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The Professor's Power Rankings, November 27




This week we see the collapse of a surprise team, and a surprising surge into the top five. Plus, we see the early season's worst team continue a fairly impressive climb. Read on to find out who is at the top of the list and who made the biggest moves!

#30 Edmonton Oilers (Last Week: 30; nc)

The gap is not as large as it was last week, but the Oilers have not gained quite enough ground to move out of the cellar. Just like last week, they have lost five of six. That makes it very difficult to rise.

#29 Buffalo Sabres (Last Week: 20; -9)

The Sabres are the reason that the gap has closed for the Oilers. Buffalo has lost six straight, and quite frankly is looking much like last season’s Sabres. I do not think this will last, but it probably shows that the early results were too good to be true for their fans.

#28 Philadelphia Flyers (Last Week: 28; -1)

The Flyers just cannot seem to buy goals. One would think that the recently improved play of Giroux and Voracek would help the situation, but so far, it has not. Philly is dead last in the league in goals scored.

#27 Florida Panthers (Last Week: 19; -8)

Last week, I spoke of the lack of consistency that the Panthers show. This week’s rankings show why. After a nice gain last week, they gave it all back and then some. On the bright side, we get a Jagr update. He now sits at 730 for his career. His next one will tie Marcel Dionne on the all-time list.

#26 Colorado Avalanche (Last Week: 27; +1)

There is too much young talent on this team for them to be so bad, and yet, here they are. Ironically, despite Patrick Roy’s being the coach, the goaltending bears much of the blame. Semyon Varlomov has not been up to par, and Reto Berra’s hot start seems to have worn off as well.

#25 Carolina Hurricanes (Last Week: 29; +4)

This team has excellent possession metric ratings, yet, they are -16 in goal differential. Of course, their poor shot percentage of 6.8% and their poor save percentage of .890 has a lot to do with that. If the Hurricanes get those numbers more in line with the league average, they will be dangerous.

#24 Calgary Flames (Last Week: 26; +2)

The Flames were oh, so close to snapping their losing streak in Anaheim before the wheels fell off. Still, they have won two of the three games they played since last week’s rankings, moving them up a little. Even so, this has still been a highly disappointing season for Calgary.

#23 Toronto Maple Leafs (Last Week: 22; -1)

The Leafs have cooled off, losing their last two, but both were to Boston, one of the hottest teams in the league. Despite the recent setback, Toronto fans have to be much happier than they were two weeks ago. I suspect they will get back on track.

#22 Winnipeg Jets (Last Week: 21; -1)

As recently as November 4, the Jets had three more wins than losses. They now have three more losses than wins, and some of those losses have been thumpings. What looked like a great chance to develop the franchise is beginning to look like a disaster.

#21 Anaheim Ducks (Last Week: 23; +2)

The Ducks still are not quite where everyone thinks they should be, but conditions are improving. Goal scoring is still not where it needs to be, but it is improving. If that continues, and Frederick Andersen holds his own, Anaheim should climb in the standings soon.

#20 Columbus Blue Jackets (Last Week: 24; +4)

The Blue Jackets’ position in the standings do not suggest that they should be this high, but their recent results do. Since John Tortorella was hired as head coach, Columbus is 9-7. Say what you will about the man, he has turned this team around.

#19 Vancouver Canucks (Last Week: 25; +6)

Yes, they rose, but I am still far from sold on this team. Honestly, I was close to putting Columbus ahead of them. The balance between standings and recent performance made it a razor thin margin. Yet, their position in the Pacific Division could allow them to still make the playoffs.

#18 New Jersey Devils (Last Week: 11; -7)

For the moment, the bloom is off of the New Jersey rose. Their losses in three of their last four games show that Cory Schneider cannot continue to be a one man team. This team has little secondary scoring, and lately, that has hurt them.

#17 Arizona Coyotes (Last Week: 15; -2)

Yes, they are in a decline right now, but I find it very difficult to criticize the Coyotes. This team refuses to go away. I doubt that anyone would have thought that Arizona would be in a strong position a quarter of the way through the season. Surprise!

