AP Photo/Nick Wass
The weekly NoVa Caps continues on this week as we approach the end of October. Who has looked good in the first month of NHL action? Who will make the Top 10 Cut this week?
Let’s look at the new power rankings for this week:
1. TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING (5)
2. LOS ANGELES KINGS (3)
3. ST. LOUIS BLUES (2)
4. TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS (4)
5. CHICAGO BLACKHAWKS (1)
6. PITTSBURGH PENGUINS (7)
7. VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS (9)
8. NEW JERSEY DEVILS (10)
9. COLUMBUS BLUE JACKETS (8)
10. DALLAS STARS (NR)
Note: These rankings will change every week
*(#) indicates last week’s ranking
*”NR” indicates “Not Ranked”
News and notes around the NHL:
1. Tampa Bay Lightning (7-1-1) – The Lightning appear to be healthy and back on track. They had another good week as they defeated Detroit, Columbus, and Pittsburgh. Their only loss came against New Jersey in the shootout. Steven Stamkos is among the league leaders in points, while Nikita Kucherov is among the league leaders in goals. I had them getting back into the playoffs this year, and I still feel good about their chances.
2. Los Angeles Kings (6-0-1) – The Kings are the only team without a regulation loss. The Kings suffered a huge blow this week, as star pivot Jeff Carter went down with injury. Carter had surgery this week, but there is no timetable for his return. The Kings started their lengthy Eastern road trip on a winning note, as they defeated Columbus on Saturday. They have a busy week as they play 4 games in 6 nights.
3. St. Louis Blues (6-2-1) – The Blues had a strong week, as they defeated Chicago and Colorado. Their only loss came against Vegas in overtime. The Blues have a lot of home cooking coming up in late October, into early November. They only have 2 road games in their next 9 games.
4. Toronto Maple Leafs (6-2-0) – The Leafs are still ranked at #4 for another week. They are still involved in a lot of high scoring games. While they dropped a big game to Ottawa 6-3 over the weekend, they started the week with back to back wins against Washington and Detroit. The Leafs are scoring a lot of goals, but goaltender Frederik Andersen has a 3.41 goals against average and .892 save percentage. The goaltending has to improve for the Leafs as the winter months approach.
5. Chicago Blackhawks (5-2-2) – Chicago did not have the best week, as they lost to St. Louis and Edmonton. They will have a busy week ahead as they face Vegas, Nashville, and Colorado. Keep an eye on Ryan Hartman for the Blackhawks. The 2013 1st round pick has 9 points in 9 games.
6. Pittsburgh Penguins (5-3-1) – Even with a -9 team goal differential, the Penguins are still ranked 2nd in the Metropolitan Division right now. The Penguins got rocked by the Lightning over the weekend, but they had strong outings against Florida and New York. The Penguins will get a heavy dose of Western Conference opponents over the next couple of weeks, as they play 8 straight games against the West.
7. Vegas Golden Knights (6-1-0) – The Golden Knights are one of the best stories in the NHL right now. October 2017 will be a time that the young franchise will never forget. Unfortunately for the Golden Knights, they have lost another goaltender to injury with Malcom Subban. Oscar Dansk is the new man in between the pipes while Subban and Marc-Andre Fleury recover from their injuries. Vegas has 2 more home games before they hit the road for a long 6-game road trip.
8. New Jersey Devils (6-2-0) – The Devils had a strong week, as they knocked off Tampa in the shootout, and Ottawa in overtime. However, they lost in regulation to the San Jose Sharks on Friday night. The good news for the Devils is that they have 2 more games at home before they head out West to Western Canada.
9. Columbus Blue Jackets (5-3-0) – The Jackets are a difficult team to read right now. They have some wins against teams like Minnesota and Carolina, that are not in contention right now. However, Columbus has been defeated by teams like Tampa and Los Angeles that are in contention right now. Artemi Panarin is leading the way for the Jackets with 9 points. Sergei Bobrovsky has been steady in goal for the Jackets, as he has a 2.16 goals against average and .927 save percentage. I like the Jackets overall, but I am waiting for them to break out.
10. Dallas Stars (5-3-0) – The Stars are improved, and they have quietly won 4 games in a row. The Stars have a tough 5-game road trip coming up as they venture through Western Canada and Colorado. Ben Bishop is quietly putting up great goaltending numbers for the Stars, as he has a 2.09 goals against average and .928 save percentage. It has been a little while since the Stars have gotten consistent goaltending numbers. Keep an eye out on the Stars over the next couple of weeks.
By: George Foussekis