NHL Power Rankings: Devils Almost Unseat No. 1 Bruins
We’ve officially passed the one-month mark since opening night on October 11th, and well, it’s been anything but what we expected. That’s why we play all these games, right?
For the third week in a row, the Bruins are ranked No. 1 in THN’s power rankings, but I’ll gladly take any criticism that the Devils and their 10-game winning streak should be on top. Both teams finished the week 3-0-0 and outscored their opponents by a combined seven goals, but the Bruins are the starters and there’s no reason to get them down. The Devils move up from No. 3 to No. 2, but we could also classify them as 1A and 1B.
It also begs the question: Can the Devils win the Cup with Vitek Vanecek and Mackenzie Blackwood in net? The Avs proved that it really doesn’t take an elite goalie to win, and considering how some of those “elite” goalies have fared this season, that theory couldn’t be more true right now.
This week’s biggest climbers: Predators and Blues. This week’s biggest glasses: Sabres, Capitals, Flyers and Canucks.
(All fantastic stats are 5v5 and courtesy of naturalstattrick.com. CF% means Corsi Per Percentage and xGF% represents the intended goals for the percentage.)
1. Boston Bruins (14-2-0, +30. League Rank CF%: 12, League Rank xGF%: 9)
They could use a little more scoring depth, but there are no weak spots in their squad, and they’ve allowed more than three goals just twice (!) this season, one of which was a win.
2. New Jersey Devils (13-3-0, +21. CF%: 2, xGF%: 1)
The Devils tick all the boxes except for a mental block that says the Devils shouldn’t be this good so quickly. The Zetterlund-Hischier-Tatar line ranks first in expected field goal percentage (min. 75 TOI) at moneypuck.com.
3. Vegas Golden Knights (13-4-0, +19. CF%: 19, xGF%: 4)
A third-period collapse against the Sharks on Tuesday drops them out of the top two, but it’s a rare blemish on an outstanding season so far. Jack Eichel is back to franchise center status.
4. Colorado Avalanche (8-5-1, +13. CF%: 10, xGF%: 23)
The Avs have stayed in the top five despite such even results because they deserve the benefit of the doubt and their schedule has been peculiar, but it’s worth noting that they’ve only beaten three good teams: the Knights, Rangers and Hurricanes. Their next 10 games, eight of which are on the road, will be much more revealing.
5. Carolina Hurricanes (10-5-1, +7. CF%: 1, xGF%: 2)
Pyotr Kochetkov was their third goalkeeper and Jordan Martinook was waived earlier this season. Somehow, the Canes just find ways.
6. New York Islanders (11-6-0, +14. CF%: 22, xGF%: 20)
Fun fact: In the cap era, only one forward has finished a season with at least 50 points but scored fewer than five goals. That would be Henrik Sedin with three goals and 47 assists in 2017-18. No panic with Mathew Barzal, but it’s really weird that he’s scoreless on 44 shots in 17 games.
7. Toronto Maple Leafs (9-5-3, +4. CF%: 8, xGF%: 10)
Look, I’m happy for Jordie Benn, but last I checked, there’s no senior discount at the last dance. The Leafs will make the playoffs, but their roster issues go beyond wondering which wings pair best with Auston Matthews and John Tavares.
8. Winnipeg Jets (9-4-1, +10. CF%: 20, xGF%: 21)
For three of the first four weeks of the season, I had the Jets ranked No. 20 before moving them up to No. 8 last week. They only had two games last week and went 1-1-0, both by one goal, but my big takeaway is how quietly they snuck into the top 10. the season with so much uncertainty surrounding their future, but instead, they have galvanized and been one of the toughest teams to beat.
9. Tampa Bay Lightning (9-6-1, +1. CF%: 14, xGF%: 13)
The Lightning have had a lot of success, but they always play with a chip on their shoulder, so never count them out. I suspect that captain Steven Stamkos, who reached 500 assists before 500 goals: “For a guy that a lot of people think is just a shooter, I’m going to rub it in his face a little bit.”
10. Dallas Stars (9-5-2, +17. CF%: 15, xGF%: 15)
Jason Robertson enters Wednesday third in scoring with 25 points. I guess his nickname “Robo” is a reference to how automatic he is when it comes to filling the net because the TARS robot from interstellar he has more personality than one of the league’s most underrated superstars.
11. Edmonton Oilers (9-7-0, +1. CF%: 24, xGF%: 22)
How long before we declare Stuart Skinner #1 over Jack Campbell eh? Are they even brave enough to make that call and have $5 million to back it up? Campbell is on a streak, but the Oilers aren’t exactly a young team and the pressure won’t let up.
12. Florida Panthers (9-6-1, +5. CF%: 3, xGF%: 3)
Finally That’s three goals in their last seven games for Aleksander Barkov and four goals in three games for Sam Bennett. Aaron Ekblad is back, and both Sergei Bobrovsky and Spencer Knight are winning games.
13. New York Rangers (8-6-3, +4. CF%: 5, xGF%: 5)
The Rangers should be better than last season. His puck possession numbers are better, and even Alexis Lafreniere and Kaapo Kakko look improved. what gives For starters, it’s interesting that their DOPs are .963 and .964, respectively, and they won’t shoot below 10 percent all season. They’re probably the only things in Manhattan you can buy downstairs.
14. Seattle Kraken (8-5-3, +7. CF%: 11, xGF%: 12)
This is what the Kraken should have been last season Solid goaltending, correct defense and goal by committee. Despite ranking 12th in goals per game played, the Kraken are just one of two teams (Blues) without a player who has scored more than five goals this season.
