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The Professor's Power Rankings, November 12




This week's rankings see a shuffle near the top, a seemingly inevitable new team at the bottom, the continuing slow rise of an expected power and a couple of upstarts, and they return of a surprising member of the top 10. Do I have your attention? If so, let us dive into the fast-paced world of the NHL to see who is up and who is down.

#30 Toronto Maple Leafs (Last Week: 29; -1)

It seemed inevitable that Toronto would eventually land here. They were only one spot higher for the last two weeks. The key stat here is three. That is the number of games the Leafs have won this season. It is the lowest such total in the league.

#29 Columbus Blue Jackets (Last Week: 28; -1)

Columbus has never been far from the bottom of these rankings this year, and that is because every time they seem to be heading in the right direction, they fall off again. They won two straight, but have now lost two straight. Who would have ever thought that Columbus would fare better in goals for (21st) than goals against (29th)?

#28 Colorado Avalanche (Last Week: 26; -2)

First the good news: There can now be no doubt that Nathan MacKinnon is having a bounce back season, and a milestone is soon approaching with Jarome Iginla sitting at 596 career goals. Rico Berra has looked great in net too. The bad news? This team cannot win a one goal game for anything. They have had eight games of that sort and have lost seven. That is a good way to stay in the cellar.

#27 Philadelphia Flyers (Last Week: 25; -2)

Philly is on a terrible slide right now. They have lost seven of their last eight games, and three of those have been by three or more goals. I chose Claude Giroux #1 in a fantasy hockey league, and right now his nine points are disappointing. Even so, he is doing better than Jakub Voracek who only has five points. Until given reason to think otherwise, I am a seller on the Flyers.

#26 Calgary Flames (Last Week: 30; +4)

The Flames lost their last outing to the Panthers, but they did not get blown out as they had been for so long. Before that, they had won three of four. Calgary may finally be starting to get hot (no pun intended). The fact that they are in the Pacific Division helps. Can they climb out of the hole they dug? We shall see.

#25 Anaheim Ducks (Last Week: 27; +2)

If not for the fact that the Ducks have lost their last two games, they would be much higher than this. Even so, they continue their climb. Before those two losses were four straight wins, and since the two recent defeats were in overtime, they have at least a point in six straight. By the way, Corey Perry is officially awake. He has seven points in his last five outings.

#24 Florida Panthers (Last Week: 24; nc)

The Panthers finally snapped their losing streak, but this team looks a long way from the good-looking team at the season's beginning. In the Panthers' last game, Jaromir Jagr notched another goal, #729, leaving him just two markers behind Marcel Dionne and 12 behind Brett Hull on the all-time list. Sad to say, if they do not get on track, that could be the highlight of the season.

#23 Carolina Hurricanes (Last Week: 22; -1)

There is a recent comeback overtime win against Ottawa on the Hurricanes resume, but that is the only good thing that can be said about the 'Canes since I last wrote about them. They have had a 3-0 loss to the Rangers and a 4-1 loss to the Stars in the last week. Yes, those a quality opponents, but four goals in three games is concerning. For now, this elevator is going down.

#22 Edmonton Oilers (Last Week: 21; -1)

Deciding which order to put the Oilers and the team just ahead of them was tough. The Oilers are playing a bit better, but the other team is better off in the standings. For now, the standings win, but I still like this team. Losing Connor McDavid hurt, and Nail Yakupov is cooling off, but Leon Draitsaitl's tear continues, as does the high quality play of Taylor Hall and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. Allow me top applaud the play of Darnell Nurse as well. That young man will likely anchor this defense for a long time.

#21 Tampa Bay Lightning (Last Week: 18; -3)

Whither art thou, Tampa Bay? Quite simply, there is no reason for the Bolts to be performing as badly as they are this season. On paper, this is one of the most talented rosters in the league. Steven Stamkos is scoring, Viktor Hedman is producing, and Ben Bishop has been solid, but that is about all I can say positively here.

#20 San Jose Sharks (Last Week: 19; -1)

What happened to that fast start? It is long gone. There are rumors swirling that Patrick Marleau may be traded. If that proves to be true, that is a really big deal. It shows that the Sharks are ready to shake things up. They may be in a rough patch right now, but San Jose will not be a boring team to keep an eye on for a while.

#19 Vancouver Canucks (Last Week: 17; -2)

Apologies to any Canucks fans who read this, but the fact that the Canucks lead their division is a joke. All that means is that they have played one game more than the Kings and that the Pacific Division is pathetically week so far. After that criticism, I feel compelled to give a positive. The Canucks' 48 goals are the third most in the league. Plus, it they can turn around the fact that they are 1-5 beyond extra time, things will be fine.

#18 Buffalo Sabres (Last Week: 23; +5)

I am not sure if the Sabres can keep this up, but right now, they are only one game below .500. However long this lasts, Buffalo looks good right now. Of course, Ryan O'Reilly is still leading the team in scoring, but the youth movement of Jack Eichel and Rasmus Ristolainen look very good as well. If this season is not their season, it is not far away.

#17 Winnipeg Jets (Last Week: 8; -9)

The Jets suddenly do not look so good after losing three in a row. That 5-1 loss to the Habs a few games ago looks like it might have sent them into a bit of a downward spiral. Jets fans, do not panic yet. This team has a lot of firepower, and they could well turn things around quickly.

