With the All-Star break officially in the rearview mirror, the second half of the season is underway. There is no rest for the weary in this week’s NHL power rankings. 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 not waste any more time.
Numbers in parentheses reference last week’s rankings and all stats are current as of 2/6.
No.32: Montreal Canadiens (+0)
The Canadiens are currently on a four-game losing streak coming out of the All-Star break. That is the only development for this team. Moving on.
No.31: New Jersey Devils (-1)
Somehow, New Jersey has found a way to get to 31 this week. On a six-game losing streak, the Devils’ lone bright spot at this point is Jack Hughes. Moving on.
No.30: Arizona Coyotes (+1)
You beat the Avalanche in a shootout. Congratulations, Arizona. Also thank New Jersey for imploding in order for you to move up. Writing about these three teams is painful.
No.29: Chicago Blackhawks (-6)
The Blackhawks take a big fall this week on the heels of a three-game losing streak. During that streak, the team has looked flat. Not to mention Marc-Andre Fleury‘s curse against the Wild continued on Wednesday. Owner Rocky Wirtz embarrassed the organization with his tirade at their town hall Wednesday afternoon… double-whammy.
No.28: Seattle Kraken (+0)
The Kraken stay put this week at 28. Their defense has improved coming into the second half, averaging 3.43 goals against per game. Unfortunately for them, that is still tied for sixth-worst in the NHL.
No.27: Buffalo Sabres (-1)
The Sabres fall one spot this week to number 27. Currently on a two-game losing streak, the Buffalo offense is continuing to struggle, only putting up 2.56 goals per game. That is seventh-worst in the league. The defense isn’t much better averaging 3.47 goals against per game, which is sixth-worst.
No.26: Ottawa Senators (+1)
The Senators move up one spot once again this week. While their goals against per game average has remained just about the same (sitting at eighth-worst in the league), their offense is now out of the bottom 10. This is quite surprising after losing Drake Batherson to injury. Brady Tkachuk is more than capable of picking up the slack with 30 points in 37 games.
No.25: Philadelphia Flyers (+4)
The Flyers have won two games in a row. That doesn’t make things much better for them, as those were the first two games they have won in quite some time. It could be a tearful trade deadline for Flyers fans as rumors continue to swirl about their longtime captain Claude Giroux and his future.
No.24: Winnipeg Jets (-2)
The Jets fall to 24th this week after a two-game losing streak. They have struggled of late, going 2-6-2 in their last 10 games. Statistically, Winnipeg is still more in the middle of the league, but they are desperate to find some form. Kyle Connor has continued to carry their team offensively. He has amassed 45 points in 42 games.
No.23: New York Islanders (+2)
The Islanders make their way up two spots this week. While they are 5-5 in their last 10, they remain two different teams depending on what zone they’re in. They are top five in goals against per game and bottom five in goals for per game. It’s truly remarkable.
No.22: Columbus Blue Jackets (+2)
Yes, the Blue Jackets are tied for second-worst in goals against per game. Yes, they are 4-6 in their last 10 games. Their offense, however, has vastly improved over the past couple of weeks which is why they continue their ascent.
No.21: Detroit Red Wings (+0)
The Red Wings stop their slide this week, staying put at 21st. Currently tied for ninth-worst in the NHL in goals scored per game (averaging 2.72), their defense has stayed about the same, which is good for a team like the Red Wings. Quite frankly, they just need better goaltending in Motown.
No.20: San Jose Sharks (-1)
The Sharks fall a spot this week after a struggling form. Going 3-4-3 in their last 10 games, they have gotten points in six contests but haven’t been able to finish the job. Their offense needs to get going in the second half, currently tied for ninth-fewest goals for per game with the Kraken at 2.72.
No.19: Vancouver Canucks (+1)
The Canucks rise from the 20s this week, moving up to number 19. Another team that is a different team on both ends of the ice, they have allowed the seventh-fewest goals against per game, tied with the Nashville Predators. It’s their offense that has continued to struggle, averaging the fifth-fewest goals for per game, at 2.43 goals per game.
No.18: Dallas Stars (+0)
The Stars remain 18th for yet another week. The story hasn’t changed much in Dallas, but their offense has been improving. Hopefully that momentum can continue coming out of the break.
No.17: Edmonton Oilers (+0)
The Oilers also stay put this week. On both sides of the ice, the Oilers just haven’t looked like the same team they did at the start of the season. They are still top-10 in goals for per game, but they’re barely clinging to that status. They will need a big-time reset in the second half, and quick.
