“You Miss 100% of the Shots You Don’t Take. – Wayne Gretzky” – Michael Scott: NHL Power Rankings Week 15
By Kevin Mejia
Biggest Jump: Dallas Stars, 6
Biggest Drop: Vegas Golden Knights, 12
- St. Louis Blues (30-10-7) (UP 3) – St. Louis is hitting their stride as they have won 4 in a row. During the last 3 games of the win streak, they’ve outscored opponents 14-4. Starter Jordan Binnington has provided an adequate .917 save percent in net for the Blues, however, during the win streak he has put up a great .930 save percent in 3 of the 4 wins. With 6 players with 10 or more goals, the Blues have the depth to win it all again. The Blues host Philly tonight.
- Washington Capitals (31-11-5) (DOWN 1)– A 2-game losing streak came to an end as Ilya Samsonov recorded a 2-0 shutout against the Carolina Hurricanes, the first of his career. Both goals were scored by Alex Ovechkin, who passed Teemu Selänne for 11th all-time on the goal scoring list. Losses against the Flyers and Devils hurt the mentality of this team moving forward. Nicklas Bäckström signed a 5-year extension worth $46 million yesterday. A rematch against the Devils takes place Thursday before the Caps head to Long Island Saturday.
- Pittsburgh Penguins (29-12-5) (DOWN 1) – The league has officially been warned… Sidney Crosby is back. In his first game back, Crosby put up an astounding 4 points against the Wild. Not to mention, a crafty assist to deke out Ryan Donato to say the least. When Crosby was out, the Pens had the best record in the league. Now, he’s back in a big way. A trio of 4-3 victories without Crosby on the desert swing really showed off the toughness of the Pens. The Pens head to Beantown tomorrow.
- Tampa Bay Lightning (28-14-4) (DOWN 1) – The Lightning might have lost their 10-game win streak to the Devils, but they continually trust the process. The little bump in the road was nothing. Nikita Kucherov tied the game late before the Bolts won it in a shootout against the Kings. Before the loss to the Devils, the Lightning pulled out victories over the Yotes and Flyers. The Lightning will look to keep this new win streak alive against the Wild and Jets, who they play back to back Thursday-Friday.
- Dallas Stars (27-15-4) (UP 6) – The Stars have come out from a terrible start to the season, as they began it 1-7-1. From that point forward, the Stars have gone 26-8-3. An overtime winner from Esa Lindell last night against the Avs has pushed the Stars to a 2-point lead over the Avs in the Central division standings. The Stars are hungry, as they push to prove their might against the Sabres tomorrow night. Ben Bishop is all-world with his .930 save percent.
- Boston Bruins (27-9-12) (UP 1) – Tuukka Rask is hurt. After only playing 1 minute and 12 seconds against the Blue Jackets, Rask was concussed as Emil Bemström elbowed him. With the loss of Rask and the loss to the Blue Jackets, the Bruins have dropped 2 straight. Even with victories over the Jets and Islanders, the Bruins still can’t rattle off a big win streak. The Bruins have been streaky as of late, but no one seems to mind. Oh, and Brad Marchand missed a shootout attempt.
- New York Islanders (28-13-4) (DOWN 2) – Not the most conventional 1-1-1 week for the Islanders. First, a loss to the Bruins in overtime at home, then getting obliterated by the Rangers by 4, and closing it out with a smacking of the Red Wings. The Islanders are one of the more consistent teams in the league, however, the team must focus to win games that they should win (Rangers). Young defenseman Noah Dobson scored his first career goal against the Wings. The Isles look for revenge against the Rangers tomorrow.
- Arizona Coyotes (26-18-5) (DOWN 2) – The Coyotes are in a perplexing situation, as they have gone 5-4-1 in their last 10 and 1-2-1 in their last 4 games. Consistent scoring may be a big problem for the Yotes. I say this the night after a 6-3 win, yes, but don’t be fooled; the Yotes were shut out by Tampa and Carolina on back to back nights. Key matchups against Vancouver and Edmonton take place tomorrow and Saturday, respectively. Phil Kessel will put this team on his back.
