We have completed another week and the Olympic break is right around the corner. As we look through this week’s power rankings, it is apparent that some teams could use a rest (for those not participating). But once again, no one has been able to match the Ducks out in the West as they enjoy another week in the top spot in my power rankings.
1. Anaheim Ducks 40-12-5 (1st in Pacific) — Last week: 1
Still no better team than the Ducks despite having a rough week. The only team that is close to knocking them off the top spot before the Olympics would be the Blues.
2. St. Louis Blues 37-12-5 (2nd in Central) — Last week: 2
Not only do the Blues have the most well-rounded team in the NHL, but they have the best pair of netminders you could ask for. Brian Elliot and Jaroslav Halak keep swapping the title of No. 1 goaltender in St. Louis. And it is because of the fact they are both playing so well. That is a good problem to have.
3. San Jose Sharks 35-15-6 (2nd in Pacific) — Last week: 3
This team came close to being dropped in the rankings this week after back-to-back losses to Edmonton and Calgary. They did bounce back nicely on Saturday beating the first-place Blackhawks. Seven wins in the last 10 games is still notable.
4. Pittsburgh Penguins 38-15-2 (1st in Metropolitan) — Last week: 4
Pretty good week for the Penguins as they took down Buffalo and the top defensive team in the league, Los Angeles. Something is still missing from this team and it is hard to put a finger on it. Maybe it is because they have dealt with the most injuries than any other team in the NHL this year.
5. Boston Bruins 35-16-3 (1st in Atlantic) + 1 Last week: 6
Last week when we checked in, the Lightning was the team that had the edge on Boston. Now that they reclaimed their throne at the top of the division, they still may want to look out for Toronto.
6. Colorado Avalanche 35-14-5 (3rd in Central) +2 Last week: 8
How about the offensive surge of Patrick Roy‘s team? They are firing on all cylinders at this point after being the laughingstock of the NHL last year. There could be finalists for three different awards coming from this team; Roy for the Jack Adams award, Nathan MacKinnon for the Calder Trophy and Matt Duchene for the Hart Trophy.
7. Chicago Blackhawks 33-10-14 (1st in Central) — Last week: 7
Shades of the Denver Broncos, anyone? The top scoring team in the league is also 15th in defense. Yes they are still in first place but may not be for long… if you watched the Super Bowl you may catch my drift.
8. Tampa Bay Lightning 32-18-5 (2nd in Atlantic) -3 Last week: 5
The Lightning had quite a scare this week when goaltender Ben Bishop took a knee to the back of the head and was helped off the ice. That could have put their team’s season in jeopardy but thankfully Bishop was back in net this weekend. They will need to keep up with Boston and keep an eye on their rear view mirror for Toronto.
9. New York Rangers 30-23-3 (2nd in Metropolitan) +3 Last week: 12
They have put together a nice three-game winning streak where they have outscored their opponents 13-5. As they continue to hold on to second place with Columbus right on their tail, we shall see if the Ryan Callahan trade rumors continue throughout the break.
10. Toronto Maple Leafs 30-21-6 (3rd in Atlantic) +4 Last week: 14
Possibly the hottest team in the Eastern Conference is eyeing the Bruins and the top spot in the division. Phil Kessel is doing his thing in Toronto scoring four goals and nine points in his last four games. This team is really good when they want to be.
11. Columbus Blue Jackets 28-23-4 (3rd in Metropolitan) -2 Last week: 9
This is still one of the greater stories in the NHL today, but the Leafs and Rangers have been playing slightly better to cause this decline in the rankings. Just wait until Marian Gaborik comes back to the lineup.
12. Minnesota Wild 29-21-7 (4th in Central) -2 Last week: 10
Even with Zach Parise back and playing well, the Wild really need their captain Mikko Koivu back in the lineup. It was reported that Koivu will probably not be back until after the Olympics. Team Finland may be missing him as well.
13. Los Angeles Kings 30-21-6 (3rd in Pacific) -2 Last week: 11
The woes continue for the Kings as they have lost three straight. After a rough January it looks as though things are not getting any easier for the Kings this month. They scored just one goal in their last three contests while being shut out twice. Chicago and Columbus await for them this week before the break.