No.16: Anaheim Ducks (-3)
The Ducks feather down three places this week. Anaheim has certainly had an interesting season so far, and this recent run has been no different. Statistically, they are a team stuck in the middle, but could be in a worse spot if not for Troy Terry and John Gibson.
No.15: Washington Capitals (-3)
The Capitals open the top 15 this week, falling three spots. They still are in the top 10 in goals against per game, but their offense has taken a little hit. In the latest Ovi Watch, Alex Ovechkin is seven goals away from tying Jaromir Jagr for third place on the all-time goal scoring list.
No.14: Calgary Flames (+2)
The Flames move two spots this week, up to 14. Coming off of a three-game winning streak, their defense has been one of the best of the first half, averaging 2.48 goals against per game, second-fewest in the NHL. Jacob Markstrom has had a tremendous year and Johnny Gaudreau has led the Flames offense.
No.13: Los Angeles Kings (+2)
The Kings move up as many spots as their current winning streak. They are now tied for 10th-fewest goals against per game with the Washington Capitals, but their offense needs to take a step forward in the second half. Anze Kopitar can’t do it by himself like he has been doing it in the first half of the season.
No.12: Boston Bruins (+2)
The Bruins risse back up this week to number 12. Their goals against per game is just slightly outside the top 10, but their offense has left something to be desired. Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak have been leading the charge in that department and could use some help. This isn’t the return that Tuukka Rask wasn’t expecting for himself, and Bruins fans certainly weren’t expecting it either.
No.11: Nashville Predators (-1)
The Predators fall out of the top 10 this week. It was a hard call to make, but it came down to their offensive numbers compared to the other teams above them. Juuse Saros continues to play like a top Vezina candidate, however, and should be treated as such.
No.10: Vegas Golden Knights (+1)
The Golden Knights open up the top 10 this week. On a two-game winning streak, their offense is eighth-best in goals for, averaging 3.35 per game. Their defense is something that will need to improve, however.
No.9: Pittsburgh Penguins (+0)
The Penguins stay at ninth this week. Their offense has continued to be dominant and getting even contributions from everyone. Tristan Jarry remains the backbone of the Pens, and Sidney Crosby has been incredible as well, with 40 points in 31 games.
No.8: St. Louis Blues (+0)
Yes, it is probably surprising to see the Blues stay here this week. That’s just a testament to how tight things are in the top 10. Jordan Kyrou has continued his breakout year, and will be a star for years to come.
No.7: Florida Panthers (-4)
The Panthers fall to seventh this week, which may be a bit controversial. They are tied with the Colorado Avalanche, averaging 4.09 goals for per game, good enough for best in the league. Their defensive numbers do not stack up.
No.6: Tampa Bay Lightning (+0)
The defending champs stay put at sixth this week. Their goals against per game has fallen out of the top 10, but their goals for is still seventh-best in the league averaging 3.37. Steven Stamkos has been absolutely sensational, in case anyone forgot how good he is.
No.5: New York Rangers (+2)
After a week away, the Rangers come right back into the top five this week. New York is currently on a two-game winning streak, but they still need to give Igor Shesterkin some help. Their offense has struggled, but Artemi Panarin has done his fair share with 52 points in 42 games.
No.4: Toronto Maple Leafs (+1)
The Maple Leafs are on a roll, and that moves them up to fourth in this week’s rankings. They are fourth in goals for per game (averaging 3.60 goals), and sixth in goals against per game averaging 2.64 allowed. The true key to moving up this week is the current five-game winning streak.
No.3: Minnesota Wild (+1)
A six-game winning streak for the Wild brings them into the top three for the first time in quite a while. Keep in mind they still have registered at least one point in every game they’ve played since the Winter Classic. Cam Talbot has been playing like the All-Star he is, and Kirill Kaprizov is on pace for over 100 points. He could be the first player in franchise history to log 100 points in a season.
No.2: Carolina Hurricanes (+0)
The Hurricanes, on a four-game winning streak, remain in second this week. They still have the best goals against per game average, with just 2.33 goals, and are also still in the top five in goals against per game. Carolina will certainly be in contention for the top spot for some time.
No.1: Colorado Avalanche (+0)
If your loss to the Coyotes was not via shootout, Colorado, you would be in trouble. With that said, they still have the points streak (though their winning streak has ended). The offense is still elite, even with Nathan MacKinnon potentially still out after the break. The defense still needs some work, but they have one of the best defensive cores in the league. They could hold on to this top spot for a while.
Follow Carson Babbini on Twitter @cbabs1120
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