Welcome to the fourth edition of NHL Power Rankings where we’ll take a look around the league and break down each team on a weekly basis.
Out West, the Chicago Blackhawks remain undefeated in regulation play through 20 games while the San Jose Sharks continue to struggle after starting the season as an early season front running contender. The Sharks remain very much in the playoff hunt at 9-6-4 this season but have posted a dismal 2-5-3 record over their last 10 games.
Meanwhile, as the Blackhawks continue to dominate headlines, the Anaheim Ducks continue to pile on victories, trailing only Chicago in the Western Conference by eight points but have two games in hand.
Every week, I continue to tell myself the Ducks are for real, but it’s hard to believe a team ranked 28th on the penalty kill justifies a spot in the top five. Nonetheless, the Ducks currently have the best goaltending tandem in the NHL in Jonas Hiller and Viktor Fasth, who suffered his first career loss Monday night against the suddenly resurgent Los Angeles Kings, 5-2. The one statistic usually lost in the discussion of Anaheim’s success is an offense that ranks second in the NHL in goals for/game.
Steering the train back on track this past week was the St. Louis Blues, who showcased some of the worst hockey during Jaroslav Halak’s stint on injured reserve. The Blues opened up the month of February with five straight losses but are point recipients in five-of-their-last-seven games played, including victories on the road in overtime against the Canucks and Red Wings.
In the East, the Boston Bruins continue to look far superior than any of their opposing foes. The Black and Gold abundance of cap space to use to acquire a player of significant stature through a trade, but you have to wonder if making a big splash is the right course of action at this time.
It’s clear that the Bruins need to bring in a left wing to succeed Chris Bourque, whose been too sporadic to trust during a playoff stretch. The majority of Bruins SupahFans have their hearts set on Calgary’s Jarome Iginla or Ottawa’s Daniel Alfredsson, but here’s a reality check; it’s not going to happen. A deal that makes the most sense would be to attain a winger who can finally fill the void left behind since Michael Ryder’s departure to Dallas(now Montreal) after the 2011-12 season.
Even though the Bruins have three games in hand, the Montreal Canadiens technically sit atop the Northeast Divisional standings with 29 points. On Tuesday afternoon, the Canadiens sent Erik Cole packing as the main piece of a deal that saw the return of Michael Ryder to Montreal. First year General Manager Marc Bergevin promised a shakeup when he took the job and he’s certainly delivered thus far. Led behind the exceptional goaltending of Carey Price, the Habs rank third in goals allowed.
In Ottawa, the Senators are writing the blueprint on how to overcome injuries to key players, even as rumors continue to swirl over the head of lifelong Senators captain, Daniel Alfredsson. The Senators rank third in the Northeast Division and fifth in the East, while earning points in six straight contests. Losing the services of your top forward (Jason Spezza), a Norris Trophy winner (Erik Karlsson) and starting goaltender (Craig Anderson) is certainly devastating, but the Sens continue to suffocate opponents defensively.
This week, we dive a little deeper in the power rankings, listing some broad, but key statistical figures to provide a transparent view into some of the key factors that we use when calculating each individual ranking. It’s not rocket science, as individual records and recent play is ultimately the deciding factor.
Here are the power rankings for week 4:
[table “119” not found /]