- Calgary Flames (25-18-5) (UP 3) – The Flames 5-game winning streak came to screeching halt Monday night as they were shutout by the Canadiens. During the win streak, the Flames never pulled away from their opponents, as all matches were decided by 1 goal. Cam Talbot kept the Flames alive in their streak, as he was named the 3rd star of the week. Matthew Tkachuk now leads the team in points with 38. Tkachuk might’ve gotten cold-cocked by Zack Kassian this weekend, but the Flames still beat the Oilers.
- Edmonton Oilers (25-18-5) (UP 5) – The Oilers are playing up to their abilities and beating teams they should beat as of late. In their last 5 games, the Oilers have come away with 4 victories. Their only loss in that stretch has been to Calgary, as the Flames beat their Albertan rivals. Connor McDavid is a transcendent talent that we may never see the likes of again. He has 74 points. McDavid keeps scoring and is just insane. A Pacific division game against the Coyotes awaits Saturday night.
- Colorado Avalanche (25-15-6) (DOWN 1) – The Avs have taken a bit of a tumble lately, losing their last 4 games. Overtime losses to Pittsburgh and Dallas most recently hurt as the Avs have some of the best 3 on 3 talent in the league with Nathan MacKinnon, Mikko Rantanen, and Cale Makar. The talents on this team needs to get their heads straight. Figure it out. Pavel Francouz has been dazzling with a .926 save percent. Before the All-Star break, the Avalanche take on the Sharks, Blues, and Red Wings.
- Toronto Maple Leafs (25-16-6) (DOWN 3) – The up and down season of the Leafs continues. 2 losses in a row were followed up by a riveting game with little to no defense against the Devils last night, as Auston Matthews recorded a hatty. With the Leafs allowing 16 goals in their last 3 games, you must question the structure of the team. Yes, Morgan Rielly is hurt and out long term. Freddy Andersen playing with a .910 save percent is a miracle in front of this defense. Calgary comes to the 6ix tomorrow.
- Carolina Hurricanes (27-17-2) (UP 1) – After back to back shutouts against Arizona and Los Angeles, the Canes were shutout by the Capitals Monday night. Petr Mrázek and James Reimer have been playing well all year, posting save percentages of .906 and .917. The offense is clicking with 4 players at 40 points or above. Justin Williams has re-signed with Hurricanes after a brief hiatus on a 1 year, $2 million deal. Good to have a veteran leader back in the lineup.
- Florida Panthers (24-16-5) (UP 4) – The Panthers quietly sit as one of the most underrated teams in the league, as they possess multiple elite level scorers in Jonathan Huberdeau and Aleksander Barkov. Respectively, the duo has put up point totals of 61 and 49. Huberdeau just took over Olli Jokinen as the all-time leading scorer for the Panthers with a 2-point performance against Toronto. With a 2-game win streak intact, the Panthers take on the Kings, Red Wings, Wild, and Blackhawks before the All-Star break.
- Philadelphia Flyers (24-16-6) (UP 4) – The Flyers pulled out a huge victory over the Bruins after Travis Sanheim tied the game late in the 3rd Monday night. With the dub, the Flyers have won 2 of their last 3 games, all against quality opponents. The Flyers drubbed out the Capitals last Wednesday while they could not find the back of the net against a hot Tampa team. The Broad Street Bullies are 15-3-4 at home, 4th best in the league. Carter Hart is an astounding 13-2-2 with a .940 save percent at home.
- Columbus Blue Jackets (23-16-8) (UP 1) – Elvis has left the building… FOR THE SECOND WEEK IN A ROW!!! Elvis Merzlikins posted back to back shutouts this past week. Absolutely preposterous. Elvis’s save percent is up to a .921 on the season while over his last 3 games it is a .968. The run that Columbus has gone on as of late seems to have come out of absolutely nowhere. The Blue Jackets welcome in a bunch of jerks tomorrow night at Nationwide Arena.
