent in the lineup, however, the Preds really should beat teams like the Kings. Matt Duchene is eating with line mate Filip Forsberg. Watch Saturday for a fun match versus the Panthers.
- Buffalo Sabres (5-0-1) (UP 6) – The Sabres are putting their money where their mouth is as they have gone 3-0 over the past week. Defeating the Canadiens, Panthers, and Stars in 3 consecutive games is no easy task. Victor Olofsson is no joke playing with Jack Eichel and Sam Reinhart. Olofsson commands the Sabres with 5 power play goals and 2 assists through 6 games. Carter Hutton is starting to even out as he possesses a .908 save percent. Buffalo is for real (Bills too).
- Toronto Maple Leafs (4-2-1) (DOWN 2) – Toronto did exactly what they needed to do over the past week, going 2-1-0 versus the Lightning, Red Wings, and Wild. Getting demolished by Tampa Bay was certainly a wake-up call for the Leafs, as they fought in the first period, but squandered what should have been a close game. The defense is still suspect as ever, as they have allowed 216 shots on goal. Cody Ceci will likely be moved before the end of the season. Nick Robertson is a forward.
- Edmonton Oilers (5-1-0) (UP 3) – So… the Oilers are good. Connor McDavid is clearly the best player in the league as he is dominating the league with 12 points, along with running mate Leon Draisaitl putting up 12 as well. The goaltending tandem that is Mike Smith and Mikko Koskinen have provided a combined save percent of .916. This team has a chance with this goaltending. Losing to Chicago on the road hurts, as the Oilers could not complete their 6th comeback of the year.
- St. Louis Blues (3-1-2) (DOWN 7) – St. Louis has gone 1-1-1 over the past week. Only winning versus the Senators is slightly concerning as they lost to the Islanders and Canadiens. After leading 3-2 versus the Canadiens the Blues gave up 4 unanswered goals. Overall this team seems to be playing well, as they have 5 players with 5 or more points. After signing his extension, Brayden Schenn has been excellent with 5 goals and 2 assists. The Blues host the Canucks Thursday night.
- Tampa Bay Lightning (3-2-1) (UP 4) – A shocking week for Tampa Bay. The offense was electric, and everything seemed to be clicking, except in Canada’s capital. The Lightning lost to the Sens, 4-2. Putting up 7 goals on the Leafs is no small feat, along with a solid 3-1 win over the Canadiens. Andrei Vasilevskiy has rebounded after a small hiccup to start the season, as he now sits at a .921 save percent. Steven Stamkos and Nikita Kucherov each have 8 points. The Lightning are heating up.
- Vegas Golden Knights (4-3-0) (DOWN 5) – This is some weird Vegas magic. The Knights won a back to back this Saturday and Sunday but couldn’t manage wins with rest Thursday and Tuesday night. The Knights took down the Flames and Kings, while losing to the Coyotes and Predators. Mark Stone continues to play well, as he has put up 10 points. Marc-André Fleury still has it at age 34, with a .922 save percent. Huge game in Pittsburgh Saturday.
- Pittsburgh Penguins (4-2-0) (UP 11) – Well, well, well… how the turn tables… The Penguins have 25 goals through their first 6 games. This offense might be playing against weak teams like the Jets, Wild, and Blue Jackets (7 goals each in those 3 games), but it is surely firing at 100% at the moment. If the Pens can sustain their offensive burst, they will be dangerous all season. The Pens will have a true test as the Central leading Avalanche come to town tonight in a primetime matchup.
- Anaheim Ducks (4-2-0) (DOWN 4) – As previously stated, this offense will not carry this team. The Ducks have scored just 13 goals, while giving up 10. Losses to the Penguins and Bruins hurt, as those games were kept close (1 goal and 2 goal loss, respectively). Gibson and Ryan Miller have combined for a .944 save percent. Ondřej Kaše leads the team with 4 points. This team needs to find an offensive sparkplug soon. Call me crazy but Bobby Ryan back to Anaheim?
- Washington Capitals (3-2-2) (DOWN 7) – Major concerns for this Capitals squad. Braden Holtby has looked average at best with his .846 save percent. Holtby missed all 3 shots he faced versus the Avs Monday afternoon. Rookie Ilya Samsonov may need to step in sooner rather than later as he has been dynamic with a .944 save percent. John Carlson leads defenseman in points with 11. Norris recognition this year? Potentially. The Great 8 has 5 goals. Is he slowing down? Need relief Caps fans? Follow new service puppy Captain.