14. Phoenix Coytoes 26-19-10 (5th in Pacific) +1 Last week: 15
A very impressive win over Pittsburgh this weekend has this team bumped up one spot in the rankings. If Vancouver cannot get back on a winning track, they may find themselves back in a playoff spot by the end of this month.
15. Vancouver Canucks 27-20-9 (4th in Pacific) -2 Last week: 13
John Tortorella is back behind the bench after serving his 15-day suspension. But the return of Henrik Sedin will be a bigger boost for this club. They have lost three straight and need to find a consistency very soon.
16. Montreal Canadiens 29-21-6 (4th in Atlantic) — Last week: 16
They had an impressive win over Boston this week showing they are not intimidated by them. However, they may want to make a stronger push for a top-three spot in the Atlantic being how the Metropolitan is getting tighter.
17. Dallas Stars 25-21-9 (T-5th in Central) — Last week: 17
Of the three teams in the battle for fifth place, consider the Stars the better of that trio. Or should we consider it a battle for last place?
18. Philadelphia Flyers 27-23-6 (4th in Metropolitan) — Last week: 18
They have enjoyed a pair of shutout victories in their last three games but Steve Mason needs to perform like that every night. He has been too inconsistent this year despite beating Ray Emery for the starting goaltender position. That goes to show what kind of year Emery was having.
19. Carolina Hurricanes 25-20-9 (5th in Metropolitan) +1 Last week: 20
Impressive week winning games against powerhouse teams Columbus and St. Louis. Here is another team that is on the borderline of buyer or seller come March 5.
20. Detroit Red Wings 24-19-12 (5th in Atlantic) -1 Last week: 19
The big question still surrounds hockey town if they will be going to the playoffs.
21. Ottawa Senators 24-21-10 (6th in Atlantic) — Last week: 21
Even with the loss of Daniel Alfredson, they still have the ability to score goals on a nightly basis. The goaltending is a disappointment after last year.
22. Winnipeg Jets 27-25-5 (T-5th in Central) — Last week: 22
Playing well, just still in the wrong division.
23. Nashville Predators 25-23-9 (T-5th in Central) — Last week: 23
It looks as though rebuilding is on the agenda of the Nashville Predators. The question is how much longer will Shea Weber and Pekka Rinne be in this city before they are shopped. Frankly, there is not a team in the NHL who would not like to have either of those guys.
24. Washington Capitals 25-22-9 (6th in Metropolitan) +3 Last week: 27
Despite being just a few points out of a wild card spot, they still struggle to find an identity. Their best bet is to keep Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom as their two core players, sell everyone else at the trade deadline, position themselves for a good draft this summer and stack their team for next season. They will never be a match for Pittsburgh until they do.
25. Calgary Flames 21-27-7 (6th in Pacific) +3 Last week: 28
Do not look now, the Flames have the longest active winning streak in the league at five games.
26. New Jersey Devils 23-21-12 (7th in Metropolitan) -2 Last week: 24
No way is this team going to make it to the playoffs this year unless they go on one of those late-season streaks which we have seen in the past. But I do not see it happening. This team cannot score goals on a consistent basis.
27. New York Islanders 21-28-8 (8th in Metropolitan) -1 Last week: 26
Ugh… after I spoke so highly of this team last week, they pull a stunt like this. With five losses in a row to go along with the fact that Garth Snow is working on dealing an unhappy Thomas Vanek, you can pretty much stick a fork in this team.
28. Florida Panthers 21-27-7 (7th in Atlantic) -3 Last week: 25
And the rebuilding continues in Florida.
29. Edmonton Oilers 18-33-6 (7th in Pacific) — Last week: 29
Could Nail Yakupov be one of the top players being shopped in March?
30. Buffalo Sabres 15-31-8 (8th in Atlantic) — Last week: 30
With 15 goals given up in their last 3 losses, Ryan Miller‘s starting role on Team USA could be in jeopardy. At the same time, Dan Bylsma saw his Penguins chase Jonathan Quick after the first period in their 4-1 win in Los Angeles Thursday. I would think Miller will still be the man when it is all said and done.