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CBS Sports

After a couple weeks without much change at the top of the power rankings, we finally have some real movement. A few different teams have gotten hot and deserve more recognition.

For starters, the Tampa Bay Lightning have overcome injuries and still look like they could realistically three-peat as Stanley Cup champions. Being without Brayden Point and Nikita Kucherov hasn’t been much of a problem for the Bolts.

Behind them, the Wild are a complete team and they have a sizable lead in the Central Division because of it. Finally, I was skeptical of the New York Rangers‘ start to the season because the formula seemed to be hoping Igor Shesterkin stands on his head while Chris Kreider scores on every other shot, but I’m happy to report that the process very much matches the results these days.

Let’s dive into all the changes in this week’s updated NHL Power Rankings:

Biggest Movers

7

Senators

7

Blue Jackets
Rk
Teams
 
Chg
Rcrd

1


Lightning

To be honest, I’ve been waiting on the Lightning to tail off after the Brayden Point injury. I should know better than to doubt this Tampa Bay team. Steven Stamkos has picked up much of Point’s slack and currently has a seven-game point streak going. In that stretch, he has three goals and six assists. 3 15-5-4

2


Wild

Minnesota has now won six straight games, and it has a strong grip on first place in the Central Division. Now just imagine what the Wild would look like if their power play didn’t rank 28th in the NHL. If they can fix that, this will be an even scarier team. 4 17-6-1

3


Rangers

The Rangers are red hot right now, but they got a major scare this past week. Goaltender Igor Shesterkin left New York’s game against the Sharks with a lower-body injury. Shesterkin was placed on IR, but the team doesn’t think it’s anything serious. That’s good news because he is the leading candidate for the Vezina Trophy right now. 4 16-4-3

4


Maple Leafs

The Maple Leafs’ winning streak was snapped over the weekend, but the last win was an impressive one. Toronto shelled the Avalanche in an 8-3 win, and Auston Matthews netted a hat trick. He’s now sitting on 15 goals for the season and his 7.48 expected goals at five-on-five lead the NHL. 3 17-7-2

5


Hurricanes

It would be nearly impossible to find a more unlucky team in the NHL last week. In a 4-1 loss to the Stars, the Hurricanes only surrendered 17 shots on goal and owned 77.9% of the expected goals at five-on-five. In its loss to the Senators, Ottawa only gave up 20 shots on goal and controlled 54.6% of the expected goals at even strength. 3 16-6-1

6


Panthers

Are you not entertained?! The Panthers had to come from behind in all three of their wins last week. They also had to overcome three-goal deficits in wins over the Capitals and the Sabres. The best way to climb in these rankings is to be good or entertaining. Florida is both right now. 4 17-4-3

7


Flames

It doesn’t matter who starts between the pipes for the Flames right now because they are getting solid goaltending either way. Jacob Markstrom has been impressive, but Dan Vladar has been brilliant, too. In his six games played for Calgary, Vladar is 5-0-1 with a pair of shutouts and 3.68 goals saved above average. 2 15-5-5

8


Oilers

Between injuries on the blue line and some underwhelming play from Mikko Koskinen and Stuart Skinner, the Oilers struggled to keep the puck out of the net last week. It was only a couple of games, but it’s something to monitor since defense and goaltending were big concerns coming into the season. 5 16-7-0

9


Capitals

Without Nicklas Backstrom to this point in the season, Evgeny Kuznetsov has stepped up into the role of the Capitals’ primary distributor. He is already up to 20 assists on the year, which matches his total from last season. Also, Alex Ovechkin now has 20 goals this year and 750 in his career. 4 15-4-6

10


Avalanche

With Darcy Kuemper battling injury, Jonas Johansson has been getting the reps in net for the Avs, and the results haven’t been great. Last week, Johansson surrendered eight goals to the Maple Leafs and allowed three goals on 15 shots before getting pulled in an overtime loss to the Senators. In eight games, Johansson has allowed 5.93 goals above average. 2 12-7-2

11


Stars

Roope Hintz was ice cold to start this season, and everyone knew that couldn’t last. The good news for Dallas is that he has put that early slump way back in the rearview mirror. Hintz has been the Stars’ best generator of dangerous chances all season, and he is finally starting to get some shooting luck. He has 10 goals in his last 10 games, including a hat trick in a win over the Hurricanes. 4 12-7-2

12


Ducks

When Sonny Milano was traded from the Blue Jackets to the Ducks in exchange for Devin Shore, it seemed like a throwaway trade, but it now looks like Anaheim got the better end of the deal. Milano now has 17 points in 20 games, which is just five points off his career high, and he has worked well with Trevor Zegras and Rikard Rakell. 6 13-8-4

13


Golden Knights

Even though he missed more than a month due to injury, Max Pacioretty has shown no signs of rust. In five games since his return, Pacioretty has posted four goals and seven points. His presence makes the Vegas lineup quite a bit more lethal. 2 14-10-0

14


Red Wings

The Red Wings have now won five straight games, but I expect a little regression to hit in the near future. Four of those wins came by one goal, three of them came in overtime or a shootout, and the underlying numbers in several of the victories raise some red flags. 3 13-9-3

15


Bruins

Boston is now last in the NHL in five-on-five shooting percentage at 5.84%. The Bruins do have a lack of forward depth, but they are still better than their record currently reflects. 3 12-8-1

