Finally, week 17 of the Power Rankings are here! We have a new number one team and jumps from the Washington Capitals, Colorado Avalanche, and Ottawa Senators (each team are currently riding six game winning streaks).
As with any Ranking system, there were some notable falls this week. The Edmonton Oilers fell to the very bottom of the league (as I predicted… but seriously, who didn’t see this coming?) while the Philadelphia Flyers and Boston Bruins suffer drops in the Classy Rankings with their poor play, too.
NHL Classy Power Rankings – Week 17
30. Edmonton Oilers (last week: 29)
29. Toronto Maple Leafs (last week: 28)
28. Carolina Hurricanes (last week: 30)
27. Columbus Blue Jackets (last week: 27)
26. Atlanta Thrashers (last week: 25)
To no one’s surprise, the Edmonton Oilers have finally hit rock bottom. They are the worst team in the NHL. They haven’t won a single game in 2010. All this while the Carolina Hurricanes have started playing slightly better. Last week, the Hurricanes announced Eric Staal as the new team captain, with Rod Brind’Amour remaining an assistant captain. The Toronto Maple Leafs continue to lose ground on a decent finish to the season and the playoffs seem nearly impossible at this point. Right now, last year’s record looks pretty good to the Leafs. The Thrashers and Blue Jackets are still hovering around the bottom five positions in the league… or more importantly, the draft lottery sweepstakes.
25. Tampa Bay Lightning (last week: 26)
24. St. Louis Blues (last week: 21)
23. Florida Panthers (last week: 24)
22. Boston Bruins (last week: 14)
21. Minnesota Wild (last week: 19)
The Boston Bruins suffer the week’s biggest drop from 14 to 22 following four straight losses. They are currently 9th in the Eastern Conference with the Islanders. For the St. Louis Blues, they are 5-2-1 in their last eight games and have some wondering if they can reproduce a similar late season run into the playoffs like they did last season. (If any team could do it this year, my money is on Anaheim). The Blues and Minnesota Wild are on the outside of the playoff race right now, but still in the mix. They’ll both need about two-three solid weeks of strong results to really have a shot at getting into the playoffs. I don’t like their chances though.
20. New York Islanders (last week: 17)
19. New York Rangers (last week: 16)
18. Dallas Stars (last week: 18)
17. Montreal Canadiens (last week: 20)
16. Philadelphia Flyers (last week: 22)
Montreal, Philadelphia, and the New York Rangers are currently in playoff positions while the Stars and Islanders aren’t. In the case of the Islanders, they are one point back and the Stars are three points out of the last Western playoff spot. The Flyers inconsistency still bothers me and I’m impressed with the Islanders fight to stay in the playoff hunt. I find you can always tell when the Rangers are struggling as John Tortorella’s press conferences start becoming “can’t miss events“. Of course, with any anticipated Tortorella press conference comes a fantastic quote!
15. Anaheim Ducks (last week: 23)
14. Calgary Flames (last week: 12)
13. Detroit Red Wings (last week: 13)
12. Ottawa Senators (last week: 15)
11. Los Angeles Kings (last week: 11)
The Calgary Flames could very well find themselves out of the playoffs by next week’s Power Rankings. They are on a five game losing streak and have only won two games of their last 10. A far cry from the “contender status” they started the season with. The Red Wings continue to get healthier in their drive for the playoffs. Looking at the Western Conference right now, the Wings are the one team not in the playoffs who I expect to make it come April. Finally, both the Ducks and Senators enjoy huge jumps this week with red hot play. The Ducks are 8-2 in their last 10 games and could be considered a dark horse team to make the Western Conference playoffs (to me, it’s between them and the Wings). The Ottawa Senators have won six straight games and are nearly 100% healthy again with big impact returns from Daniel Alfredsson, Jason Spezza, Filip Kuba, and Milan Michalek. The Sens recent hot play means Melynk’s at it again. Urrrgh.
10. Nashville Predators (29-19-3, 61 pts; last week: 6)
The Nashville Predators fall this week after losing three straight games, particularly because of a loss to the Leafs – a team they should beat. The Predators are in the middle of a four game home stand with games against the Red Wings and Blue Jackets this week.
9. Phoenix Coyotes (29-18-5, 63 pts; last week: 7)
The Phoenix Coyotes also drop this week as a result of losing two of their last three games. The Coyotes were lit up 7-2 by the Sabres last Monday and lost a close one to Washington after taking too many penalties. This week, the ‘Yotes play the Red Wings, Flames, and Rangers.
8. Pittsburgh Penguins (32-20-1, 65 pts; last week: 9)
The Pittsburgh Penguins move up in this week’s rankings largely because the Coyotes and Predators moved down. The Penguins still aren’t looking like the Stanley Cup Champions with a terrible powerplay and too many blown games. Sidney Crosby continues to score goals at a torrid pace and Marc-Andre Fleury is expected back from his finger injury this week.
7. Vancouver Canucks (31-18-2, 64 pts; last week: 10)
The Vancouver Canucks are really starting to heat up. What’s impressed me most about the Canucks has been the firepower from their forwards. Sammuelson, Kesler, Burrows, Raymond, Sedins-squared make up a great top two lines and the Canucks are getting strong play out of Alex Edler and Christian Ehrhoff too. This week, the Canucks play the Sabres, Blues, and Maple Leafs.
6. Buffalo Sabres (30-13-7, 67 pts; last week: 5)
The Buffalo Sabres have dropped three of their last four games against Western Conference teams. Allowing 15 goals in four games against the Coyotes, Ducks, Kings, and Sharks makes me wonder if the Sabres are benefiting from a weak Division/Conference or if this is merely a slump against good teams. The Senators are now seven points back of the Buffalo for the Division lead and the Sabres will look to add some distance this week in games against the Canucks, Devils, and Bruins.
5. Colorado Avalanche (30-15-6, 66 pts; last week: 8)
The Colorado Avalanche are the second team this week to have six straight wins. Last week, the Avalanche knocked off the Oilers and Stars and have two shutouts in their last three games. After a few days off, the Avs will play the Wild and Stars in back to back games this week.
4. New Jersey Devils (34-15-1, 69 pts; last week: 4)
The New Jersey Devils have been very mediocre in their last 10 games (5-5) in comparison with the rest of their season. While recent losses against the Canadiens and Islanders are concerning, this is a very strong team that will challenge for a Division title and the Eastern Conference championship this Spring.
3. Chicago Blackhawks (35-13-4, 74 pts; last week: 1)
I wasn’t terribly impressed with the Chicago Blackhawks last week. They came out flat against the Senators and Canucks and are 3-2 on their season long road trip so far. The Road trip wraps up this week against the Oilers, Sharks, and Hurricanes.
2. Washington Capitals (33-12-6, 72 pts; last week: 3)
Along with the Senators and Avalanche, the Washington Capitals are among the hottest teams in the NHL, having posted six straight wins. The team are 9-1 in their last 10 games and have lost once since making Alex Ovechkin team captain. Not bad…
1. San Jose Sharks (35-10-8, 78 pts; last week: 2)
The San Jose Sharks are back to the number one position in the Classy Rankings! We’ve talked a lot about the Capitals, Senators, and Avalanche having six games winning streaks, but the Sharks are no slouches either. They’ve won five straight games against good teams (including the Sabres, Kings, and Ducks). The Sharks have three games at home this week against the Hawks, Wild, and Red Wings.
Stay classy, NHL Power Rankings.