It's the best time of year!
Posted by Ryan Porth Labels: Power Rankings
1. Washington Capitals… LW: 1
The unbeaten Caps proved on Thursday and Saturday, via decisive victories over Philly and Detroit, that they are currently the NHL’s best.
2. Detroit Red Wings… LW: 2
Only one other Western Conference team (San Jose) has played as few games as the Wings. Still, Mike Babcock’s crew is off to a nice start.
3. Pittsburgh Penguins… LW: 4
No Crosby and Malkin? No problem. Pittsburgh has won three straight games, beating their opponents 11-4 in the streak.
4. Los Angeles Kings… LW: 8
Jonathan Quick didn’t let a puck past him last week, becoming the first Kings goaltender to ever record three consecutive shutouts.
5. Buffalo Sabres… LW: 5
Brad Boyes and Ville Leino, both obtained in the last calendar year and combining for a $8.5 million cap hit, have a total of three points between them.
6. Vancouver Canucks… LW: 6
The Canucks responded from a 4-0 loss on home ice to the Rangers with a pair of nice victories… and that was before they acquired David Booth from Florida.
7. San Jose Sharks… LW: 7
Todd McLellan’s crew was able to gut out two wins on the road this weekend. Their roadie continues with important contests in Nashville and Detroit this week.
8. Philadelphia Flyers… LW: 3
The Flyers, who put up a touchdown in Ottawa earlier in the week, were humbled at home with losses to Washington and St. Louis.
9. Chicago Blackhawks… LW: 10
In the last three games, Duncan Keith has five assists and a +5 rating. Solid.
10. Dallas Stars… LW: 13
How about Kari Lehtonen’s start? He has yet to lose this season, posting a 6-0 record, 1.48 GAA and .960 SV% in the first three-plus weeks.
11. Toronto Maple Leafs… LW: 12
Phil Kessel has been so good in the first seven games (8 goals, 14 points). Will he be able to avoid those long droughts this year and become a consistent producer?
12. Colorado Avalanche… LW: 14
I’m not drinking the Colorado Kool-aid yet, but here’s a team that is undefeated away from home and is getting great goaltending.
13. Boston Bruins… LW: 9
The big, bad Bruins continue to struggle. Claude Julien’s gang was far and away the best team at even strength last year. So far they are ranked 16th.
14. Anaheim Ducks… LW: 11
The penalty kill (ranked 6th) has been picking up the slack of the power play (26th). Last year, it was vice versa. The power play was ranked 3rd and the penalty kill 19th.
15. New York Rangers… LW: 18
Following Monday’s tilt in Winnipeg, the Rangers will actually play a home game on Thursday, the start of a six-game home stand.
16. New Jersey Devils… LW: 15
Martin Brodeur (shoulder) is missing more time than expected, and it is unknown whether he will return during this week’s road trip on the west coast.
17. Tampa Bay Lightning… LW: 20
For the first time this season, the Bolts put together back-to-back great efforts. Through eight games in 2010-11, Steven Stamkos had eight goals and 15 points. At that point this year, he has three goals and six points.
18. St. Louis Blues… LW: 21
Is Brian Elliott turning into a reliable backup ‘tender? He is 3-0 in the early going, making up for the slow start from Jaroslav Halak (1-4, 3.47 GAA).
19. Carolina Hurricanes… LW: 19
Captain Eric Staal is also off to a slow start with four points in eight games. Even worse, Staal boasts a -10 rating.
20. New York Islanders… LW: 16
The Islanders’ top line needs some help. Aside from John Tavares, P.A. Parenteau and Matt Moulson, no other forward has more than two points.
21. Nashville Predators… LW: 17
Shots have to be a concern for the Preds, who are currently averaging the least amount of shots in the NHL (22.1). They have a -11.8 shot differential through seven games.
22. Minnesota Wild… LW: 22
There doesn’t seem to be much consistency with Minnesota right now. They’ll need to turn it up with an upcoming slate that reads Anaheim, Detroit, Detroit and Vancouver.
23. Phoenix Coyotes… LW: 23
The ‘Yotes start a stretch where they’ll play six of seven at home. It will be a good litmus test, as Dallas, Los Angeles and Nashville will come to town.
24. Florida Panthers… LW: 25
Two games into a promising NHL career, Jacob Markstrom looks the part. He picked up a win in relief on Saturday and boasts a .960 save percentage.
25. Montreal Canadiens… LW: 24
This is not the start Jacques Martin and company were looking for. Travis Moen – I repeat, Travis Moen – leads the Habs in goals. This is a team that has dropped five straight.
26. Edmonton Oilers… LW: 27
One of the more intriguing storylines thus far has been the success of Nikolai Khabibulin, who possesses a 0.72 GAA and .970 SV% in four starts.
27. Calgary Flames… LW: 26
Jarome Iginla is off to another slow start for the offensively-inept Flames (3 points in 7 games).
28. Ottawa Senators… LW: 30
I don’t think there’s any doubt that, talent-wise, the Sens are the NHL’s worst club. However, wins over Winnipeg and Columbus catapult them out of the cellar – for now.
29. Winnipeg Jets… LW: 29
Sophomore Alex Burmistrov, who is currently on a four-game point streak, has had an impressive opening month.
30. Columbus Blue Jackets… LW: 28
The Jackets are the NHL’s only winless team, as Steve Mason continues to prove he’s not a starting goaltender in this league. Moreover, they get to face Detroit, Buffalo, Chicago and Anaheim this week.
Photo credit: Getty Images
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