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The Professor's NHL Power Rankings, October 22




As you might expect, going from week one to week two, there are a lot of big changes in this week's power rankings. Some of the surprises from last Thursday are gone or at least heading in the direction you would expect, yet others remain.


We have a new #1 this week. Who will it be? Who are the big movers? What are this week's surprises? Read on to find out!


#30 Columbus Blue Jackets (Last Week: 29; -1)

The coaching carousel has made its first stop. Todd Richards, this is your stop. John Tortorella, welcome aboard. The Blue Jackets are the only team without a win on the season, making them a no-brainer for the cellar. By the way, Bob's goals against average is still over 5.00.


#29 Calgary Flames (Last Week: 20; -9)

The list of what is not wrong with the Flames is much shorter that the list of what is. In an effort to try to shorten the list of wrongs, the Flames cut goalie Karri Ramo yesterday. That will not be the full answer. What will they do next to try to right the ship?


#28 Toronto Maple Leafs (Last Week: 23; -5)

The Leafs did get their first win of the season on Friday, but it was the Blue Jackets, so most probably will not find it very impressive. Jonathan Bernier has been fairly impressive in net, but Toronto still has little going for it at the moment. Oh well, maybe the Blue Jays can get to the World Series.


#27 Anaheim Ducks (Last Week: 28; +1)

Guess what happened in the Ducks last game! They won! And they scored more than one goal in the process! They also got shut out again on Friday. Anaheim fans definitely have some reason for hope now, but one game will not change things. The Ducks have to prove they can score and win consistently before they can move very far up the ladder.


#26 Carolina Hurricanes (Last Week: 24; -2)

The win over Detroit on Friday is the only reason the Hurricanes did not drop farther. The Canes are still struggling to score, and Cam Ward does not look like the answer in goal. I suspect Carolina will be picking early again in next year's draft.


#25 Colorado Avalanche (Last Week: 19; -6)

The Av's look completely the opposite of what they did last week. Suddenly, their defense is good, since they allowed only three goals in their last two games. The bad news is, their offense disappeared, and they scored only a single goal in those games. Probably needless to say, they lost both. Patrick Roy's seat is probably beginning to feel a bit warm.


#24 Los Angeles Kings (Last Week: 30; +6)

The Kings finally managed to win a couple of games! Jonathan Quick only allowed one goal in each of them, suggesting he may be returning to form. The problem the Kings still have is offense. Both games were 2-1 affairs. It is not at all reasonable to expect Quick to continue to carry the team without more goal support. This team needs to find a way to score.


#23 Buffalo Sabres (Last Week: 21; -2)

The Sabres are stuggling offensively. No one on this team has more than three points. Yet, somehow, they have managed to score about twice as many goals as teams like the Kings and Ducks who were expected to be serious competitors. I feel safe in saying that Chad Johnson has outperformed the expectations of almost everyone. Still a long way to go.


#22 Boston Bruins (Last Week: 22; nc)

Tuukka Rask still looks out of form, but Boston has finally started to score goals, lighting the lamp a whopping 15 times in their last three contests. David Krejci's 11 points put him atop the NHL right now. If the goaltending gets straightened out, this team may be far better than I thought.


#21 Arizona Coyotes (Last Week: 2; -19)

Remember that three game winning streak? Well, it is no more, and has been replaced with a three game losing streak. Oddly enough, the offense has not declined as much as the defense. The 'Yotes look more like what we all expected, but they still have the potential to be exciting at times.


#20 New Jersey Devils (Last Week: 25; +5)

All is once again right with the world. The Devils have won their last two games, and they have done it in their traditional manner: defense and goaltending. Just like many of the teams below them, they are struggling to score, but at least they look more in sync.


#19 Detroit Red Wings (Last Week: 4; -15)

My, how the mighty have fallen. Three multi-goal losses, including the Hurricanes and Oilers are brutal to a team's power ranking this early in the season. The Wings should be fine in the full course of the season, just not so much over the last seven days.


#18 Edmonton Oilers (Last Week: 27; +9)

Connor McDavid has begun to live up to the hype. He now has four goals and six points on the season. Nail Yakupov also has six points, which will probably elicit a sigh of relief from many Oilers fans. Cam Talbot and Anders Nilsson have both looked good as well. It may be possible for the Oilers to make a little more noise than expected this season.


#17 Chicago Blackhawks (Last Week: 16; -1)

Forget the games of the last week. They do not matter. What matters is that Duncan Keith is out for 4-6 weeks because of a torn meniscus. That could very well seal Chicago's fate. Please remove your hats for a moment of silence.


#16 Minnesota Wild (Last Week: 6; -10)

Two losses are not the end of the world, but when those two losses come against teams struggling as much as the Kings and Ducks are, there is reason for concern. This is a team that desperately needs Devan Dubnyk to return to last season's form if they want to continue to improve.


#15 Florida Panthers (Last Week: 11; -4)

They go up, they go down. The Panthers feel like they are on a roller coaster from where I stand. Still, the youngsters have done nothing to scare me away -- particularly Aleksandr Barkov -- and the ageless wonder that is Jaromir Jagr continues to perform: 726 goals and counting.


