Week 11 of the Classy Power Rankings features a few positive jumps from several Canadian teams (the Ottawa Senators, Montreal Canadiens, Edmonton Oilers, and Toronto Maple Leafs) while a few other teams suffer notable slides (the Philadelphia Flyers, Columbus Blue Jackets, Tampa Bay Lightning, and New York Rangers).
On top of that, we have a new number 1 ranked team! It’s not San Jose or Washington – do you know who it is? Here’s a hint: They’ve won four straight games and sit atop of the Western Conference.
NHL Classy Power Rankings – Week 11
30. Carolina Hurricanes (7-19-6, 20 pts; last week: 30)
29. Philadelphia Flyers (14-15-1, 29 pts; last week: 27)
28. New York Rangers (14-15-2, 30 pts; last week: 22)
27. Anaheim Ducks (12-13-7, 31 pts; last week: 28)
26. Florida Panthers (12-14-7, 31 pts; last week: 26)
Once among the top 5 in the NHL Classy Power Rankings, the Philadelphia Flyers now find themselves 29th, stuffed between the Carolina Hurricanes and the always struggling New York Rangers. Neither the Florida Panthers or the Anaheim Ducks can find any kind of winning consistency, either. The Ducks are the most puzzling team in the bottom of the Classy Rankings as both Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf rank in the top 12 in league scoring.
25. New York Islanders (12-13-7, 31 pts; last week: 23)
24. Tampa Bay Lightning (11-12-9, 31 pts; lastweek: 19)
23. Toronto Maple Leafs (11-14-7, 29 pts; last week: 29)
22. Columbus Blue Jackets (14-12-6, 34 pts; last week: 17)
21. Edmonton Oilers (15-13-4, 34 pts; last week: 24)
The Toronto Maple Leafs continue to move up the charts, going 7-3 in their last 10 games, while the Tampa Bay Lightning and Columbus Blue Jackets continue to slide. In fact, the Lightning have lost 8 or their last 9 games. The Edmonton Oilers have played pretty well as of late, going 6-3-1 in their last 10 games (including five straight wins). However, the Oilers are in tough at home over the next four games playing the Kings, Predators, Capitals, and Blues.
20. Montreal Canadiens (15-15-3, last week: 25)
19. St. Louis Blues (13-12-5, 31 pts, last week: 20)
18. Minnesota Wild (15-14-3, 33 pts, last week: 21)
17. Atlanta Thrashers (16-11-3, 35 pts, last week: 13)
16. Vancouver Canucks (18-14-0, 36 pts, last week: 16)
Of this crop of teams, only the Atlanta Thrashers and Montreal Canadiens are in playoff positions right now. The Vancouver Canucks are two points out of the 8th playoff spot and on a nice two game winning streak. The St. Louis Blues and Minnesota Wild are a bit farther out, but its worth noting the Wild really turned things around last month, going 12-5-3 in their last 20 games. Meanwhile, the Blues sit tied with Anaheim for 15th in the Western Conference.
15. Ottawa Senators (16-11-4, 36 pts, last week: 18)
14. Dallas Stars (14-8-10, 38 pts, last week: 14)
13. Detroit Red Wings (16-11-5, 37 pts, last week: 15)
12. Nashville Predators (18-11-3, 39 pts, last week: 13)
11. Boston Bruins (16-9-6, 38 pts, last week: 10)
Each of these teams are in playoff positions right now, except the Detroit Red Wings. That said, the Red Wings have done pretty well for themselves considering the loss of depth (well documented) and substantial injuries they’ve faced this season. Of this group, I think the Nashville Predators and the Boston Bruins are teams on the cusp of being top teams in their conference – especially the Bruins who are just one win back of 3rd in the Eastern Conference (Buffalo Sabres).
10. Colorado Avalanche (19-10-6, 44 pts, last week: 9)
The Colorado Avalanche have won four of their last five games and are starting to get back on track following a minor slump after getting off to their hot start. Goaltender Craig Anderson is back in the Avalanche line up after a brief injury while with the Avalanche take over top spot in the Northwest division after a Sunday night win over the Flames.