#16 Detroit Red Wings (Last Week: 17; +1)

The Red Wings have stabilized. Still, something seems to be missing from last season. I think Jeff Blashill is a great coach, and I think given time, he will put his stamp on the team, but there still seems to be a bit of a bump making the conversion from the Mike Babcock era.

#15 New York Islanders (Last Week: 12; -3)

How does a team in the top 10 in both goals scored and goals allowed lose as many games as it wins? That is a good question, but that is what the Islanders have done. Logic says that the Islanders will begin to rise. But hockey is not always logical.

#14 Tampa Bay Lightning (Last Week: 18; +4)

The Lightning finally seem to be playing as expected. They have won three in a row including a 5-0 shutout win of the Ducks. Much credit is due to the goaltending, and I think Viktor Hedman may be the most underrated defenseman in the league.

#13 Minnesota Wild (Last Week: 14; +1)

This is another case in which a noticeable gap in the standings is the only thing that keeps a team from dropping. The Wild simply do not look very good right now. Truth be told, the Wild’s gaining a spot is more of just a matter of the system.

#12 Los Angeles Kings (Last Week: 5; -7)

The Kings have reversed fortunes, losing three of four, but they are still in first place in the Pacific Division. Still, few teams have a defensive unit playing as well as the Kings. Drew Doughty and Jake Muzzin make an outstanding shutdown pair.

#11 Pittsburgh Penguins (Last Week: 9; -2)

Are we finally beginning to see Sidney Crosby turn things around? He has three goals and an assist in the Pens’ last three games. That is more like what we are used to from him. Only time will tell if it continues, but I think we all know it is likely.

#10 Nashville Predators (Last Week: 4; -6)

Losing three straight games in shutouts is a sure way to lose ground. The only thing that broke the streak was a game against the Sabres. The Predators could have fallen more. The fact that they did not was a major point of debate between me, myself, and I.

#9 Chicago Blackhawks (Last Week: 8; -1)

The blue line would have been my biggest concern for Chicago this season since their lack of depth at defense was evident during the playoffs. That concern was unfounded, as those guys have been at absolute worst solid. The Hawks are far more dangerous than I expected.

#8 Boston Bruins (Last Week: 16; +8)

The Bruins are hot. They have won four in a row, and their scoring depth has a lot to do with why they keep winning. After 21 games, ten players are in double figures in scoring.

#7 St. Louis Blues (Last Week: 7; nc)

St. Louis is one of only five teams with at least 30 points in the standings. Their play has been iffy lately, but enough to stay near the top of the standings. Colton Parayko has been an outstanding addition to this team. He will certainly be a Calder contender.

#6 San Jose Sharks (Last Week: 10; +4)

Right now, the Sharks look like the best team in their division. The 5-2 loss to the Blackhawks in their last game definitely hurt, but the six game winning streak before that was impressive to say the least. Congratulations to Patrick Marleau for reaching the 1,000 point milestone.

#5 Ottawa Senators (Last Week: 13; +8)

Ottawa’s play is not always a thing of beauty, but they find a way to win. They have earned at least a point in seven straight, and have won their last four, all by multiple goals, including a three goal win over the Dallas Stars. Whatever they are doing, it seems to work.

#4 Washington Capitals (Last Week: 6; +2)

Who leads the Caps in scoring? No, not Alex Ovechkin. No, not Nicklas Backstrom. The answer is Evgeny Kuznetsov. Kuznetsov, who scored 27 points in 80 games last season may be the game’s most improved player. The Caps were already highly skilled, but his emergence as a scoring threat makes the team much stronger.

#3 New York Rangers (Last Week: 2; -1)

Seeing Henrik Lundqvist get pulled in the Rangers’ last game was shocking. The idea of him allowing five goals in a game seems entirely unthinkable. He just does not have bad games this season. He will bounce back, no doubt. The Rangers will stay near the top as well. Lundqvist is still my Vezina winner.

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

The Habs have won three straight, but Carey Price went down again, and will miss at least a week. Can Mike Condon find more magic? Montreal certainly hopes so.

#1 Dallas Stars (Last Week: 1; nc)

The Stars dropped an agonizing loss to Ottawa in their last game, but it is hard to drop them. They still have the fewest losses in the league, and generally speaking are firing on all cylinders. Can they keep it up? It seems hard to bet against them.

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


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