- Calgary Flames (3-3-1) (UP 4) – The Flames are coming on strong. Going .500 over 4 games in 6 days including a back to back with the Golden Knights and Sharks is successful. A better performance on the back to back would have been welcome, however, the Flames did outshoot the Golden Knights and Sharks. David Rittich has provided adequate goaltending over 6 games. Johnny hockey is sitting at a point per game pace. Watch for Matthew Tkachuk versus Drew Doughty part 2 Saturday night.
- Philadelphia Flyers (2-1-1) (UP 4) – After a successful trip to Prague and home opener on American soil, the Flyers have dropped 2 in a row in western Canada. Dropping games to Vancouver and Calgary stings, and a matchup versus the Oilers will be no easy game. Travis Konecny has put up 7 points in 4 games, leading the Flyers. The Flyers goaltending has been outstanding, as Carter Hart is playing with a .938 save percent. Claude Giroux needs to step up for the Flyers to be a contender.
- Vancouver Canucks (3-2-0) (UP 12) – After a slow start to the season, the Canucks have won 3 straight games, outscoring their opponents 16 to 5. A lineup of young talent infused with veteran leadership has progressively showed out this season. J.T. Miller, who was acquired via trade at the 2019 NHL draft in Vancouver, leads the team with 7 points. Standout rookie defenseman Quinn Hughes has 3 points in 5 games. Thatcher Demko won his season debut with a .963 save percent. The future is bright.
- New York Rangers (2-1-0) (DOWN 8) – The Rangers have played one game over the past week, a 4-1 loss versus the Edmonton Oilers. Allowing 3 goals in the last 10 minutes of the game is a mental error as the Rangers seemed a bit lost after not playing for a week. Freshman Kaapo Kakko scored the first goal of his young career. Look for this speedy Finn to dominate the league for years to come. Starting tomorrow, the Rags play 5 games in 7 days.
- New York Islanders (3-3-0) (UP 5) – This seems like a very middling team. With head coach Barry Trotz behind the bench, anything is possible. After coming back to beat the Blues after falling behind 2-0, the Isles won in overtime. This team is wildly inconsistent and goaltender Semyon Varlamov seems to be a huge part of that, as he has posted a .905 save percent in 3 games. Watch for the Jets to get revenge versus the Isles Thursday.
- Florida Panthers (2-2-2) (DOWN 4) – Sunrise stays interesting. Going 1-0-2 over the past week with both losses coming in the shootout (fake hockey) is quite the week. A huge comeback versus the Devils puts them right in the thick of the playoff hunt. The greater the sample size, the more relevant the data. 5 games played for Sergei Bobrovsky, a .870 save percent. Bob needs to play like the $10 million a year man he is being paid to be. Tough match versus the Avs Friday night.
- Montreal Canadiens (2-2-2) (DOWN 8) – The Canadiens are right in the thick of things, as they went 1-2-1 since last Wednesday night. The Canadiens proved they could play with the big boys as they went toe to toe with the reigning Stanley Cup champions Saturday night, winning 6-3. Max Domi is a fan favorite and leads the team with 6 points. Jeff Petry has looked fantastic leading the Montreal blueline. Carey Price must return to form for the Canadiens to compete.
- Winnipeg Jets (4-4-0) (DOWN 1) – Somehow, some way, the Jets sit in the first wild card spot at the moment. With a terrible defense, the Jets have allowed a league leading 30 goals. On the flip side, the offense has put up 26 goals. The Jets need defenseman now. If they had average defenseman backing the blueline, this team would likely sit within the top 3 of the Central division. The two netminders of the Jets have seen a total of 273 shots thrown their way. Check yourself, Winnipeg.
- Arizona Coyotes (2-2-1) (UP 5) – Don’t turn your nose at the Coyotes. The Yotes beat the Golden Knights, lost to the Avs in OT, and defeated the Jets this past week. Over the course of those 3 games, the Coyotes gave up only 6 goals. With Niklas Hjalmarsson out for a while, with a cracked fibula, the Coyotes must stay strong defensively. If this offense can kick things into a third gear, this team will be deadly as Darcy Kuemper is getting stops, sitting at a .955 save percent.
- Detroit Red Wings (3-3-0) (DOWN 7) – Detroit seems to be peeling off from their hot start to the season. Anthony Mantha has cooled off after his 4-goal game, only putting up 1 over his past 3 matches. Beating Montreal on the road shows signs of growth for this young team, however, getting shellacked by the Leafs stings. Even after a quick start in Vancouver, the Red Wings just couldn’t keep things going, giving up 5 consecutive goals. Detroit may be headed for the basement of the Atlantic.