#16 New York Islanders (Last Week: 11; -5)

Three weeks ago, this team was in third place. They also started the season with a 6-2-1 record, but are now 8-5-3. That makes it clear that they are heading sharply in the wrong direction. John Tavares notched two goals in the Isles' last outing, but before that, he was pointless in four. New York needs more than that to have success.

#15 Ottawa Senators (Last Week: 15; nc)

Ottawa seems to be treading water right now. There are few ups and downs. They just seem stuck right around .500. It is not the fault of the offense. Guys like Mark Stone, Erik Karlsson, Kyle Turris, Bobby Ryan, Mike Hoffman, and Mika Zabinejad have made sure the goals are flowing, but Craig Anderson has not been very Craig Anderson-like. Is it time to give Andrew Hammond a shot?

#14 Boston Bruins (Last Week: 12; -2)

The Bruins have cooled off a bit, but they continue to defy expectations. I can forgive a three game losing streak to some extent when all three opponents are top five squads. Tuukka Rask's overall numbers still look pedestrian, but they are heading in the right direction. Will the Bruins be this season's surprise team, or are they waiting for the bubble to burst?

#13 Chicago Blackhawks (Last Week: 14; +1)

Apparently, offseason troubles mean nothing to Patrick Kane. He has an incredible 23 points in 15 games, which is a 126 point pace. It seems highly unlikely that he can keep that up, but is 100 or so points out of the question? With Duncan Keith's status uncertain, the Blackhawks need continued production from guys like Kane. They are down a bit, but they are not alone in that, so they manage to climb one peg this week.

#12 New Jersey Devils (Last Week: 13; +1)

Are we sure these are the Devils? They actually look good! The Devils have been masters of close games, winning four of five that have gone past regulation and six of eight one goal games overall. You do not have to win in a pretty fashion, you just have to win. The Devils are doing enough of that to hang tough.

#11 Los Angeles Kings (Last Week: 4; -7)

They have fallen a good bit this week, but to me, the Kings still appear to be the class of their division. You really cannot give the defense too much credit here. Drew Doughty, Jake Muzzin, and company have gone a long way to carry a team that is not scoring much and has a goalie with decent, but not Vezina worthy numbers.

#10 Detroit Red Wings (Last Week: 16; +6)

The Red Wings appear to have turned things around at the moment. I would like to give some props to Dylan Larkin, who has played a key role with this team. He has not gotten as much attention as many other high profile members of this deep rookie class, but he is deserving. He has 10 points in 15 games and is a +11 this year. He should get more hype than he has.

#9 Arizona Coyotes (Last Week: 20; +11)

They're BAAAAaaack. It seemed funny in week one when the Coyotes were in the top ten. They fell sharply, but now, a combination of a nice run by the desert dogs, and some lackluster performances by other teams have seen them rise again. They look like they are on a yo-yo, so we will see if this lasts.

#8 Nashville Predators (Last Week: 9; +1)

There was an offensive explosion in Smashville Tuesday night, when the Predators and Senators combined for 12 goals. The Predators got the lion's share in the 7-5 victory. For a team that is average when it comes to scoring goals, that had to be a pleasant sight for Nashville fans. Pekka Rinne has seemed to come back to earth lately. That needs to change if the Preds are to stay so high in the rankings.

#7 Minnesota Wild (Last Week: 10; +3)

Dubnyk still does not look great, but he now leads the league in wins. The Wild are winning as a team right now. That may be the best way to do it. Individual talent and stats will go a lot farther in the regular season than the playoffs.

#6 Pittsburgh Penguins (Last Week: 3; -3)

The concern for the Penguins is the offense. I bet you never thought you would hear that. The big guns still are not producing like they need to. For now, the defense and goaltending is winning the day, but Marc Andre-Fleury can be streaky, and we know from last season that the blue line lacks depth. Keep an eye on this team. Things will likely change at any moment. The offense will wake up, or this team will fall.


#5 Washington Capitals (Last Week: 7; +2)

In a week that saw Sergei Fedorov enshrined into the Hall of Fame, Alex Ovechkin matched his goal scoring record among Russian players. Unsurprisingly, he is on pace to break 50 again. Everything is working in D.C. right now. Plenty of goals, and Braden Holtby is unquestionably a star. This is a tough team to beat.

#4 Dallas Stars (Last Week: 2; -2)

This far up in the stratosphere, there is little room for error, and that is the only reason the Stars dropped. The offense is still on fire, and the defense is holding serve. Kari Lehtonen looks as good as he ever has.

#3 St. Louis Blues (Last Week: 5; +2)

The Blues currently sit atop the brutal Central Division. How, you ask? Two words: Jake Allen. He has firmly established himself as the guy in net in St. Louis with his 1.53 goals against average and .950 goals against average. In fairness, he has help. Rookie Colton Parayko and Alex Pietrangelo lead a defense that has been as sharp as the goalie behind them.

#2 New York Rangers (Last Week: 6; +4)

No one has allowed fewer goals than the Rangers. But, that is not a surprise when Henrik Lundqvist is in net. He is often considered to be the team when people think of the Rangers, but they are also sixth in scoring, with a very balanced attack. That has long been the missing ingredient. Is this their year?

#1 Montreal Canadiens (Last Week: 1; nc)

Stop pretending to be surprised. You knew this would still be the case. That Carey Price has been out for so long and the goaltending has not fallen off is a surprise though. Could I get a standing ovation for Mike Condon? The Habs are still first in goals scored and goal differential. If not now, then when?

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


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