NHL Power Rankings, Part 10

The NHL is rolling along into the holidays.  A fun season is just going to get better . . .

#31 Chicago Blackhawks (10-19-6, -36, LW:  31)

#30 Los Angeles Kings (11-20-3, -31, LW:  30)

#29 Philadelphia Flyers (12-15-4, -23, LW:  21)

#28 New York Rangers (14-13-5, -12, LW:  26)

#27 New Jersey Devils (11-13-7, -17, LW:  29)

#26 Florida Panthers (12-13-6, -12, LW:  27)

#25 Detroit Red Wings (14-15-5, -17, LW:  25)

#24 Arizona Coyotes (14-16-2, -8, LW:  22)

#23 St. Louis Blues (12-15-4, -19, LW:  23)

#22 Carolina Hurricanes (14-13-5, -9, LW:  24)

#21 Ottawa Senators (15-16-4, -19, LW:  28)

#20 Dallas Stars (16-14-3, -1, LW:  10)

#19 Pittsburgh Penguins (15-12-6, +4, LW:  14)

#18 Colorado Avalanche (18-10-6, +16, LW:  9)

#17 New York Islanders (16-12-4, +1, LW:  18)

#16 Columbus Blue Jackets (18-12-3, +3, LW:  19)

#15 Minnesota Wild (17-13-2, +10, LW:  15)

#14 Vancouver Canucks (16-16-4, -8, LW:  20)

#13 Boston Bruins (18-12-4, +6, LW:  12)

#12 Vegas Golden Knights (19-15-2, +5, LW:  6)

#11 Buffalo Sabres (20-9-5, +7, LW:  17)

#10 Montreal Canadiens (17-12-5, -3, LW:  16)

#9 Edmonton Oilers (18-13-3, -3, LW:  8)

One month ago the Oilers were 27th in the rankings and sitting at 9-10-1, five points out of the playoffs.  I even mentioned it at the beginning of the season that the defense needed to improve.  They have allowed 35 goals in the last 14 games, going 9-3-2 during that stretch to take them from five points out to three points ahead for the final wild card.  The biggest difference has been goaltender Mikko Koskinen.  Over his last nine games he has a .940 save percentage and has allowed 16 goals (1.77 GAA).

#8 Toronto Maple Leafs (21-10-2, +24, LW:  4)

#7 Anaheim Ducks (19-11-5, -7, LW:  13)

#6 Nashville Predators (22-10-2, +21, LW:  7)

#5 San Jose Sharks (18-11-5, +9, LW:  11)

This team should be a lot better than fourth in the Pacific Division.  Unfortunately I don’t get to watch a lot of West Coast hockey, but I know enough that the Sharks should improve and be in better position by the All-Star break.  So naturally they wake up and jump up to fifth in the rankings . . .

#4 Washington Capitals (20-9-3, +22, LW:  5)

So much for a hangover.  They have won 13 of their last 16 games, 11 of them in regulation or overtime, and now sit once again atop the Metro Division, comfortably at that.  Besides the usual suspects (Ovechkin has 43 points, Nicklas Backstrom has 40, and John Carlson has 35), contributions from young guys Evgeny Kuznetsov (31 points) Brett Connolly (20 points), and Jakub Vrana (19 points) are giving the Capitals thoughts that last season wasn’t just a one year aberration.

#3 Calgary Flames (22-10-2, +29, LW:  2)

Tune up the cheesy 80’s horns!!!  The Flames are red hot, ranking sixth in goals and fifth in goals allowed.  With the Jets and Maple Leafs playing well, too, we could see our first all Canadian Stanley Cup Final since the Flames and Canadiens faced off 30 years ago.  I’d rather see the Bruins in the final because that’s my team, but watching these young guys in Winnipeg, Calgary, and Toronto just leaves me in awe of the league right now.

#2 Winnipeg Jets (22-9-2, +27, LW:  3)

#1 Tampa Bay Lightning (25-7-2, +41, LW:  1)

Just start watching hockey!!!

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