Week 10 NHL Power Rankings
1. Chicago Blackhawks (20-4-4)
The Hawks are riding a six-game winning streak and Patty Kane had 19 points and four game winning goals last month. Need I say more?
2. San Jose Sharks (18-3-5) (up 2)
The Sharks are as hot now as they were in the beginning of the season. San Jose is currently on a five game winning streak behind the play of Jumbo Joe Thornton, who has seven points in his last five contests. If the Sharks’ December is as strong as its November was, the team should have no problem maintaining their second place spot in the Western Conference.
3. Boston Bruins (18-7-2)
The B’s have been in third place in these rankings now for the last three weeks and shouldn’t relinquish their spot as long as they remain atop the East. Other than in three rare losses, Boston picked up a point in every one of their November games.
4. Pittsburgh Penguins (18-9-1) (up 5)
There they are. It’s about time my preseason pick to win the Stanley Cup started performing to the best of its capabilities. Hopefully the three game winning streak the Pens are on right now is a sign of some sort of consistency, something that has plagued Pittsburgh all season. It doesn’t hurt that Evgeni Malkin has finally picked it up too, joining Sidney Crosby amongst the league leaders in points; Geno has a whopping 25 points in his last 15 games, only failing to score a point in one of those games.
5. St. Louis Blues (18-5-3) (down 3)
After having the strongest November out of any team, St. Louis finished poorly, losing its last two games at the hands of the Kings and Sharks. Do not fret though, as the Blues probably have the easiest December schedule in the league and should remain among the top teams in the West, although it doesn’t look like Alex Steen will beat out Alex Ovechkin for the Rocket Richard trophy anymore.
6. Colorado Avalanche (19-6) (up 1)
As soon as Colorado got Matt Duchene back from injury, the team hit its stride again. Like I predicted last week, the Avs’ success was prompted by the return of Duchene and the ability of Semyon Varlamov to stay out of jail.
7. Los Angeles Kings (17-7-4) (down 2)
The Kings are having major problems scoring; though Los Angeles is 6-1-3 in its last ten games, the team has only scored more than three points once in that time span. I think the Kings’ scorers will emerge from the abyss soon, but Ben Scrivens desperately some help.
8. Montreal Canadiens (16-9-3) (up 4)
This is the first time the Habs have entered the top ten in these power rankings and it’s well deserved. Montreal is riding a seven game point streak and has picked up a point in all but one of its games after losing its first four games of November. P.K. Subban looks poised to win the Norris Trophy for the second straight year; he presently has three points less than Erik Karlsson does, but is a +10, which is 14 better than Karlsson.
9. Detroit Red Wings (14-7-7) (up 7)
What did I say?! As soon as the Wings called Gustav Nyquist up (no idea why he was even in the AHL in the first place) the team began to flourish. In the six games that last year’s playoff hero has played in this season, Detroit is 5-1. I’m not saying that one player is responsible for all of a team’s success, but Niklas Kronwall did call ‘Gus’ the team’s savior this morning.
10. Anaheim Ducks (18-7-4) (down 4)
I’m not committed to taking the Ducks out of the top ten just yet, but this is the least efficient Anaheim has played over any point in time during the last two seasons. After opening up November with five straight victories, the team’s record is an unimpressive 3-4-3 and with its next three games coming up against the Kings, Blackhawks, and Blues, Anaheim looks like it’s in big, big trouble (as Billy Madison would say).
11. Minnesota Wild (16-8-5) (down 3)
12. Phoenix Coyotes (15-7-4) (down 2) – Can you believe that Rostislav Klesla was just sent down? What a debacle.
13. Vancouver Canucks (14-10-5) (up 2) – The Canucks continue to rise at the Eastern Conference’s bottom-half playoff teams play worse and worse.
14. Washington Capitals (14-11-2) – Ovie’s goals are nice and all, but he also only has eight assists and carries a -9 rating. He’s having a Rick Nash-esque season in his Columbus days.
15. New York Rangers (14-14) (up 2) – The Blueshirts are probably the best .500 team ever.
16. Tampa Bay Lightning (16-9-1) (down 5) – It’s clear now how much of an impact Steven Stamkos had on this team; as good as he is, Marty St. Louis has only scored a point in one of his last five games without Stammer beside him.
17. Winnipeg Jets (13-12-4) (up 2) – Hey, Jacob Trouba had two assists in the Jets’ win last night. And yes, I did room with him at the USA Hockey National Camp five years ago for a week.
18. Toronto Maple Leafs (14-10-3) (down 5) – Yeah, this is going to piss off a ton of people.
19. Dallas Stars (12-9-4) (up 1) – The Stars in third to last place in the West, yet still ranked above nine Eastern Conference teams.
20. Nashville Predators (13-11-3) (up 1) – Marek Mazanec (5-4-1, .932 save percentage) was named the NHL’s rookie of the month for a damn good reason; the goaltender has started three more games than any other rookie netminder and is second in wins in the same grouping.
21. Philadelphia Flyers (12-13-2) (up 1) – Claude Giroux has four goals now!
22. New Jersey Devils (11-12-5) (down 4) – It is time to call up my old teammate Stephane Matteau yet?
23. Ottawa Senators (10-13-4) (up 1)
24. Carolina Hurricanes (10-12-5) (down 1) – Andrej Sekera, who didn’t even play in the NHL last year, is still Carolina’s second leading point scorer on the same roster as Jordan Staal, Jeff Skinner, and Alexander Semin! Just let that sink in for a second.
25. Columbus Blue Jackets (10-14-3)
26. New York Islanders (8-15-4) (up 1) – You have a major problem when the only thing your fans can look forward to is calling your worst goalie ‘The Poulin Wall’. Ok, well just the goalie on my hockey team says that, but still, that’s pretty bad.
27. Edmonton Oilers (9-17-2) (up 2)
28. Calgary Flames (9-13-4)
29. Florida Panthers (7-15-5) (down 3) – C’mon Dale, let’s shake things up already. Anyone not named Huberdeau, Barkov, Bjugstad, Campbell, Weaver, Gudbranson, possibly Marcel Goc, and Tim Thomas NEEDS to go.
30. Buffalo Sabres (6-20-2) – Yeah, it’s pretty obvious by now that the Sabres are
*Rankings prepared weekly by Hockey Tracker columnist Freddy Kasten