- Winnipeg Jets (25-18-4) (DOWN 1) – The Jets are making a real playoff push. The Jets sit in the second wild card spot at the moment, as they have 54 points. Vegas, who sits behind them, also have 54 points. Securing only half of their points in their last 4 games is a bit rough, with both losses coming down to 1 goal, the Jets have a ton of untapped potential. Friday Night Lights will be broadcasted in Winnipeg as they take on the Lightning.
- Vancouver Canucks (25-18-4) (DOWN 5) – Losses to Florida and Winnipeg bookended a pair of wins against Buffalo and Minnesota this past week for the Canucks. The Canucks have a lot of work to do if they want to make a postseason push, as the team needs to improve and attain consistency. Jacob Markstrom has proved to be an adequate starter as he has a .914 save percentage. Elias Pettersson has been dominant with 48 points in 47 games. A critical match versus the Coyotes takes place tomorrow night.
- Buffalo Sabres (21-19-7) (UP 1) – 2 up, 2 down, or in this case, 2 down, 2 up. The Sabres lost 2 straight against the Blues and Canucks before figuring things out against the Red Wings and Golden Knights. Easy to say that the Blues and Canucks are quality opponents while the Red Wings are bad and the Golden Knights aren’t playing their best hockey, however, give Buffalo credit. Jack Eichel deserves a hart nomination as his 61 points are CARRYING this team. Buffalo travels to Dallas tomorrow.
- Vegas Golden Knights (24-19-6) (DOWN 12) – After their crazy comeback against the Blues, the Golden Knights’ luck has seemingly disappeared. With 4 straight losses in the books, the Knights need answers. In their last 3 games, no one has shown up. 12 goals allowed and only 4 goals for. The Golden Knights will search for victory as they take on the Senators and Canadiens next. Mark Stone will need to step up his game, as he only has 1 point in this last 3 contests. (EDIT: Head Coach Gerard Gallant has been fired, Peter DeBoer has been named the new head coach)
- New York Rangers (22-19-4) (NO MOVEMENT) – How hot is Artemi Panarin? 22 points in his last 9 games HOT. Panarin most recently dropped 5 points in a win against the cross-town rival Islanders. Miraculously, the Rangers have won 2 of their last 3 games, with the other victory coming against the Devils. These wins were stuffed with a loss in between against the mighty Blues. The backup situation for the Rangers has been complicated as Igor Shesterkin enters the picture. Alexander Georgiev may be on the move.
- Chicago Blackhawks (21-20-6) (NO MOVEMENT) – An overtime victory against the Senators last night has pushed Chicago to victories in 2 of their last 3 games. Jonathan Toews secured the victory with a silky snipe against tendy Marcus Hogberg. Chicago’s 2-game win streak started against the Ducks, as they controlled the pace of play with a 4-2 win. However, a 5-2 loss to an upstart Preds team beforehand had made it 2 losses in a row. Tonight, the Hawks take on the Canadiens in an original six matchup.
- Nashville Predators (21-17-7) (UP 1) – Filip Forsberg… pulled it off!!! The Swedish phenom pulled off the lacrosse style goal against the Oilers! With the loss, an abbreviated 2-game win streak came to an end. Victories against Chicago and Winnipeg may have restored a bit of confidence in this shaky Nashville team. Even with Pekka Rinne still under a .900 save percent, he has been playing better as of late with a .919 save percent in his last 2 and a goal as well. The Preds get Anaheim Thursday night.
- Montreal Canadiens (20-20-7) (UP 5) – Ilya Kovalchuk, huh?? The man provided an answer as he sniped an overtime game-winning goal against the Senators. With the shot, Kovalchuk broke the Canadiens 8-game losing streak. A shutout Monday from Carey Price against the Flames has let the Canadiens string together a couple of wins. Don’t let this fool you, as the Canadiens still have a lot of ground to cover in the standings if they want any shot at the playoffs. Montreal plays in Philly tomorrow.
