Week 12 of the Classy Power Rankings features jumps for the Anaheim Ducks, Chicago Blackhawks, and the white-hot Nashville Predators. With the good comes the bad… this week, we see big time dives from the Philadelphia Flyers, Columbus Blue Jackets, and San Jose Sharks. Finally, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention there’s a brand new number one team this week! Think you know who it is? Scroll down to see!
Please note this will be the final NHL Classy Power Rankings of 2009 because most teams play two or less games this week. The Power Rankings will return on January 4th and we’ll have a special end of 2009 review of the top five NHL teams next Monday.
NHL Classy Power Rankings – Week 12
30. Philadelphia Flyers (15-17-2, 32 pts; last week: 29)
29. Carolina Hurricanes (9-20-6, 24 pts; last week: 30)
28. Columbus Blue Jackets (14-15-7, 35 pts; last week: 22)
27. New York Islanders (13-16-7, 33 pts; last week: 25)
26. Tampa Bay Lightning (12-14-9, 33 pts; last week: 24)
Right now, there is no worse team than the Philadelphia Flyers, so its only fitting they rock bottom on week 12 of the Classy Rankings. Of all five teams above, only the Carolina Hurricanes have a .500 record in their last 10 games played. All the other teams are sub-.500. The Columbus Blue Jackets continue to drop in the Western Conference with daily stories surfacing that suggest the players are tuning out coach Ken Hitchcock.
25. St. Louis Blues (15-14-5, 35 pts; last week: 19)
24. Edmonton Oilers (15-16-4, 34 pts; last week: 21)
23. Montreal Canadiens (16-18-3, 35 pts; last week: 20)
22. New York Rangers (16-16-3, 35 pts; last week: 28)
21. Anaheim Ducks (14-14-7, 35 pts; last week: 27)
As with the previous pool, none of these teams are playing particularly well right now. John Tortorella is losing his mind in New York and Andy Murray’s job in St. Louis is rumoured to be on the line. The Oilers blown 2-0 lead against the Capitals on Saturday was pretty telling as to how their season has been so far but the Ducks’ Corey Perry continues to impress. His strong play this season will get him on Team Canada’s roster – I’m sure of it.
20. Toronto Maple Leafs (13-16-7, 33 pts; last week: 23)
19. Florida Panthers (15-15-7, 37 pts; last week: 26)
18. Boston Bruins (16-11-7, 39 pts; last week: 11)
17. Atlanta Thrashers (18-13-3, 39 pts; last week: 17)
16. Minnesota Wild (17-15-3, 37 pts; last week: 18)
The Minnesota Wild are among the hottest NHL teams over the last 10 games and continue to move up the standings after a terrible start to the season. The Toronto Maple Leafs are still moving up the Classy Rankings with more good play while the Boston Bruins and Atlanta Thrashers can’t seem to find consistency.
15. Ottawa Senators (18-13-4, 40 pts, last week: 15)
14. Dallas Stars (15-9-11, 41 pts; last week: 14)
13. Detroit Red Wings (18-13-5, 41 pts; last week: 13)
12. Vancouver Canucks (20-16-0, 40 pts; last week: 16)
11. Calgary Flames (20-11-4, 44 pts; last week: 7)
The Calgary Flames continue to struggle while the Detroit Red Wings and Ottawa Senators lose Henrik Zetterberg (separated shoulder) and Jason Spezza (knee sprain) to injuries, respectively. Both of these teams have turned in pretty good seasons considering the number of important players lost to injury (especially the Red Wings).
10. Phoenix Coyotes (21-13-2, 44 pts; last week: 9)
The big buzz about the Phoenix Coyotes was their game in Toronto against the Leafs with their new potential owners (Ice Edge Holdings) in attendance last week. The Coyotes didn’t disappoint either, handing the Leafs a 6-3 loss. Phoenix’s success is remarkable this year when you consider none of their prized prospects are contributing much (or at all). The veteran core of the Coyotes is playing extremely well for Dave Tippett and co.
