It’s never a dull week in the NHL, that’s for sure. Teams like the Kings and Blackhawks are struggling, while the Maple Leafs, Blues and Jets have been hot. The top 16 has some familiar teams at the top, but others have reestablished themselves within the top portion of the rankings. Hats off to the Hurricanes for not only getting their first win, but their second win, as well.
1. Anaheim Ducks (10-3-0) [No. 1 last week] – The Ducks just keep rolling.Even with injuries to their goaltenders. Both Frederik Andersen and John Gibson went down last week. Their situation was so dire, that retired netminder and current Anaheim goalie coach Dwayne Roloson had to serve as the emergency goaltender this week. Goaltending issues still hasn’t slowed them down though.
2. Pittsburgh Penguins (7-2-1) [No. 7 last week] – The Pens are really starting to hit their groove right now. They play eight of the next ten games on the road, starting with Minnesota and upstart Winnipeg this week. This will be a good test.
3. Tampa Bay Lightning (8-3-1) [No. 10 last week] – Even without Victor Hedman, this team is rounding into form. Second year man Tyler Johnson already has thirteen assists on the season. They’re deep and they’re only going to get better.
4. Nashville Predators (7-2-2) [No. 6 last week] – Raise your hand if you thought that the Nashville Predators would be in first place at any point this season? They lead the loaded central division and it doesn’t look like they’re slowing down. Peter Laviolette has always turned his teams around quickly in his first year at the helm.
5. Montreal Canadiens (8-3-1) [No. 2 last week]– They’re picking up points, but they still need to find their defensive game. Carey Price (2.74 gaa, .913 save percentage) has to be the stopper if they want to win this division.
6. Minnesota Wild (7-3-0) [No. 8 last week] – They’ve only played 10 games, which is a few less than some of the other Western Conference teams, but they’re playing well. They face the Penguins in what is a big test on Tuesday.
7. St. Louis Blues (7-3-1) [No. 19 last week] – The Blues had a big week, beating Dallas, shutting out Anaheim, defeating Colorado and notching a shootout win against the Rangers on Monday.
8. Vancouver Canucks (8-4-0) [No. 16 last week] – You still have to question the quality of some of their wins, but they’re sitting well at 8-4. The Canucks go on the road to face Colorado and the three California teams in their next four. We’ll know a lot more about this team after they return from this road trip.
9. Los Angeles Kings (6-4-2) [No. 3 last week] – The Kings hit the skids a bit after a strong start. As much as the 70’s line has been on fire, they need to find scoring from other sources. Marian Gaborik needs to be back and producing, as Anze Kopitar (2g, 1a) has struggled.
10. Detroit Red Wings (6-2-3) [No. 11 last week] – Senators, Rangers, Devils and Lightning on all tap for the Wings this week. They’ve exceeded expectations thus far, but can they keep it up. The Atlantic Division looks to be a bit deeper than first thought.
11. New Jersey Devils (6-3-2) [No. 14 last week] – The Devils seemed to right the ship after a skid last week. They’ll play the Blues twice this week in what should be a good test for them. Damon Severson, (4,g 4a, plus-6 rating) has been excellent so far.
12. San Jose Sharks (7-4-2) [No. 15 last week] – Brent Burns has been great offensively, but far from it in his own end. The team may do well to return him as a forward, but they’ll need to find a top-six defenseman to take his place.
13. Winnipeg Jets (6-5-1) [No. 28 last week] – What a week for the Jets. They went out East and gained seven of a possible eight points, a shootout loss to the Devils being their only blemish. They’ve played very good defense and only gave up four goals on the road trip. Ondrej Pavalec (2.10 gaa .921 save percentage) has been excellent.
14. Chicago Blackhawks (6-5-1) [No. 5 last week]– Tough week for the Hawks, but they’ll be fine. Though their record isn’t exactly inspiring right now, this team can go on a run at any point. No need to panic, yet.
15. Calgary Flames (7-4-2) [No. 18 last week] – The Flames have proven to be one of the most entertaining teams to watch in the league so far this season. They’re young, exciting and you get the feeling that with every win, this team is building confidence and looking towards a bright future with their young talent.
16. Toronto Maple Leafs (6-4-1) [No. 25 last week] – Three wins for the Leafs last week. Both Jonathan Bernier and James Reimer have been better than last year and Phil Kessel (6g, 8a) has been excellent.
And the rest…
17. New York Islanders (6-5-0) [No. 4 last week]
18. Dallas Stars (4-3-4) [No. 9 last week]
19. Ottawa Senators (5-3-2) [No. 13 last week]
20. New York Rangers (5-4-2) [No. 21 last week]
21. Boston Bruins (7-6-0) [No. 20 last week]
22. Washington Capitals (4-5-2) [No. 12 last week]
23. Philadelphia Flyers (4-5-2) [No. 21 last week]
24. Florida Panthers (4-2-3) [No. 27 last week]
25. Colorado Avalanche (3-5-5) [No. 26 last week]
26. Edmonton Oilers (4-6-1) [No. 24 last week]
27. Columbus Blue Jackets (4-7-0) [No. 17 last week]
28. Arizona Coyotes (4-6-1) [No. 23 last week]
29. Carolina Hurricanes (2-6-2) [No. 30 last week]
30. Buffalo Sabres (3-9-1) [No. 29 last week]