16


Blues

The Blues are 25th in the NHL in expected goals share at five-on-five (47.38%). More specifically, defensemen Colton Parayko, Marco Scandellam, and Robert Bortuzzo have been really struggling in that regard. That should be a cause for concern in St. Louis. 3 12-8-4

17


Jets

Just one week ago, I wrote about the need for the Jets to get Mark Scheifele going. Well, they managed to do that. Scheifele broke out in a major way with a hat trick and four total points in Winnipeg’s win over the Devils. Now, we’ll see whether Schiefele can use that as a jumpstart for the rest of the season. 3 12-8-4

18


Penguins

Jake Guentzel is driving the Penguins’ offense this season. His 24 points are the most on the team by a country mile, and he is tied with Evan Rodrigues for the team lead in individual expected goals at 5.66. His hat trick against the Canucks brought his goal total to 13 in 23 games played. 2 11-8-5

19


Predators

Filip Forsberg stole the show with four goals against the Blue Jackets and an overtime winner against the Canadiens, but it’s Mikael Granlund appreciation day here. His 21 assists are tied for third in the NHL, and his creativity and vision have been a major boost for the Nashville offense in 2021-22. 4 13-10-1

20


Kings

After Alex Edler’s 15 seasons in Vancouver, I wondered how much he had left in the tank when he went to the Kings in the offseason. So far, the on-ice results have been surprising. Edler has already surpassed his low point total from last season, and Los Angeles is controlling play with him on the ice. 1 10-9-4

21


Blue Jackets

The Blue Jackets are the most volatile team in these rankings. That’s because one week they will overcome poor underlying numbers to notch impressive victories, and the next week they will be exactly the team you expect them to be. This past week fell into the latter category. Columbus went 1-3-0 and got noticeably outplayed in every game. 7 13-10-0

22


Sharks

Erik Karlsson’s $11.5 million cap hit looks much better this season than it did last year. Karlsson hasn’t been himself for a couple of years now, but his first 19 games of the 2021-22 season have been very encouraging. He has 14 points, and the Sharks own 57.95% of the expected goals with him on the ice. 2 13-11-1

23


Kraken

Until the goaltending situation improves (if it ever does…) the Kraken will have to outscore teams on a regular basis. That strategy worked well enough for them last week, but a lack of firepower amongst the forward group makes me wonder how long that will continue. 3 9-13-2

24


Blackhawks

After a worrisome start with the Blackhawks, Marc-Andre Fleury has settled in and now looks more like the reigning Vezina Trophy winner. In his last seven starts, Fleury has stopped 7.34 goals above average at five-on-five, which ranks second in the NHL over that span. 3 9-13-2

25


Senators

Since being bitten by Brendan Lemieux, Brady Tkachuk has five points in three games. I don’t think that’s related, but it is a fun fact . Also, the Senators scored back-to-back wins over the Hurricanes and the Avalanche. Go figure. 7 6-15-1

26


Devils

New Jersey ranks 11th in the NHL in expected goals against at five-on-five (43.55). The Devils’ 91.27% team save percentage at five-on-five ranks 24th in the league, so that explains why a decent defensive team is allowing over three goals per game. 4 9-9-4

27


Flyers

Philadelphia has now lost eight straight games, and the most recent loss was a 7-1 drubbing at the hands of the Lightning. After an encouraging start to the season, Carter Hart has struggled in the crease, but this rough patch hardly falls entirely on his shoulders. It’s hard to find anything that’s working for the Flyers these days, and the team has reportedly fired head coach Alain Vigneault as a result. 6 8-10-4

28


Canucks

The Canucks finally decided to make some changes, and they have fired general manager Jim Benning and made a coaching change. Vancouver is now hiring 66-year-old Bruce Boudreau to be its next head coach. It’s that type of forward thinking approach that makes the Canucks so special. 3 8-15-2

29


Coyotes

Jakob Chychrun was the biggest bright spot for the Coyotes last season, but he has had trouble keeping that up this year. In 56 games last year, Chychrun only has seven points in 24 games played in 2021-22. Even more concerning than Chychrun’s lack of production is the fact that his underlying numbers have been poor as well. Of course, that could be due to having a revolving door of underwhelming defensive partners. 1 5-17-2

30


Canadiens

Tossing your jersey onto the ice is the hot new trend in Canada, and that’s what happened during the Canadiens’ loss to the Avalanche last week. I can hardly blame fans in Montreal. The team is 2-7-1 in its last 10 games, and the underlying numbers are even uglier. The Habs haven’t had more expected goals than an opponent since a Nov. 13 loss to the Red Wings. 1 6-17-3

31


Sabres

Buffalo acquired Malcolm Subban in an attempt to solve its glaring goaltending issue. In his first start for the Sabres, Subban gave up five goals on 22 shots and was pulled from the game. To be fair, Buffalo is one of the worst teams in the NHL in expected goals against at five-on-five. 6 8-13-3

32


Islanders

The Islanders are absolutely going through it these days. They haven’t won a game since Nov. 6 and they are now 12 points out of a playoff spot. Coming into the season, I thought the Isles could compete for a Stanley Cup, but instead this has been a disaster of epic proportions. 4 5-10-5