1. Anaheim Ducks (7-2-0) [No. 1 last week] – They laid an egg against the Sharks, but outside of that they’ve been on fire. Big test though coming up, with a four game road trip that features the Blackhawks, Stars, Blues and Avalanche.
2. Montreal Canadiens (7-1-0) [No. 3 last week]– Tomas Plekanec (5g, 4a) has been a force so far, this season. They embark on a three game western Canada road trip this week.
3. Los Angeles Kings (6-1-1) [No. 5 last week] – All of a sudden, the Kings look like an offensive powerhouse. The Pearson, Toffoli, Carter line has been senstational. The power play is clicking and the defense is still there. The Kings may be even scarier come playoff time this season, if that’s even possible.
4. New York Islanders (6-2-0) [No. 2 last week] – The Isles won an absolute track-meet with the Stars and still find themselves atop the Metropolitan Division. The depth in their scoring and the improved goaltending and defense means this team isn’t going away anytime soon.
5. Chicago Blackhawks (5-2-1) [No. 4 last week]– The injury to Corey Crawford hasn’t seemed to slow them down, as Antti Raanta and Scott Darling have filled in well. Patrick Sharp is hot, leading team with eight points (3g, 5a).
6. Nashville Predators (5-1-2) [No. 8 last week] – They won a big Central Division matchup with the Blackhawks before dropping their first regulation game to the Penguins. James Neal’s hat-trick against the Blackhawks is a good sign for the Preds. If he can continue to produce, they’re a much better offensive team because of him.
7. Pittsburgh Penguins (4-2-1) [No. 7 last week] – The Pens dropped yet another game to the Flyers at home, where Philadelphia is 10-1-1 at Consol Energy Center. They play the division rival Devils and Los Angeles Kings at home this week, that’s a good test.
8. Minnesota Wild (4-2-0) [No. 13 last week] – When Darcy Kuemper is on, this team is very hard to beat. Tough schedule coming up for the Wild as they travel to Madison Square Garden and TD Garden before coming back home to play the Sharks and Stars.
9. Dallas Stars (4-2-2) [No. 18 last week] – It seems like this is the year that Tyler Seguin turns into a true superstar in this league. His six goals and seven assists are best on the team, but Jamie Benn (5g, 5a) and Jason Spezza (2g, 9a) have been spectacular as well.
10. Tampa Bay Lightning (5-2-1) [No. 9 last week] – The Lightning got absolutely throttled by Minnesota, 7-2 in St. Paul. Evgeni Nabakov has struggled when starting in place of Ben Bishop. The more hockey Jonathan Drouin plays, the more his potential starts to show.
11. Detroit Red Wings (4-2-2) [No. 12 last week] – Pavel Datsyuk returned and has three points (1g, 2a) in three games. If he’s able to stay healthy, the Wings will be much better offensively. Henrik Zetterberg (3g, 7a) has been an absolute force, so far.
12. Washington Capitals (4-2-2) [No. 11 last week] – With their Western Conference road-trip out of the way, the Caps return home to play three out of the next four at home. Mike Green (3g, 5a) seems poised to have a 40-plus point season since 2009-2010.
13. Ottawa Senators (4-2-1) [No. 10 last week] – It was a tough week for the Senators after the attacks in Canada’s capital. For them, just getting back to hockey will be a help. Road dates at Columbus and Boston will be tough.
14. New Jersey Devils (4-2-2) [No. 16 last week] – Jaromir Jagr’s overtime GWG in Ottawa snapped a four game winless streak for the Devils. He has six points (2g, 4a) in eight games. Damon Severson continues to turn heads as he has shown the ability to both pass and shoot the puck, while logging major minutes, as well.
15. San Jose Sharks (5-4-1) [No. 6 last week] – The Sharks hit a skid last week, but won a penalty-ridden affair with the Ducks to get back above NHL .500. San Jose needs more from Tomas Hertl (2g, 1a) in his second year in the NHL.
16. Vancouver Canucks (5-3-0) [No. 14 last week] – For those who thought that Eddie Lack might have been a good option in net this season, his 4.62 gaa and .862 save percentage say that signing Ryan Miller was a good move for the Canucks.
17. Columbus Blue Jackets (4-4-0) [No. 5 last week] – Columbus struggled with a Western Conference road trip, looking outclassed by the Kings and Ducks. You would never know that Ryan Johansen missed all of training camp, as he’s notched 11 points (5g, 6a) in just eight games.
18. Calgary Flames (5-4-1) [No. 25 last week] – The Flames continue to be up and down as they go through the growing pains of a young roster. Dennis Wideman (5g, 1a) has been a scoring threat out of the back end.
19. St. Louis Blues (3-3-1) [No. 12 last week] – The Blues broke through with a big 3-2 win over Chicago. They’re still not looking quite right though. They’ll skate against fellow Central Division foes Dallas and Colorado this week.
20. Boston Bruins (5-5-0) [No. 18 last week] – Without Zdeno Chara, the Bruins are going to have to find their way. At 5-5, their start is troubling, especially without Chara in the lineup for the foreseeable future. They’ll need to get it going soon or they’ll watch Montreal build a huge lead in the division.
21. Philadelphia Flyers (3-3-2) [No. 22 last week] -The Flyers seem to be getting back on track after a poor start. Steve Mason’s struggles open the door for Ray Emery to take over the job.
22. New York Rangers (4-4-0) [No. 21 last week] – The Rangers have struggled to get any sort of winning streak going early on. They’ll play their next four at home, with a Monday date against the Wild and a Saturday game against the Jets as their only two games this week.
23. Arizona Coyotes (3-3-1) [No. 19 last week] – A four game Eastern Conference road trip looms for the ‘Yotes. Mike Smith (3.80 gaa .867 save percentage) has been dreadful. That has to change if the Coyotes are going to compete.
24. Edmonton Oilers (3-4-1) [No. 28 last week] – Just when it looked like the sky was falling in Edmonton, the Oilers rattled off three straight wins. They’ll need to find some sort of consistent goaltending from either Ben Scrivens or Viktor Fasth if they hope to build on their streak.
25. Toronto Maple Leafs (3-4-1) [No. 20 last week] – They’ve been a Jekyll and Hyde sort of team thus far, blowing out the Islanders 5-2 last week before dropping a 4-1 game to the Bruins. They’re still searching for more depth scoring.
26. Colorado Avalanche (2-4-3) [No. 26 last week] – The Avs exploded for seven goals against the Canucks, but losses to Florida and Winnipeg in overtime aren’t exactly inspiring. Have they finally woken up? They welcome the Sharks and Islanders to Pepsi Center this week with a chance to get back to .500.
27. Florida Panthers (2-2-3) [No. 29 last week] – Maybe the Panthers aren’t going to go very far, but they’ve notched at least a point in five of their first seven games. Only seven players on their roster have scored goals in those seven games, so depth scoring is clearly an issue in South Florida.
28. Winnipeg Jets (3-5-0) [No. 24 last week] – The Jets head out East to take on the Islanders, Devils and Rangers this week, already sporting five regulation losses. They need Evander Kane back in the worst way.
29. Buffalo Sabres (2-7-0) [No. 30 last week] –Hats off to the Sabres for their victory against San Jose. It isn’t going to be pretty in Western NY this year, but wins like that at least give a ray of hope for the future.
30. Carolina Hurricanes (0-5-2) [No. 27 last week]- The Canes stand as the only winless team in the NHL. They play in a tough division and can’t seem to find any depth scoring with all of their injuries. It’s going to be a long year for them.