The weekly NoVa Caps team power rankings continue this week as we approach Thanksgiving. As Thanksgiving approaches, the Tampa Bay Lightning are leading the pack as they have won 15 out of their first 20 games. Even though Tampa has been at the top for a while, the rankings continue to change every week. 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 (2)
3. TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS (4)
4. LOS ANGELES KINGS (3)
5. WINNIPEG JETS (7)
6. VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS (6)
7. NEW JERSEY DEVILS (5)
8. COLUMBUS BLUE JACKETS (8)
9. NASHVILLE PREDATORS (NR)
10. NEW YORK ISLANDERS (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 (15-3-2) – The Lightning had a short week with only 2 home games. They gave the Dallas Stars a 6-1 beatdown on Thursday, but lost to the Islanders in regulation on Saturday. While Nikita Kucherov and Steven Stamkos continue to tear up the points race, the Lightning only have 1 regulation loss on the road through this week. The Lightning are rolling through their schedule right now, and have quality wins under their belt against teams like Los Angeles and St. Louis. This Lightning team is good, and looks like a lock for the Stanley Cup playoffs.
2. St. Louis Blues (15-5-1) – The Blues traveled to Western Canada last week, and won 2 out of 3 games. The Blues lead all Western Conference clubs with a team high +15 goal differential. Brayden Schenn and Jaden Schwartz both lead the Blues with 26 points in 21 games. The Blues blueline is showing a lot of promise this year, as young blueliners Colton Parayko, Vince Dunn, and Joel Edmundson are playing big roles for the team this year. A deep blueline will carry the Blues a long way.
3. Toronto Maple Leafs (14-7-0) – The Leafs are finally on a roll, as they have won 6 in a row. The Leafs are 8-3 in front of their home crowd so far. The Leafs have 3 players that have at least 10 goals or more already – James van Riemsdyk, Nazem Kadri, and Auston Matthews. Morgan Reilly is giving the Leafs production from the blueline, as he has 17 points in 21 games. The Leafs are starting to heat up, and they only have 1 fewer win than Tampa Bay. The Leafs are well coached under Mike Babcock, and if there is one team that will challenge the Lightning for the Atlantic Division, it is the Leafs.
4. Los Angeles Kings (12-7-2) – The Kings are reeling right now. They have only won 3 out of their last 10 games. Even with their recent struggles, they still lead the Pacific Division by 1 point. Anze Kopitar and Dustin Brown are having bounceback seasons, as they are leading the club in points. The Kings had a tough homestand last week, and dropped their first game in Las Vegas over the weekend. The Kings are struggling to find offense, which has been a problem for them over the past few years.
5. Winnipeg Jets (12-4-3) – The Jets have won 4 straight and 8 out of their last 10 games. Blake Wheeler leads the Jets with 25 points, 20 of those points are assists. The Jets are finally getting some consistent goaltending with Connor Hellebuyck as their starter. Hellebuyck has recorded 11 wins, a 2.27 goals against average, and .931 save percentage. Goaltending has haunted the Jets for some time, but if this Jets team can get more consistency in net more often, they should get over the hump and back into the playoffs.
6. Vegas Golden Knights (12-6-1) – Vegas may have one of the best home ice advantages in the NHL. The Golden Knights are still doing remarkable things on home ice, as they only have 1 regulation loss to date. The Golden Knights have 2 straight wins. They will play 2 out of 3 on the road this week against divisional opponents. William Karlsson has heated up for the Knights, as he has 9 goals and 16 points.
7. New Jersey Devils (11-5-3) – The Devils have lost a little bit of steam, as they only have 4 wins in their last 10 games. The Devils had 2 tough losses to the Leafs and Jets this past week, but they recorded a huge win over the Chicago Blackhawks. The Devils have a busy week this week with 4 games on their schedule. Taylor Hall leads the Devils with 20 points in 19 games.
8. Columbus Blue Jackets (12-7-1) – The Jackets are finally starting to get on a little roll, as they have won 3 straight games. They defeated the Canadiens and Rangers last week in close games. Sergei Bobrovsky continues to give the Blue Jackets excellent goaltending. He has recorded 11 wins, a 2.02 goals against average, and .933 save percentage. He has 2 shutouts on the season. If Bobrovsky continues his excellent goaltending, the Jackets will hang around in the Metropolitan Division picture.
9. Nashville Predators (11-6-2) – The Predators are heating up. They have won 7 out of their last 10 games. They won 2 out of 3 games this week, as they defeated the Capitals and Avalanche. They have a tough 4 game test this week, as they have to face Winnipeg at home and St. Louis on the road. There is some good news for the Predators, as defenseman Ryan Ellis is back on the ice and skating. There is no set date for his return, but he will most likely get back into the lineup right around December.
10. New York Islanders (11-7-2) – The Islanders are back in the rankings for the first time in weeks. They have won 6 out of their last 10 games, and are creeping back up in the Metropolitan Division race. John Tavares and Josh Bailey lead the club with 23 points. Matthew Barzal is an impressive young player for the Islanders. He has 19 points in 20 games. The Islanders are a competitive young team, and with the Metropolitan Division race up in the air right now, are on the right track to get back into the playoffs.
By: George Foussekis