Welcome back to week 15 of the NHL Classy Power Rankings! And what a bizarre week it was. First, the NHL postpones a Lightning-Devils game during the second period after the Prudential Center failed to regain power (the make-up game was yesterday evening) and then Saturday night saw the NHL refer to rule 78.6: not having two goals in the same sequence in the Penguins-Leafs game.
This week in our Power Rankings, we note jumps from the Philadelphia Flyers, Vancouver Canucks, and Washington Capitals. Of course with the rises come the falls. This week, the Tampa Bay Lightning, Atlanta Thrashers, Ottawa Senators, and Colorado Avalanche drop off.
NHL Classy Power Rankings – Week 15
30. Carolina Hurricanes (12-24-7, 31 pts; last week: 30)
29. Edmonton Oilers (16-23-5, 37 pts; last week: 29)
28. Toronto Maple Leafs (15-22-9, 39 pts; last week: 28)
27. Tampa Bay Lightning (16-17-10, 42 pts; last week: 21)
26. Atlanta Thrashers (19-19-6, 44 pts; last week: 22)
Due to rough play lately, the Tampa Bay Lightning (losers of two straight games- not including the make-up game against the Devils on Sunday) and Atlanta Thrashers (who’ve won one of their last 10 games) fall to the bottom of the classy rankings this week. The Hurricanes may just surpass the Edmonton Oilers this week or next, should the Oilers continue their slumping ways. And of course, the Maple Leafs are forever stuck in 28th place in the NHL.
25. St. Louis Blues (18-19-7, 43 pts; last week: 25)
24. Florida Panthers (18-20-7, 43 pts; last week: 23)
23. Columbus Blue Jackets (17-20-9, 43 pts; last week: 27)
22. Anaheim Ducks (19-19-7, 45 pts; last week: 26)
21. Ottawa Senators (22-19-4, 48 pts; last week: 14)
After losing four straight games, the Senators drop comes as no surprise, especially when looking at who’s out of their line up with injuries- Michalek, Alfredsson, Spezza, Winchester, and more. The Columbus Blue Jackets also find their stock dropping, having gone 3-5-2 in their last 10 games. Despite firing their coach, the St. Louis Blues haven’t noticed any change in their play thus far and are still finding themselves out of the playoff picture.
20. Minnesota Wild (22-20-3, 47 pts; last week: 19)
19. New York Islanders (19-19-8, 46 pts; last week: 20)
18. Philadelphia Flyers (22-19-3, 47 pts; last week: 24)
17. Dallas Stars (19-14-11, 49 pts; last week: 16)
16. Montreal Canadiens (22-21-4, 48 pts; last week: 17)
Have the Philadelphia Flyers gotten their season back on track? I’m not sure about that (just yet), but they’ve been playing much better recently, going 7-2-1 in their last 10 games. The rest of the teams in this grouping continue to play well in hopes of staying in the playoff hunt. It’s worth noting the New York Islanders are 6-3-1 in their last 10 games, too.
15. Boston Bruins (22-15-7, 51 pts; last week: 13)
14. New York Rangers (22-17-6, 50 pts; last week: 18)
13. Detroit Red Wings (23-15-6, 52 pts; last week: 15)
12. Los Angeles Kings (25-17-3, 53 pts; last week: 12)
11. Nashville Predators (26-16-3, 55 pts; last week: 8)
The Los Angeles Kings and Nashville Predators will tell you the Western Conference is pretty tough right now. In fact, two wins for either team will booth them from 7th/8th to 4th. Meanwhile, the New York Rangers have been playing better lately, as they’ve lost only once in their last 10 games… despite the NHL trying to censor coach John Tortorella’s press conferences.
10. Colorado Avalanche (25-15-6, 56 pts; last week: 5)
The Colorado Avalanche are fine, despite dropping five notches on this week’s Rankings. It’s largely a result of how tight things are in the Western Conference. In fact, Avalanche fans don’t need to worry at all. The club are 6-4 in their last 10 games and finish off a small road trip in Calgary on Monday night before returning home to enjoy a five game home stand starting with the Devils on Saturday.