9. Buffalo Sabres (21-10-3, 45 pts; last week: 8 )
It was a so-so week for the Buffalo Sabres as they enjoyed wins over Montreal and Toronto and losses from Ottawa and Pittsburgh. The Sabres still lead the Northeast division (by five points) but lost some of its ground to the Senators last week. The Sabres are 6-3-1 in their last 10 games and visit the Leafs and Capitals before Christmas this week.
8. San Jose Sharks (20-8-7, 47 pts; last week: 4)
It seems the San Jose Sharks have hit a rough patch as of late. The club is 4-3-3 in their last 10 games, but they’ve only played one game in the last week (a win over the Ducks). The Sharks’ drop in the classy rankings is a result of a strange schedule, more so than poor play. The Sharks have a tough back to back road trip against the Stars and Blackhawks on Monday/Tuesday before a short Christmas break.
7. Colorado Avalanche (20-11-6, 46 pts; last week: 10)
After losing badly to the Capitals this week, the Colorado Avalanche bounced back strong with a big win over the Blue Jackets a few days later. The Avalanche play two more games prior to the brief holiday freeze against the Wild and Ducks. The team is 6-3-1 in their last 10 games played.
6. Los Angeles Kings (22-12-3, 47 pts; last week: 1)
The Los Angeles Kings went 2-1 this week against the three Western Canadian teams and are 7-2-1 in their last 10 games. The biggest reason for the Kings Power Rankings drop is a result of the tight Western Conference. The difference between 1st and 5th place overall in the Conference is a win. The Kings last played on Thursday (December 17th) and won’t play against until December 26th against the Coyotes.
5. Nashville Predators (22-11-3, 47 pts; last week: 12)
The Nashville Predators are still one of the NHL’s hottest teams and (again) are this week’s biggest jump. The Predators have lost three times in December and collected 16 of a possible 20 points in the process. The Predators are one of the great stories in the NHL this year and are giving the Blackhawks a great battle for the Central division lead. The Preds will play Vancouver on Tuesday before hosting the Blackhawks on Saturday.
4. Washington Capitals (22-8-6, 50 pts; last week: 3)
The Washington Capitals set a franchise record on Saturday by reaching 50 points with the fewest games played in club history. Alex Ovechkin continues to lift this team when they need it most (11 of his 23 goals are scored in the 3rd period). The Capitals are 7-3 in their last 10 games and will play Buffalo and New Jersey this week.
3. Chicago Blackhawks (23-8-3, 50 pts; last week: 6)
The Chicago Blackhawks have won four straight games and three of those wins were shutouts! In fact, in nine games this month, the Blackhawks have allowed only 15 goals against. It should come as no surprise the team is 7-2 in December either. For a team that was heavily criticized for goaltending holes (myself included), the tandem of Cristobal Huet and Antti Niemi have been sensational and deserve huge credit for the Hawks dominance in the 09/10 NHL season (so far).
2. Pittsburgh Penguins (25-10-1, 51 pts; last week: 5)
The Pittsburgh Penguins have won five straight games (all of which being against Eastern Conference teams) and are 8-1-1 in their last 10 games played. Despite a struggling powerplay, the Penguins have continued their winning ways thanks (in part) to the great goaltending of Marc-Andre Fleury and the goal scoring of Sidney Crosby. Crosby has 22 goals and is just 2 goals back of Marian Gaborik for the NHL lead. The Penguins have games against the Devils and Senators before heading into the Christmas break.
1. New Jersey Devils (25-8-1, 51 pts; last week: 2)
Frankly, the only reason the New Jersey are ranked ahead of the Penguins this week is because their schedule last week was slightly tougher. The Devils have won four straight games (Thrashers, Senators, Canadiens, and Flyers) and have only lost twice this month (just like Pittsburgh). Things are going to get very tough for the Devils for the rest of this month. They’ll play the Penguins twice (including tonight), the Capitals, Thrashers, and Blackhawks. Can’t wait to see who wins some of those games!
Stay classy, NHL rankings.