There are many teams that were expected to be good that got off to tough starts in 2021-22. Maybe it was the shortened off-season, maybe it’s just a big coincidence, but it seems like a lot of those are finally rounding into form.
A familiar face is back on top, the Chicago Blackhawks moved up a few spots and the Edmonton Oilers took a little bit of a dip.
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Here are the Power Rankings for this week:
1 – Carolina Hurricanes (no. 2 last week):
The Hurricanes are back on top after spending last week at number two. Carolina took down Tampa and St. Louis last week and they dropped a one-goal decision to the Flyers. The ‘Canes have the top ranked points percentage in the league at .846. They’re 8-2-0 in their last 10 outings.
2- Washington Capitals (no. 14 last week):
The Caps took a bit of a dip last week, but they had a very strong week. I keep mentioning this, but how about Alex Ovechkin? At some point, he’s going to slow down offensively, but that day hasn’t come just yet.
3- Florida Panthers (no. 1 last week):
The Panthers had their toughest week of the season, but I’m giving them the benefit of the doubt by leaving them high up on the list. They dropped all four of their games last week, including their last two in a shootout (against Pittsburgh) and in OT (against Tampa Bay).
4 – Toronto Maple Leafs (no. 7 last week):
The Leafs’ start made their fans nervous, but they’ve been on fire the last little while. They’ve won eight of their last nine games and they’re just two points back of the Panthers for first in the Atlantic Division (Florida has a game in hand). They already have six players with at least 10 points on the season (John Tavares, William Nylander, Mitch Marner, Auston Matthews, Alex Kerfoot and Morgan Rielly).
5 – Edmonton Oilers (no. 3 last week):
The Oilers won two of four games last week, but they’re still among the best teams in the NHL. Through 14 games, Edmonton has the second-best points percentage in the NHL at .786. Leon Drisaitl (31 points) and Connor McDavid (27 points) are torching the league.
6 – Nashville Predators (no. 19 last week):
Where did this recent burst come from? Nashville has an 8-1-1 record in their last 10 games and only one of their last seven contests was played at home. Matt Duchene, Roman Josi and Mikael Granlund are leading the way for the Preds offensively, as they each have 16 points in 15 games.
7 – Winnipeg Jets (no. 12 last week):
The Jets used this lengthy homestand to get themselves on track in a sense. They won two of their three games last week and their only loss came in a shootout against St. Louis. Kyle Connor is red-hot with 19 points in 14 games, but Andrew Copp’s 15 points in 14 games are the big surprise of the season.
8 – Minnesota Wild (no. 5 last week):
The Wild have won five of six games in the month of November and they’re one of just five teams to hit the 10-win mark already this season. Minnesota is off to an impressive start considering they’ve played nine games on the road and just five at home.
9 – Anaheim Ducks (no. 10 last week):
The Ducks’ winning streak is now at seven games after they easily took care of the Vancouver Canucks on Sunday night. They’ve given up more than two goals just once during this lengthy streak. Troy Terry has been an awesome surprise, as he has 11 goals and 20 points in 15 games.
10 – Vegas Golden Knights (no. 15 last week):
The Golden Knights keep finding a way to get the job done even though they don’t have Max Pacioretty and Mark Stone. They’ve won three in a row and five of their last six outings. Raise your hand if you expected Chandler Stephenson (15 points in 15 games) to lead this team in scoring.
11 – New York Rangers (no. 11 last week):
After dropping their first three games of the month, the Rangers bounced back by beating the Panthers, Blue Jackets and Devils. So, they’ve won three games in a row and they’re just one point behind Carolina (two games in hand) and Washington. Adam Fox continues to roll with 16 points in 15 games.
12 – Calgary Flames (no. 4 last week):
The Flames had a tough week, as they dropped three games in a row to San Jose, Montreal and Toronto. They were finally able to end that streak Sunday in Ottawa. Calgary’s plus-16 goal-differential is the fourth-best mark in the NHL this season.
13 – Los Angeles Kings (no. 16 last week):
The Kings saw their seven-game winning streak come to an end on Saturday in Winnipeg, but the OT defeat allowed them to extend their point streak to eight contests. Anze Kopitar, who has eight goals and eight assists in 15 games, leads the team in scoring.
14 – Boston Bruins (no. 20 last week):
The Bruins won both of their games on the weekend (they took down the Devils and Canadiens) and they’ve now been victorious in three of their last four. Boston will now benefit from five days between games before they play in Philadelphia next Saturday. Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron and David Pastrnak continue to impress.
15 – Tampa Bay Lightning (no. 13 last week):
Don’t look now but the Bolts are starting to heat up. They’ve won five of their last seven games and they’ve collected a point in each of those seven contests. Steven Stamkos, who scored two goals this week, leads the team in that category, with seven.