15. Calgary Flames (7-6-2, -3. CF%: 4, xGF%: 8)
The Flames are over .500 and sitting just barely in a playoff position, but it’s been ugly getting there. With the way Darryl Sutter distributes his ice time, everyone has to pull their weight, and Jonathan Huberdeau hasn’t caught on with the rest of the group.
16. Los Angeles Kings (10-7-1, -2. CF%: 7, xGF%: 6)
The Kings have faced plenty of Eastern Conference opponents, but it’s strange that against arguably the worst division in the league, the Kings are 0-3 against the Pacific. Drew Doughty and Jonathan Quick get little help from the rest of their defense.
17. Montreal Canadiens (8-7-1, -5. CF%: 21, xGF%: 24)
The question no one really wants to ask is what happens when that top line stops working, and it’s going to happen because Nick Suzuki can’t keep shooting the lights out forever. I also can’t believe that Jake Allen and Samuel Montembeault cost a combined $3.875 million because it might be the best bargain in the league.
18. Detroit Red Wings (7-5-4, -7. CF%: 30, xGF%: 28)
It’s four straight losses, and I think the return of Tyler Bertuzzi will help them, but the one player I implore people to watch is rookie Jonatan Berggren. The Swedish winger was Skelleftea’s leading scorer as a 20-year-old, led AHL Grand Rapids in scoring last season and just scored his first NHL goal on Tuesday night.
19. Nashville Predators (7-8-1, -10. CF%: 16, xGF%: 17)
Juuso Parssinen, selected with the eighth-last pick in 2019 and who just played 10 games in the AHL before being called up, is their new top center. Not to take anything away from the 21-year-old, who had become a very good player for TPS in Liiga, but this smacks of a desperate move for an older team whose best players are in their 30s .
20. Minnesota Wild (7-7-2, -4. CF%: 17, xGF%: 14)
I’d say the Wild can’t always rely on Kirill Kaprizov, but what other recourse do they have? Going back to the days of Marian Gaborik, I think it could be a franchise mandate to see how far an elite player can drag this team.
21. St. Louis Blues (6-8-0, -16. CF%: 27, xGF%: 19)
The only thing more concerning than Jordan Binnington taking a fake swing at the opposition is his three-game hitting streak. The last time that happened, they went on to lose eight in a row. The Blues visit Chicago on Wednesday, and if I’m looking for that extra edge to push the winning streak to four, I’m playing this. Scott Darling review of St. Louis in repetition
22. Pittsburgh Penguins (6-7-3, -1. CF%: 13, xGF%: 7)
The last dance or the last dud? The Pens have lost nine of their last 11, and some of those games weren’t even close. When you have Casey DeSmith to right the ship, you might as well be the Titanic.
23. Buffalo Sabers (7-9-0, +2. CF%: 6, xGF%: 18)
Fun to watch, but very ugly at times, and now they’ve lost six in a row after a fantastic start. Neither Craig Anderson nor Eric Comrie can stop pucks, which is a pretty vital skill if you’re a goaltender, right?
24. Washington Capitals (7-9-2, -7. CF%: 18, xGF%: 26)
The Caps are 0-for-21 on the power play in their last four games. Their lineup is super thin (Sonny Milano is on their first line now), they don’t defend particularly well, and their possession numbers are terrible. Losses against Florida, Tampa, Pittsburgh, Carolina, teams the Caps used to mention at the same time, show just how far they’ve fallen.
25. San Jose Sharks (6-9-3, -10. 1. CF%: 23, xGF%: 16)
A pretty impressive three-game winning streak for the Sharks, but that’s the opposite of what they should be doing. Are they open to trading with Erik Karlsson? You don’t say it!
26. Philadelphia Flyers (7-6-3, -7. CF%: 29, xGF%: 29)
The easiest team to write about because John Tortorella usually sums it up pretty well: “We get along.”
27. Arizona Coyotes (6-8-1, -14. CF%: 31, xGF%: 32)
The most interesting development in the desert: Jakob Chychrun will be back soon, so heat up those trade talks because it’s only a matter of time. Question: Are the Coyotes playing Chychrun ahead of Shayne Gostisbehere and JJ Moser to increase his trade value?
28. Chicago Blackhawks (6-6-3, -8. CF%: 32, xGF%: 30)
With Patrick Kane on a bit of a goalscoring drought, they have been shut out twice in their last four games, and since their four-game winning streak was snapped, have scored more than three goals just once. It was, of course, a loss.
29. Ottawa Senators (5-9-1, -2. CF%: 9, xGF%: 11)
The Sens, like many teams around the league, face a similar problem: a ton of good forwards but an absolute ton of crud on defense. Of the lower teams, the Sens have the best possession numbers, but it’s all moot when you play Nick Holden and Travis Hamonic regular minutes.
30. Vancouver Canucks (5-9-3, -12. CF%: 25, xGF%: 25)
Bruce, there you go! The consensus seems to be that Bruce Boudreau won’t last the season. From management to coaches to players, there is no team more dysfunctional than the Canucks. The Bluths would be proud.
31. Columbus Blue Jackets (5-9-1, -22. CF%: 28, xGF%: 27)
The thing about teams that have been decimated by injuries is that they tend to hang on and play a lot better in the short term before the lack of talent kills them. That’s happening now, although it should be noted that both of their wins have come against the hurting Flyers. (Tortorella’s words, not mine!)
32. Anaheim Ducks (5-10-1, -25. CF%: 26, xGF%: 31)
If you’ve walked into Dallas Eakins’ office right now, you’ll notice that his desk is stacked to the ceiling with Connor Bedard clips.
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