9. Pittsburgh Penguins (28-17-1, 57 pts; last week: 10)
Just when you think the Pittsburgh Penguins are starting to get hot, they drop a game or two that they should probably win. Having said that, they have won two of their last three games; each of which by three goals. The Penguins have just started a five game road trip that will take them Minnesota and Western Canada (Calgary, Edmonton, and Vancouver) before the end of the week. Four games in six nights will be a good test for the Penguins, who’ve enjoyed their recent wins over struggling teams (their last three wins have come against Toronto, Atlanta, and Ottawa).
8. Vancouver Canucks (27-16-2, 56 pts; last week: 11)
The Vancouver Canucks have put together a pretty impressive string of wins lately, thanks in part to the NHL’s leading goal scorer, Henrik Sedin. The Canucks are 7-1-2 in their last 10 games and haven’t lost a game in regulation since December 20th (St. Louis). The red-hot Canucks will face the Predators, Wild, and Penguins this week.
7. Phoenix Coyotes (26-15-5, 57 pts; last week: 7)
If it seems like the Phoenix Coyotes are always hanging around seventh in the Classy Rankings it’s because they are. The Coyotes are consistently playing well under Dave Tippett. Although they’ve been 5-2-3 in recent action, it’s still good enough to keep them fourth in the Western Conference and a thread to the Sharks, Devils, and Wild – all of which are games in Phoenix as part of their season long six game home stand.
6. Calgary Flames (26-14-5, 57 pts; last week: 6)
Amid speculation of Dion Phaneuf requesting a trade, the Flames quietly hum along as another strong Western Conference team. Although regular season success is nothing new for this team, they are facing some great competition from the Vancouver Canucks. It’s going to take a lot for the Flames to retain the Northwest division lead, but Miikka Kiprusoff is playing some of the best hockey I’ve seen him play in his career. This week, the Flames host the Avalanche, Penguins, and Predators.
5. Buffalo Sabres (28-11-5, 61 pts; last week: 4)
Is anyone else shocked the Buffalo Sabres hold the NHL’s fourth best record? Going down their line-up, there are no real stars beyond Ryan Miller and struggling forward Thomas Vanek (yet he has the team lead in goals with… 12). The Sabres haven’t lost in regulation in their last eight games and they continue to widen the gap in the Northeast division. The Sabres have a light week on the road this week, playing the Thrashers and Islanders before their road trip kicks into high gear next week with four games on the west coast against three very strong teams.
4. Washington Capitals (27-11-6, 60 pts; last week: 9)
The Washington Capitals three convincing wins over the Canadiens, Senators, and Thrashers have helped them climb back up the Classy Rankings. That and naming Alexander Ovechkin their new team captain. Also the Caps have resigned Tyler Sloan and David Steckel to contact extensions while rumours continue to swirl that the Capitals are interested in Ilya Kovalchuk. The Kovalchuk-less Caps play the Lightning, Panthers, and Maple Leafs this week.
3. San Jose Sharks (28-10-7, 63 pts; last week: 1)
OK, the San Jose Sharks are hot. What else is new? Prior to a loss against Detroit on Saturday night, the Sharks had won eight their last nine games. That’s nearly as many games as they’ve lost in regulation this season (10). And those wins came against some pretty strong teams, too. The Sharks are three points back of first overall in the NHL and will look to climb to the top when they face off against the Kings, Coyotes, Bruins and Oilers this week.
2. New Jersey Devils (31-10-1, 63 pts; last week: 3)
After awhile, it gets to be a bit boring when talking about the New Jersey Devils. They are 8-2 in their last 10 games, they have a solid team and… uhhh… a crappy power system? That aside, the Devils continue to roll. This week, Jamie Langenbrunner will be named as the US Olympic team’s captain while he and the Devils hit the road to New York, Phoenix, and Colorado. The bad news for those teams is the Devils are 15-4-1 away from the Prudential Center.
1. Chicago Blackhawks (31-10-4, 66 pts; last week: 2)
Welcome to the best team in the NHL… according to total points… and the NHL Classy Power Rankings. The Blackhawks have scored the second most goals in the league this season and have allowed the second least against. Yes, even less goals than the Sabres/Ryan Miller. Not bad. Meanwhile, Patrick Kane has quietly climbed to 6th in the league in points. Although the Hawks lost both games on the weekend in less than stellar ways, they are still the deepest team in the league. Following a game at home on Thursday against the Blue Jackets, the team will start a eight game road trip in Columbus and end it in Carolina at the end of the month..
Stay classy, NHL rankings.
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