Photo: NHL/Getty Images
The weekly NoVa Caps team power rankings continue this week as we approach the start of November. Who are the biggest surprises as we head deeper into the Fall months?
Let’s look at the new power rankings for this week:
1. TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING (1)
2. LOS ANGELES KINGS (2)
3. ST. LOUIS BLUES (3)
4. VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS (7)
5. NEW JERSEY DEVILS (8)
6. PITTSBURGH PENGUINS (6)
7. TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS (4)
8. COLUMBUS BLUE JACKETS (9)
9. OTTAWA SENATORS (NR)
10. VANCOUVER CANUCKS (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 (9-2-1) – The Lightning are surging, and are off to a very hot start. Steven Stamkos and Nikita Kucherov are at the top of the NHL in the scoring race. The Lightning will likely remain in the Top 10 for weeks to come, as this team is constructed well and well coached.
2. Los Angeles Kings (9-1-1) – The Kings are a surprise to start the season. Their only regulation loss came against the Toronto Maple Leafs last Monday. The Kings have gone 4-1 on their Eastern road trip, with one more stop in St. Louis on Monday night. Jonathan Quick has returned to form, as he is posting superb goaltending numbers right now. Quick has 7 wins, a 1.76 goals against average, and .946 save percentage.
3. St. Louis Blues (9-2-1) – The Blues had a good week as they went 3-0, defeating the Flames, Hurricanes, and Blue Jackets in regulation. They will be at home for the next 3 games, with visits from the Kings, Flyers, and Maple Leafs. Jaden Schwartz is leading the Blues with 15 points.
4. Vegas Golden Knights (8-1-0) – Vegas has been one of the biggest and best stories at the start of the 2017-18 season. The Golden Knights are 8-1, and have already had a slew of goaltending injuries that have not slowed them down. The Golden Knights are winners of 5 straight games, and cruised through their recent home slate. The Knights will now have to travel east for a 6-game road trip, with stops in New York, Boston, and east Canada. It will be interesting to see if the Golden Knights can keep their strong momentum going away from home.
5. New Jersey Devils (8-2-0) – The Devils are another surprise team at the start of the season. Taylor Hall has heated up over the last number of games. He has 4 points in his last 2 games, and 9 points in his last 5 games. Rookie defenseman Will Butcher is 2nd on the team with 11 points. The Devils are younger, quicker, and play with more tempo. The Devils will make their way to Western Canada this week for 3 games.
6. Pittsburgh Penguins (7-5-1) – My confidence has not given up on the Pittsburgh Penguins. Sure, they have had some bad blowout losses. But, the Penguins are still very good. They need to find a capable backup goaltender who can take some starts from Matt Murray, but they are still deep up the middle of the ice and have a potent scoring attack. The Penguins are in the middle of a 5-game road trip, and will head to Western Canada this week.
7. Toronto Maple Leafs (7-4-0) – Every Maple Leafs game tends to be a high scoring affair. The Maple Leafs have been involved in several 6-3, 4-3, and 4-2 affairs. Frederik Andersen has struggled in the opening month, as he has recorded a 3.61 goals against average and .890 save percentage. The Maple Leafs are struggling with goaltending performance right now, and while they score a lot of goals, they also let in a lot of goals.
8. Columbus Blue Jackets (7-4-0) – The Jackets had a solid week, as they defeated Buffalo and Winnipeg. However, they lost to the Blues over the weekend. The Jackets have some wins over teams that they probably should beat, but they have just one win over a playoff contending team so far (NY Islanders). With the Capitals and Penguins struggling, I am still waiting to see if the Jackets can get on a lengthy winning streak like they did last season.
9. Ottawa Senators (5-1-5) – It was tough to put Ottawa in the power rankings. They have received a lot of pity points to begin the season, as they are 1-4 in the shootouts. Mark Stone is off to a good start, as he has 12 points in 11 games. The Senators have been involved in many 1 score games over the last few weeks, so they will get the benefit now of their ranking in the standings.
10. Vancouver Canucks (6-3-1) – The Canucks are off to a surprising start. On their recent Eastern road trip, the Canucks went 4-1. They also opened their current home stand with a 6-2 victory over the Washington Capitals. They have 4 more games left at home before they head Calgary and California for 4 games. Rookie forward Brock Boeser leads the team with 9 points.
By: George Foussekis