- Columbus Blue Jackets (2-3-0) (UP 1) – Beating one of the best teams in regulation will move the Blue Jackets up this week’s power rankings, defeating the Hurricanes this past Saturday, 3-2. Joonas Korpisalo played outstanding versus the Canes as he put up a .938 save percent. The night before was a tough loss to the Ducks, however, the Blue Jackets outshot the Ducks by 4 and limited them to only 23 shots. The defense of this team might carry them out of the basement of the Metro.
- San Jose Sharks (2-4-0) (UP 6) – Still not crazy about the Sharks. Martin Jones posted a .970 save percent against the Flames Sunday night, which is exactly what the netminder needed. The return of Patrick Marleau seems to have sparked the Sharks push as of late, with 2 goals for the Sharks legend in his return against Chicago in a 5-4 win. The Sharks netminders have seen 184 shots against, the defense will need to tighten up a little more for a successful season.
- Los Angeles Kings (2-4-0) (NO MOVEMENT) – You really 8-2 see it. The Kings lost 3 of 4 over the past week, including a game where they lost 8-2 to the Canucks. A sneaky 7-4 win versus the Predators has been followed by back to back losses versus the Golden Knights and Hurricanes. Drew Doughty might be hurt following a scary incident versus the Hurricanes. There will be an update Thursday before their tilt versus Buffalo. Jonathan Quick sits last in the NHL with a .793 save percent. YIKES.
- Dallas Stars (1-5-1) (DOWN 10) – Let’s be up front about this Dallas Stars’ team; the goaltending has been subpar to say the least. After being nominated for the Vezina trophy last season, Ben Bishop has put up a .895 save percent in 5 games. The power play sits at 4.5%. The penalty kill? 82.1%. This team needs to play up to their high standards. The team has scored 13 while allowing 23. Joe Pavelski only has 1 point in 7 games. Head coach Jim Montgomery is on the hot seat.
- Chicago Blackhawks (1-2-1) (DOWN 4) – After getting back from Prague, the Blackhawks have gone 1-1-1. Losing in their home opener to the Sharks hurts, blowing a 2-goal lead versus the Jets hurts even more. However, a 3-1 win versus the Oilers is big for their first win of the season, as Corey Crawford put up a .964 save percent. Patrick Kane is still dynamic as ever, putting up 5 points in 4 games. Reclamation project Alex Nylander has 2 goals in 3 games.
- Minnesota Wild (1-5-0) (NO MOVEMENT) – The Wild currently sit last in the West. Minnesota’s one win came against the lowly Ottawa Senators. Playing 4 games in 6 days hurts the body and it seems like Minnesota just isn’t there mentally. Brad Hunt, Ryan Suter, and Jared Spurgeon are in a 3-way tie for the team’s lead in points. How many you ask? 4. This is a miserable offense. Devan Dubnyk is 0-5-0 with a .867 save percent. Free agent acquisition Mats Zuccarello has 0 points.
- New Jersey Devils (0-4-2) (DOWN 9) – A slow start to say the least. Jack Hughes has yet to record a point; for as much hype he had coming in he should have at least 1 by now. In 3 of their 6 games, the Devils have blown leads (Jets, Oilers, Panthers). Most recently, the Devils lost a 3-goal lead with 18:52 left in the second period versus the Panthers before losing 6-4. The goalies continue to be dreadful. The Devils have 5 games remaining on their current homestand.
- Ottawa Senators (1-4-0) (DOWN 1) – Ottawa is back to the back! The Sens lost to the Wild and the Blues, yet somehow managed to get a sneaky win versus the Lightning. Acquiring Vlad Namestnikov from the New York Rangers is a move that allows for more depth for the Sens as they now have sent down Drake Batherson and Vitaly Abramov to the AHL. Not much to this team. Dylan DeMelo has been somewhat of a bright spot for the Sens.
Avalanche Photo Credit: (Photo by Michael Martin/NHLI via Getty Images)
Penguins Photo Credit: (Photo by Joe Sargent/NHLI via Getty Images)
Canucks Photo Credit: (Photo by Jeff Vinnick/NHLI via Getty Images)
Panthers Photo Credit: (Photo by Andy Marlin/NHLI via Getty Images)
Blackhawks Photo Credit: Bill Smith/Chicago Blackhawks