The weekly NoVa Caps team power rankings continue this week as we are now in mid-November. The Lightning have been at the top of the rankings for some time now, and look like the NHL’s hottest team. While the Lightning have been dominant, the rest of the rankings continue to change weekly. Who is in the top 10 this week?
Let’s look at the new power rankings this week:
1. TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING (1)
2. ST. LOUIS BLUES (3)
3. LOS ANGELES KINGS (2)
4. TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS (7)
5. NEW JERSEY DEVILS (4)
6. VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS (5)
7. WINNIPEG JETS (NR)
8. COLUMBUS BLUE JACKETS (6)
9. PITTSBURGH PENGUINS (10)
10. WASHINGTON CAPITALS (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 (14-2-2) – The Lightning are winners of four straight games. They just went out to California for 3 games, and delivered a clean sweep to the 3 teams out there. Their most impressive victory came against the Kings, as they defeated them 5-2 last Thursday at Staples Center. The Lightning’s 1-2 punch of Nikita Kucherov and Steven Stamkos lead the league in scoring, and goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy leads the league in wins. The Lightning are for real, and are rolling through the rest of the league right now with their play. If they keep this pace, they will be a lock to win the Atlantic Division and Eastern Conference.
2. St. Louis Blues (13-4-1) – The Blues are off to a good start out West. The Blues went 2-1 this week, defeating the Devils and Coyotes. Alex Pietrangelo is off to a hot start from the blueline as he has 16 points in 18 games. The Blues are 6 points ahead of the nearest divisional opponent in the standings. The Blues are hitting their stride and are one of the NHL’s deepest teams on the blueline.
3. Los Angeles Kings (11-4-2) – The Kings are in the middle of a 5-game home stand, but lost their first 2 games to Tampa Bay and San Jose. The big story for the Kings is that they are getting solid production from some of their young players. Tyler Toffoli has heated up, and has put up 8 goals and 13 points in 17 games. 21-year old Adrian Kempe has recorded 7 goals and 11 points in 16 games. The Kings have received strong goaltending from Jonathan Quick, and it gives them a chance to win every game.
4. Toronto Maple Leafs (12-7-0) – No Matthews, no problem. The Leafs are winners of 4 straight games, despite not having Auston Matthews in their lineup for the last 3 games. The Leafs defeated the Boston Bruins over the weekend in a home-and-home series. The Leafs are rolling, but there is still no timetable for Matthews’ return. They have 2 games this week, as they face New Jersey at home, and Montreal on the road.
5. New Jersey Devils (11-4-2) – The Devils are winners of 2 straight games, and have an impressive 6-1-1 road record. 2017 #1 overall pick Nico Hischier has heated up and has put up 14 points in 17 games. Rookie Jesper Bratt has 13 points in 17 games. The Devils are 3 points ahead of Columbus and Washington in the Metropolitan Division standings. They have a 3-game road trip coming up, as they make stops in Toronto, Winnipeg, and Minnesota.
6. Vegas Golden Knights (10-5-1) – The Golden Knights recently went 1-4-1 on their five-game Eastern road trip. They bounced back from the road trip, and defeated Winnipeg 5-2 on Friday night. David Perron has heated up for the Knights, and now leads the team with 14 points. The Knights will continue on the road for 2 more games, and will return back home to face the Kings on Sunday.
7. Winnipeg Jets (9-4-3) – The Jets are now up in the rankings. Blake Wheeler is one of the NHL’s top point producers with 23 points. Mark Scheifele has recorded 21 points this season. The Jets have recorded points in 9 of their last 10 games. While questions remain in goal, Connor Hellebuyck has shown good spurts for the Jets in goal. The Jets are a big team with a big defensive group, which should bode well for them in the long run.
8. Columbus Blue Jackets (10-7-1) – The Jackets did not have the best week last week, but are still hanging around in the Metropolitan Division race. 22-year old Oliver Bjorkstrand has been the story around Columbus, as he has put up 11 points, which is 3rd best on the team behind Artemi Panarin and Seth Jones. The Jackets have a quality young group of players, and a goaltender with Sergei Bobrovsky who gives them a chance to win every game. The Jackets play on the road in Montreal on Tuesday, and have a tough home game on Friday when the surging New York Rangers come to town.
9. Pittsburgh Penguins (9-7-3) – The Penguins have been on the road a lot, and have not had much of a chance to play at home where they have been outstanding. Phil Kessel leads the club in scoring with 22 points. The most noticeable statistic with the Penguins this year is that Sidney Crosby has a -14 rating. The Penguins are still trying to find their identity this year, but this group is still deep and is still a Stanley Cup contender.
10. Washington Capitals (10-7-1) – The Capitals are back up in the rankings for the first time in a while. The Capitals had a solid week, as they knocked off Arizona, Pittsburgh, and Edmonton. The Capitals are getting healthy, as Brett Connolly returned to their lineup on Sunday night against Edmonton. It appears that Matt Niskanen is close to returning, which should help their blueline tremendously. The Capitals have had their good and bad games, but they are still hanging around in the Metropolitan Division race.
By: George Foussekis