9. Phoenix Coyotes (19-11-2, 40 pts, last week: 7)
The Phoenix Coyotes had a pretty solid last three games, losing only once but beating both the Wild and the Sharks. Off ice news last week confirmed the Canadian Ice Edge Holdings group is a few steps closer to purchasing the Coyotes. And back to their on ice play, Ilya Bryzgalov has been great for the Coyotes while a number of the young prospects continue to find difficulty making the big club (Mueller, Boedker, Turris, etc…).
8. Buffalo Sabres (19-9-2, 40 pts, last week: 11)
Ryan Miller is arguably the best goalie in the NHL this season, boasting a league best 1.83 goals against average and a .939 save percentage. The Buffalo Sabres have won three straight games, yet don’t have one player with 10 or more goals this season. The Sabres are 7-3 in their last 10 games and they shouldn’t break what isn’t broken.
7. Calgary Flames (19-9-4, 42 pts, last week: 6) **play tonight
The Calgary Flames have won two of six games in December and have only scored more than two goals once. Miikka Kiprusoff has been amazing for the Flames this year (many have him pegged as the early favourite as the NHL’s Hart trophy winner), but the team needs more goals in order to win hockey games.
6. Chicago Blackhawks (20-8-3, 43 pts, last week: 4)
Did anyone catch Marian Hossa’s goal from Sunday night against the Lightning? Wow – just another display of skill the Chicago Blackhawks have in their roster. The Hawks have only lost two of their last six and are rolling. They are two points off the league lead and will play their next four games at home. Considering their home record (13-3-1), I’d say that’s a good thing for the Hawks. It should be noted Patrick Kane left Sunday’s game with an upper body injury. At this point, it’s not believed to be a serious injury.
5. Pittsburgh Penguins (22-10-1, 45 pts, last week: 5)
The Pittsburgh Penguins are Stanley Cup contenders. I’m not sure how long that will last, but it seems like it will be for a while. I recently read the Penguins are 22-0 when they score three or more goals in a game (I’m guessing that stat dates back to last year). Marc-Andre Fleury looks so much more comfortable in goal this season and is a lock for the Canadian Olympic team. One interesting note about Sidney Crosby this year is his goal tally. He ranks 4th in the league and just two goals back of Marian Gaborik for the goalscoring lead.
4. San Jose Sharks (19-8-7, 45 pts, last week: 2)
For the second time in as many weeks, the San Jose sharks have slipped down the Classy charts. Not necessarily because of their poor play, but because of the strong play of other teams. It doesn’t help they’ve lost four straight games dating back to two Saturday ago either. At the end of the day, none of this really matters. The Sharks remain one of the league’s top teams, but the season will be judged by their playoff performance.
3. Washington Capitals (20-7-6, 46 pts, last week: 1)
While the Washington Capitals are the top team in the NHL (according to total points), I’m not yet convinced the team plays like it every night. They have the talent and depth required, but they have a tendency to let up and play too lose (see Saturday night’s game against the Toronto Maple Leafs). Good teams play hard every night and don’t underestimate opponents. In other Capitals news, the club has finally (and I mean finally) moved Michael Nylander’s contract off their books. They’ve sent him and his $4.8 Million cap hit (approx) to the AHL, freeing up a ton of cap space to play with. It will be interesting to see what the club does between now and the March 3rd trade deadline.
2. New Jersey Devils (22-8-1, 45 pts, last week: 3)
Although the New Jersey Devils won three of their four games last week, the 3-0 win over the Buffalo Sabres overshadows everything else. Martin Brodeur’s big shutout win over the Sabres tied Terry Sawchuk in all time shutouts (103). Congrats to Marty! I have a feeling it’s going to be a very long time until that record is broken (and yes, I do believe one day the all time shutout record will belong to someone else, other than Brodeur).
1. Los Angeles Kings (21-10-3, 45 pts, last week: 8 )
For the second straight week, we have a new number one team on the NHL Classy Power Rankings: The Los Angeles Kings. Impressively, the Kings have put together four straight wins without Ryan Smyth (who is still injured). What’s more impressive is those wins have come against top Western teams (the Stars, Coyotes, Sharks, and Flames), each game being a 1-goal margin. More and more, I’m starting to believe the Kings have the pieces to go into the second or third round of the playoffs this year like the Blackhawks did last year. A very impressive team.
Stay classy, NHL rankings.
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