We are a couple weeks into the NHL season and the standings are beginning to take shape. The Tampa Bay Lightning look like they are ready for a bounce-back year and the St. Louis Blues are carrying over their strong playoff run into the first couple weeks of the season. The Vegas Knights look like the real deal, as their speed is nothing to snarl at, while the Montreal Canadians still can’t score and Carey Price is in a slump to begin the season. As a stated last week, each week the power rankings will not include the game from Sunday Night, the Red Wings vs. Canucks.
Here are this week’s power rankings!
Dallas Stars: Up 10 Spots from 22 to 12
Calgary Flames: Down 13 spots from 7 to 20
31.) Arizona Coyotes (31) (0-7-1) 30.) Montreal Canadians (26) (1-6-1) 29.) Edmonton Oilers (23) (2-5-0) 28.) Buffalo Sabres (30) (2-5-2) 27.) New York Rangers (27) (2-5-2) 26.) Minnesota Wild (18) (2-2-2) 25.) Florida Panthers (24) (3-4-0) 24.) San Jose Sharks (25) (3-4-0) 23.) Vancouver Canucks (29) (3-3-1) 22.) Boston Bruins (21) (3-3-1) 21.) Anaheim Ducks (17) (3-3-1) 20.) Calgary Flames (7) (4-4-0) 19.) Carolina Hurricanes (28) (3-2-1) 18.) Colorado Avalanche (8) (4-4-0) 17.) Washington Capitals (13) (4-4-1) 16.) Winnipeg Jets (16) (4-3-0) 15.) New York Islanders (20) (4-3-1) 14.) Detroit Red Wings (11) (4-3-1) 13.) Nashville Predators (19) (4-3-1) 12.) Dallas Stars (22) (5-3-0) 11.) Philadelphia Flyers (15) (5-3-0)
10. Pittsburgh Penguins (14) (5-3-1)
The Penguins had a much better week, going 2-1, but took a thrashing Saturday night against the Lightning, falling 7-1. The goaltending continues to be a problem, as the duo of Murray-Niemi gave up a combined 17 goals in three games this week. The offensive firepower is still there, but the Penguins will need to sure things up in their own end if they want to continue to move up the rankings and get back to the team they have been the last two seasons.
9. Columbus Blue Jackets (4) (5-3-0)
The Blue Jackets only managed to go 1-2 this week, but faced a tough three game slate at Winnipeg and then home to the Lightning and Kings. Surprisingly, the Blue Jackets lost both of their home games. They continue to get strong goaltending from Sergei Bobrovsky and scoring from all over the place. The offseason acquisition of Artemi Panarin continues to pay dividends as he leads the team with eight assists and nine points.
8. Ottawa Senators (10) (4-1-3)
The Senators had a respectable week going 1-1-1, but they would tell you things should have been better considering they were three home games. The big news from this week was the return of star defenseman Erik Karlsson. The Senators slotted Karlsson back into his normal workload, as he managed six assists and a +1 in three games this week. If the Senators continue to get strong goaltending from veteran Craig Anderson, the return of Karlsson will only continue to make this team better.
7. Chicago Blackhawks (1) (5-2-2)
After coming in at the top spot last week, the Blackhawks struggled, as they went just 1-1-1 and were able to salvage their week by winning 4-2 in Arizona on Saturday. The Blackhawks continue to get scoring from unexpected places, as forward Ryan Hartman (nine points) and defender Jan Rutta (five points) have been bright spots in the early going. Patrick Kane continues to do what Patrick Kane does and Corey Crawford continues to be a rock in the net.
6. Vegas Golden Knights (12) (6-1-0)
Vegas set a record this week for the best record ever by an expansion team through the first seven games. Vegas had another wonderful week, winning last Sunday against the Bruins and following that up with two overtime wins at home against the Sabres and Blues. I thought the loss of goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury would be devastating, but they have rallied around Malcolm Subban and Oscar Dansk, as they have gone 3-0 since they put Fleury on the DL. The Golden Knights continue to get scoring from James Neal, but the emergence of Reilly Smith (seven points) and David Perron (five points) have been key to the Golden Knights staying hot in the past week.
5. New Jersey Devils (9) (6-2-0)
If it were not for Vegas, the kids out in Jersey would be the talk of the NHL. The Devils continue to surprise everyone with their hot start and they are showing no signs of slowing down after going 2-1 this week, with wins over other top teams, the Lightning and Senators. Taylor Hall and rookie Will Butcher continue to pace the team with nine points each, but top overall pick Nico Hischier scored his first two goals of the season against the Senators and is now tied for second on the team with Kyle Palmieri with seven points. The points distribution from all four lines makes the Devils a tough team to slow down right now, and the speed from the youngsters has been the main reason the Devils continue to shine.
4. St Louis Blues (3) (6-2-1)
After a strong postseason run last season, many people believe the Blues would continue that great run under new head coach Mike Yeo. Those people were correct. After a strong opening week to the season, the Blues continue their hot start going 2-1 with wins over the Blackhawks and Avalanche. Jake Allen continues to be a force in net, giving up just 20 goals through seven games, and the offense continues to hum. Jaden Schwartz has been unconscious to start the season, leading the team with six goals and 13 points, and defenseman Alex Pietrangelo continues to be a force from the blue line, leading the team with eight assists and second on the team with 11 points.
3. Toronto Maple Leafs (2) (6-2-0)
The kids up north continue to run over opponents and score goals at will. The Leafs went 2-1 this past week with wins at Washington and at home against the Red Wings scoring, six goals in that game. They came back down to Earth on Saturday, losing to the Senators 6-3, showing the one issue they have in goaltending. Auston Matthews looks like a Hart Memorial trophy candidate leading the team with seven goals and 12 points while linemate William Nylander is second on the team nine points. The one blemish this team still carries is goaltending, as Fredrik Anderson has a 3.41 GAA, something that must improve if the Leafs are to make a run at the Cup.
2. Tampa Bay Lightning (5) (7-1-1)
The Lightning continue to look like the team from two years ago that lost to the Blackhawks in the Stanley Cup. The Lightning went 3-1 this week with wins at Detroit, at Columbus, and a convincing 7-1 thumping of the Penguins in Tampa Bay. Nikita Kucherov continues to be from another planet, having scored in 9-of-10 games and leading the team with ten goals. Steven Stamkos looks like his normal self, as he leads the team with 15 assists and 18 points, and other linemate Vladdy Namestnikov is third on the team with ten points. Goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy seems to be righting the ship in goal having lowered his GAA to 2.38 after giving up only one goal to the Blue Jackets and Penguins combined.
1. Los Angeles Kings (6) (6-0-1)
The Kings continue to be the only team in the NHL not to have lost a game in regulation, as they had another blemish free week going 2-0 with wins over Montreal and Blue Jackets. The Kings continue to get a revitalized season from Dustin Brown, leading the team with six assists and tied for the team lead with 11 points, along with clear bounce-back candidate Anze Kopitar, who leads the team with six goals. The loss of second line centerman Jeff Carter could loom large, as he will miss a couple of weeks, but with strong goaltending from Jonathan Quick (1.99 GAA) the Kings should be in good hands till he returns.