- New Jersey Devils (17-22-7) (NO MOVEMENT) – Blake Coleman! A natural hat trick against the Maple Leafs is a lot to celebrate, however this came in a loss. Before this loss to the Leafs, the Devils had beaten the Capitals and Lightning on back to back nights. Louis Domingue pulled out a ridiculous .967 save percent in those 2 games. All the while, GM Ray Shero was fired. Not quite sure about firing a GM midseason. If he was meant to be out, the Devils should’ve pulled trig sooner.
- San Jose Sharks (21-23-4) (NO MOVEMENT) – The Sharks are very, very, very much in denial at the moment. The Sharks cannot hold onto pieces that they value, as they must look to rebuild on the fly. The head honchos really think that this Sharks team can still contend with Erik Karlsson’s left ankle getting destroyed every night. Even with wins in 2 of their last 3 games, the Sharks just don’t have it anymore. Without goaltending, this team will go nowhere.
- Minnesota Wild (20-20-6) (DOWN 4) – Continual disappointment from the Wild. The Wild have now lost 4 straight games. In their last 2 contests, the Wild have been outscored by their opponents 11-4. Losing this much is never fun. With Alex Stalock pushing a .903 save percent and Devan Dubnyk not fairing much better, the Wild season may be lost. Eric Staal’s 33 points to lead the way is simply not enough. A 4-game homestand before the All-Star break could be disastrous… they start with Tampa tomorrow.
- Los Angeles Kings (18-25-5) (DOWN 1) – The Kings continue to prove an easy win, as they have lost 3 of their last 4 games. Dallas, Carolina, and Tampa Bay all took care of business as the Kings surrendered easily. Even with a 5-2 win over the Golden Knights, the Kings still sit in the bottom of the Pacific division. Anže Kopitar and Drew Doughty seem to be the only consistent scoring threat for the Kings. Yikes. Up next is a date with the Florida Panthers.
- Anaheim Ducks (17-24-5) (DOWN 1) – Another dud of a week for the Ducks. The Ducks season is at an all-time low, as they sit 30th in league standings. A 4-game losing streak courtesy of Columbus, Dallas, Chicago, and St. Louis has really dampened the mood in Anaheim. During the latest 3 games, the Ducks have only mustered enough offense for 3 goals. Opponents have put up 11 in the same time span. With Nashville and Carolina back to back, the Ducks could extend their losing streak.
- Ottawa Senators (16-22-8) (NO MOVEMENT) – Sometimes, you’re just bad. And then sometimes, you just lose 8 games in a row. It really do be like that sometimes. Most recently, the Senators have lost to the Red Wings (shootout), Canadiens (overtime), and Blackhawks (overtime). The Sens are just terrible. Throw this season out the window please. Trade assets. Get younger. Get value in return. Take on bad contracts. The Sens will lose to Vegas and Calgary at home this weekend before the All-Star break.
- Detroit Red Wings (12-32-3) (NO MOVEMENT) – Detroit keeps it short and to the point… they’re terrible. Even with a shootout win against Ottawa Friday night, the Red Wings have lost 4 of their last 6 games. In their last 2 games, the Red Wings have allowed a combined 13 goals while only scoring 3 for themselves. Congrats to Givani Smith who scored his first career goal against the Isles last night. A meeting in Motown Friday night will take place between the Wings and Pens.
Header Photo Credit: (Photo by Bill Smith/NHLI via Getty Images)
Pens Photo Credit: Joe Sargent/Getty Images
Flames Photo Credit: Brett Holmes / Getty Images
Panthers Photo Credit: (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
Blue Jackets Photo Credit: (Photo by Jamie Sabau/NHLI via Getty Images)
Rangers Photo Credit: (Photo by Jared Silber/NHLI via Getty Images)
Devils Photo Credit: (Photo by Patrick McDermott/NHLI via Getty Images)