16 – Detroit Red Wings (no. 18 last week):
As of right now, the Wings are shockingly in third place in the Atlantic Division. Seriously. Nobody saw this coming. They dropped a 2-0 decision against Washington last Thursday, but they’ve rattled off four wins in their last five contests.
17 – Colorado Avalanche (no. 24 last week):
Are the Avs back? They managed to win 7-1 and 6-2 decisions over the Canucks and Sharks last week. We’ll see whether or not they can keep it going this week, as they’ll get road dates against struggling Canucks and Kraken teams. Nazem Kadri leads this team in points, with 14 in 12 games.
18 – New York Islanders (no. 17 last week):
The Isles lost back-to-back games to Minnesota and New Jersey last week and it cost them one spot in the rankings. The 13-game road trip to start the year is almost over though. They’ll play road games in Tampa and Florida and then they’ll open up their new rink on Nov. 20 against Calgary.
19 – Philadelphia Flyers (no. 8 last week):
The Flyers take a tumble down the rankings after dropping two of three games that were played last week. Scoring has been a bit of an issue for Philadelphia, but they’ve done a good job of keeping their puck out of the net. By the way, Cam Atkinson leads this team in goals, with six.
20 – St. Louis Blues (no. 9 last week):
St. Louis have dropped three games in a row and they’ve dropped four of their last five contests. On a positive note, Jordan Kyrou, Robert Thomas and Vladimir Tarasenko are all rolling at a point-per-game.
21 – Chicago Blackhawks (no. 31 last week):
The Blackhawks have actually been hot lately. They’ve rattled off three wins in a row under new head coach Derek King. Whether or not they can keep this up remains to be seen, but they may already be out of the playoff picture.
22 – Columbus Blue Jackets (no. 6 last week):
Putting the Blue Jackets in the sixth spot last week may have been a little aggressive, but I like to give overachieving teams some love early in the season. They dropped games to Washington and the Rangers on Friday and Saturday.
23 – New Jersey Devils (no. 25 last week):
The Devils’ three-game winning streak came to an end when they lost a 5-2 decision to Boston on Saturday night. They followed that up with a shootout defeat in New York against the Rangers. New Jersey has no point-per-game players outside of Jack Hughes, who has only played two games, but they have four 11-point getters.
24 – Pittsburgh Penguins (no. 21 last week):
The Penguins suffered a couple of bad losses over the weekend, as they dropped 6-3 and 6-1 decisions to Ottawa and Washington). It’s tough for the Penguins to build any type of momentum when they haven’t had Evgeni Malkin all year and while Sidney Crosby has been in and out of the lineup.
25 – Montreal Canadiens (no. 30 last week):
The Canadiens have played much better hockey as of late, but they aren’t being rewarded with the best results. They’ve dropped five of their last six games and they only managed to collect one out of a possible four points this weekend. This group needs Carey Price, Joel Edmundson and Paul Byron back. They were also without Jonathan Drouin, Mike Hoffman and Jake Allen in Boston on Sunday.
26 – Dallas Stars (last week no. 26)
I expected Dallas to bounce-back after failing to make the playoffs last year, but that hasn’t played out so far. The Stars have dropped seven of eight games this season and they could be headed for another failed season. Their last win came on Nov. 4 in OT in Calgary.
27 – Buffalo Sabres (no. 27 last week):
The Sabres actually beat the Oilers on Friday night, but they’ve won just one of their last even outings. This was totally expected. The roster simply isn’t good enough and they have the worst situation in the league between the pipes.
28 – San Jose Sharks (no. 22 last week):
The Sharks got off to a relatively good start, but things are falling apart for them in a hurry. They’ve lost four of their last five outings. San Jose is stuck in no man’s land because they have some young players and some really old veterans.
29 – Ottawa Senators (no. 29 last week):
The Sens have really struggled in November. The team dropped six games in a row to start the month and they’ve now dropped seven of their last eight games. They have a lot of good young players, but they’re not ready for primetime just yet. Tyler Ennis, who has eight points, is second on the team in scoring.
30 – Vancouver Canucks (no. 23 last week):
Things are really, really, really bad in Vancouver right now. The Canucks have dropped four games in a row and they were outscored 12-5 by Vegas and Anaheim over the weekend. Are big changes coming? It sure seems like it.
31 – Seattle Kraken (no. 28 last week):
The Kraken have the longest regulation losing streak in the NHL right now at four games. It looks like the Golden Knights used up all the expansion magic in the NHL a few years ago. It’s going to be a while before the Kraken will be competitive on a consistent basis.
32 – Arizona Coyotes (no. 32 last week):
The Coyotes still have just one win this season (they’ve played 15 games) and it probably won’t get much better for them. Their minus-37 goal-differential is the worst in the NHL by far. Shayne Gostisbehere leads the team in scoring, with 12, but no other player has picked up more than seven points so far this season.