The NHL season has hit the midway point, which means we are at the midway point of our power rankings. That fact doesn’t change how the rankings work around here, though. As always, a loss or win doesn’t necessarily mean that one team will be ranked higher than a team they beat or lost to. Let’s get rolling.
Numbers in parentheses reference last week’s rankings and all stats are current as of 1/17.
No.32: Montreal Canadiens (-1)
It can’t be ignored anymore. The Canadiens are bad. They’ve been able to avoid this spot for a long time, but it’s finally caught up with them.
No.31: Arizona Coyotes (+1)
Don’t get too excited Coyotes fans. Things still aren’t great in the desert, but Karel Vejmelka looked great in their win over the Maple Leafs.
No.30: Seattle Kraken (-1)
Six-game losing streak. Yikes. The Kraken have problems on both ends, and they can’t find consistent goaltending play at all. Philipp Grubauer has looked like one of the worst signings of free agency with a .880 save percentage and a 3.37 goals against average. Clearly not what Ron Francis was expecting by bringing him in.
No.29: Ottawa Senators (+1)
The Senators move up the rankings on the heels of a two-game winning streak. Outscoring their opponents 10-5 certainly raises a few eyebrows. Currently fourth-worst in the league in goals against per game (averaging 3.61), their defense is still in rough shape. Poor Thomas Chabot.
No.28: Buffalo Sabres (+0)
Buffalo, you’re on thin ice like Montreal was last week. Your stats may save you, but they may not save you for long. They sit sixth-worst in goals against per game, averaging 3.49 goals. The days of the Sabres near the top of the rankings are definitely over.
No.27: New York Islanders (-2)
Remember, the Islanders hadn’t moved last week since they were still postponed, so they were bound to move one way or the other. Unfortunately for them, it’s down. Defensively they are exceptional, but their offense has been a problem all season long. They currently sit third-worst in the league in goals for, averaging 2.23 per game, and are dead last in goals for in total with 67.
No.26: Philadelphia Flyers (-2)
The Flyers continue to fall this week, down to 26th. It seems like nothing has gone right for the Flyers of late, as they are currently on a two-game losing streak and 2-5-3 in their last 10 games. They are tied for sixth-worst in the league in goals for per game averaging 2.54. That’s not to say their defense has been much better, sitting ninth-worst in goals against per game averaging 3.30 allowed.
No.25: New Jersey Devils (-2)
The Devils only had one game this week. They lost that game against the Islanders. As a result, they slide to No. 25. Their offense has had a decent run lately, but their defense is still the main issue averaging 3.38 goals against per game, seventh-worst in the NHL. Not to mention Mackenzie Blackwood is now in COVID-19 protocol and Jonathan Bernier is already out for the year recovering from hip surgery.
No.24: Columbus Blue Jackets (+2)
The Blue Jackets may have moved up the scoreboard, but their form as of late hasn’t been the best. Their defense has been an issue averaging 3.61 goals against per game, tied for fourth-worst in the league.
No.23: Chicago Blackhawks (+4)
It’s truly been quite amazing to watch the Blackhawks’ journey up the power rankings. Currently on a four-game winning streak, Chicago has slowly but surely been improving. Their goals against per game is finally outside of the bottom 10, but their offense doesn’t have that luxury, averaging 2.37 goals for per game, fourth-worst in the NHL.
No.22: Vancouver Canucks (-5)
This may seem like a really steep drop for the Canucks, but keep in mind they were another team that kept their spot due to postponements. The Canucks have turned things around since the takeover of Bruce Boudreau, but those offensive struggles from the first half of the season are hard to overcome, with Vancouver currently having scored just 95 goals, eighth-fewest in the NHL.
No.21: Edmonton Oilers (-2)
Edmonton, are you guys ok? It’s crazy to think that not too long ago, this was a top 10 team in the league. But right now, the Oilers have fallen off a cliff. Currently on a three game losing streak and with a 2-6-2 record in their last 10, things are not looking good in Oil Country.
No.20: Dallas Stars (+1)
Dallas moves up a spot this week. They are on a two-game losing streak and have been handily outscored during those two games, which is their biggest issue. It also doesn’t help that they are currently without Jason Robertson, their second-leading points scorer.
No.19: Detroit Red Wings (+3)
The Red Wings get out of the twenties this week and land at 19. They are still struggling at the moment, but their defense has gotten slightly better now. They are 10th-worst in the league in goals against per game, but could easily get out of that spot.