#14 Ottawa Senators (Last Week: 9; -5)

Ottawa looked really good against Nashville. The problem is, Carter Hutton looked even better in the Predators' net. The offense has not stopped flowing, despite a shutout loss to the Penguins. Erik Karlsson, Mark Stone, Mike Hoffman, and especially Kyle Turris are still rocking.


#13 Pittsburgh Penguins (Last Week: 26; +13)

The entire city of Pittsburgh collectively exhaled when Sidney Crosby finally made the score sheet against the Panthers. He did so in a big way, scoring or assisting on all three of the Penguins goals that night. He needs to keep that up to keep the Penguins rising.


#12 Philadelphia Flyers (Last Week: 15; +3)

The debacle that was the second game of the season is now long forgotten as the Flyers have won three out of four. I was surprised that they returned Steve Mason to net after the performances of Michael Neuvirth, but whatever. The Flyers are winning, and that is what matters.


#11 Vancouver Canucks (Last Week: 7; -4)

Two losses meant that the had to fall, but they did not fall too far because their overall resume is still pretty impressive. Both losses were by a single goal and came against the Blues and the surging Oilers. I am willing to cut some slack this week, but another such week, and they will almost certainly tumble.


#10 Tampa Bay Lightning (Last Week: 10; nc)

The Lightning had a rough week, but managed to stay put because of far rougher weeks by teams ahead of them. But that also means they were jumped by a few teams. The managed three points in three games, but it will take more than that to keep them in the top 10 long term.


#9 New York Rangers (Last Week: 12; +3)

The Rangers earned this ranking largely on the strength of their 4-0 thumping of last week's #1, the San Jose Sharks on Monday night. Henrik Lundqvist is in Vezina form, and this is a very dangerous team. You should not be surprised if they continue to climb.


#8 St. Louis Blues (Last Week: 14; +6)

The Blues hit a speed bump in the form of the Montreal Canadiens two days ago, but before that, they had reeled off four straight wins. Vladimir Tarasenko looks like a likely future Hart Trophy winner to me, and guys like Alexander Steen, Troy Brouwer, and Jori Lehtera are all pulling their weight. This looks like a highly balanced team.


#7 Washington Capitals (Last Week: 18; +11)

Since the blowout loss to the Sharks, the Capitals have destroyed everything in sight. They have scored 14 times in their last three games, winning each by at least three. Braden Holtby has been sharp, and Ovi is at a goal a game pace so far. John Carlson is giving the Caps no reason to miss Mike Green. Yeah, Washington looks really good right now.


#6 San Jose Sharks (Last Week: 1; -5)

The bad news first: The Sharks have dropped two blowouts. Now, the good news: Martin Jones would still be a Vezina finalist at this stage with his .957 save percentage and 1.18 goals against average. This is still a team with a serious shot to win the Pacific Division. I do not think many saw that coming.


#5 Winnipeg Jets (Last Week: 8; +3)

I am not going to beat a team up over losses to the Islanders and Blues. So far, the Jets look like the real deal. I do not see any major weaknesses to this team. Blake Wheeler is off to a blazing start with excellent two-way play, and the goaltending has been good. I have a hard time imagining this team being swept out of the playoffs again.


#4 Nashville Predators (Last Week: 5; +1)

It is hard to score on this team. Pekka Rinne is one of the best goaltenders in the game, and Shea Weber and Roman Josi are two of the best defensemen in the game. They have all played like it too. The Central Division is probably hockey's toughest, and the Preds are a legitimate threat to win it.


#3 New York Islanders (Last Week: 17; +14)

Aside from the Blue Jackets, the teams the Islanders have beaten during their four game winning streak are high quality opponents. Their record may not be quite as good as a couple of teams behind them, but this team is playing some of the NHL's best hockey right now.


#2 Dallas Stars (Last Week: 13; +11)

The Stars are still scoring, and it is becoming harder and harder to doubt their goaltending. I still find it hard to put complete faith in the tandem of Antii Niemi and Kari Lehtonen, but I cannot criticize them right now. They have played well. In fact, this team is doing everything well.


#1 Montreal Canadiens (Last Week: 3; +2)

Who else was going to be here? This is the only team to win every game so far. The Habs have been around since 1909 and have never won this many games to start a season. Last year, the team had trouble scoring, but not this year, as new captain Max Pacioretty leads the way with nine points. Is this the year?


For more of the Professor's musings on the game of hockey, visit thesmacattack.com!


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Nice write up - other than I'd place the Capitals as the #2 team.- or maybe that is for next week ;) The Hurricanes also look like they will be at the bottom of the pack very soon.  

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There were several teams that I thought had a legitimate argument for the number two spot, and the Caps are one of them, there were a couple of large groups of teams that were hard to sort out, and second through seventh was one of them.


The Hurricanes are definitely making a "strong case" for moving down, but the good news for them (and everyone else near the bottom) is Columbus. Even when they play better, that team still can't win.

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