No.18: Winnipeg Jets (+2)
The Jets are back to 18 this week after a brief hiatus. They continue to be in the middle of the league statistically and have had some solid offensive contributions. Not to mention Connor Hellebuyck is getting his numbers back on track, which is a scary thought for the NHL.
No.17: Calgary Flames (-3)
A four-game losing streak drops the Flames three spots. This team looks like they’ve had their flame extinguished during that stretch, being outscored 20-7. Despite that, Calgary should still be able to get back on track, especially behind the offensive efforts of Johnny Gaudreau.
No.16: San Jose Sharks (+0)
And the Sharks have decided to stay put. Their defensive stats have certainly continued to be interesting, but their offense has struggled slightly now scoring the 10th-fewest goals per game in the league, averaging 2.69 goals.
No.15: Anaheim Ducks (-2)
The Ducks continue to fall going down now to 15. A three-game losing streak will certainly do that to a team. Especially when part of that streak is a 7-3 loss to a banged-up Minnesota Wild team. But besides that, the fact that Troy Terry wasn’t named an All-Star and has to resort to the “Last Man In” ballot to get in is lunacy.
No.14: Boston Bruins (+4)
The Bruins are hot, which brings them up inside the top fifteen. They are currently in the midst of a five-game winning streak, and the stats are only getting better for this team. Currently fifth-best in goals against per game averaging 2.54 goals and with Tuukka Rask back, things can only get better from here for Boston.
No.13: Los Angeles Kings (+2)
The Kings are also on a winning streak of their own, which brings them up to 13. Defensively, they are one of the best in the league in goals against per game, currently fourth-best averaging 2.53 goals allowed. Offensively there is still some work to do.
No.12: Washington Capitals (-3)
The top 12 is incredibly tight again this week which puts the Capitals 12th. They are still top 10 in goals for and against though, so this little downturn shouldn’t last very long.
No.11: Minnesota Wild (+1)
Yes, they are currently on a three-game winning streak. But the Wild are still quite banged up, and the big move up will more than likely come after the team is fully healed. The fact that they have been able to continue winning with as many injuries as they’ve had is quite remarkable.
No.10: Vegas Golden Knights (+1)
So close, but yet so far. Things are so tight that these teams could really change positions at any given moment, but for now the Golden Knights get the short end of the stick. Their offense is one of the best in the league, but defensively they still need a bit of work.
No.9: St. Louis Blues (-2)
The Blues are still on a good run, but there are other teams that are on better runs, plain and simple. Jordan Binnington has decent stats, but there are games where he doesn’t look good. They’ll need to rely on him as well as points leader Jordan Kyrou more down the stretch.
No.8: Pittsburgh Penguins (-2)
The Penguins fall a little bit more again this week to eighth in the rankings. Their offense has fallen out of the top ten which contributes a bit to their slide here, but defensively they are still rock solid.
No.7: Nashville Predators (-3)
Predators clock in at seventh. They have had nice form of late, but it still hasn’t quite shown up consistently in the stats. Juuse Saros is still doing well and is clearly the number one goaltender.
No.6: Toronto Maple Leafs (-1)
The Maple Leafs once again get a short end of the stick sliding down to sixth. Their defense has vastly improved, however, so this will likely be a one-and-done slide. However, Toronto losing to the Coyotes? Really?
No.5: Colorado Avalanche (+5)
The Avs make their way into the top five, starting off this week’s top five grouping. Colorado is looking like the team everyone thought they would be heading into the year, and that’s a scary thought, at least on the offensive end.
No.4: Carolina Hurricanes (-1)
Oh, poor Carolina. Once again a victim of the competition. They are still the best defensive team in the league, even with the turnstile that has been happening in goal. Welcome to the NHL Jack LaFontaine.
No.3: New York Rangers (+5)
The Rangers are the second new team that come into this week’s top five, and they go into the top three. Offensively, their goals for per game still isn’t great, but they are also among the best defensive teams in the NHL.
No.2: Tampa Bay Lightning (+0)
The champs still sit at the second spot, for now. That is the key phrase, as the Lightning are on a three-game winning streak. It won’t be long more than likely that the Lightning will have to make their claim to the throne.
No.1: Florida Panthers (+0)
How? How do the Panthers keep doing this? They are once again the top team in the rankings. Let’s be honest here, the Panthers offense might be the best in the league. They’ve scored a total of 157 goals this season, and we’re only at the midway point. If their offense continues to perform like this, they might hold onto the first spot for the entire season.
Follow Carson Babbini on Twitter @cbabs1120
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