Thanksgiving has come and gone and now the NHL is heading into the holiday season. The standings are starting to take shape, as they contenders are slowly separating from the pretenders.
Which teams are in the NHL’s elite? Who are the top 10 teams in the league to this point?
Let’s look at the new power rankings this week:
1. TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING (1)
2. ST. LOUIS BLUES (2)
3. NEW JERSEY DEVILS (7)
4. VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS (6)
5. TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS (3)
6. COLUMBUS BLUE JACKETS (8)
7. WINNIPEG JETS (5)
8. NASHVILLE PREDATORS (9)
9. NEW YORK ISLANDERS (10)
10. LOS ANGELES KINGS (4)
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 (16-5-2) – The Lightning went 1-2 last week, as they lost to Washington and Pittsburgh. Steven Stamkos is still leading the entire league with 36 points. Nikita Kucherov is right behind him with 34 points. The Lightning have a dangerous offensive attack. They average 3.70 goals per game, which is tops in the NHL. They have 2 more road games this week, before they return back home for 4 straight games.
2. St. Louis Blues (17-6-1) – Jaden Schwartz is 4th in the NHL in scoring behind Steven Stamkos, Nikita Kucherov, and Johnny Gaudreau. The Blues began their 5-game homestand last week as they took 2 out of 3 games. The Blues will finish up their homestand against Anaheim and Los Angeles, before they embark on a short 2-game road trip. Jake Allen has recorded 13 wins for the Blues in goal, but he could probably improve his 2.75 goals against average. The Blues have a deep team, especially on the blueline, but they could improve their overall penalty kill as it is ranked 25th in the NHL.
3. New Jersey Devils (14-5-4) – The Devils had a good week, as they won 3 out of 4 games, and took points in all 4 games. Their next 3 games include matchups with Florida, Colorado, and Arizona. There is an opportunity for the Devils to string some more wins together with their upcoming short-term schedule. While Taylor Hall leads the club with 26 points, Brian Gibbons leads the club with 11 goals. The Devils are leading the Metropolitan Division race, but not by much. If they win their next few games, they could take control of the division.
4. Vegas Golden Knights (15-6-1) – The Golden Knights are hot, as they have won 5 straight games. Jonathan Marchessault has heated up, and earned the NHL’s 1st star of the week. He has 8 goals and 21 points for the Golden Knights, and is second on the club in points. The Golden Knights are 9-1 at home, which has been a huge difference in their season. Their next 3 games include matchups of teams from the Central Division.
5. Toronto Maple Leafs (15-9-1) – The Maple Leafs lost 3 out of 4 games last week, but took points in 2 of the games. Over the next week, the Leafs will travel to Western Canada for a 3-game road trip. Auston Matthews still leads the club with 23 points. The Maple Leafs have a balanced offensive attack, but they give up a ton of shots against. They give up 33.8 shots against per game, which is 5th most in the NHL. Their defensive game and goaltending needs some improvement as the season progresses.
6. Columbus Blue Jackets (15-7-1) – The Blue Jackets are finally starting to get into a groove. They have won their last 6 straight games, 4 of those games have been decided by 1 goal. Sergei Bobrovsky was named the NHL’s 2nd star of the week. Bobrovsky is giving the Jackets excellent goaltending. He has 14 wins, a 1.91 goals against average, and .936 save percentage. The Jackets have a busy week ahead, as they have 2 sets of back-to-back games.
7. Winnipeg Jets (14-6-3) – The Jets just finished up a 4-game road trip, and went 2-2 on the trip. 3 of their next 4 games are in front of their home crowd. Mark Scheifele and Blake Wheeler both lead the club with 25 points. Like the Maple Leafs, the Jets give up a lot of shots against. The Jets give up an average of 33.7 shots per game, which is 6th most in the NHL. It was announced that goaltender Steve Mason has a concussion, so the Jets have recalled Eric Comrie from the Manitoba Moose. There is no timetable for Mason’s return.
8. Nashville Predators (14-6-3) – The Predators have heated up over the past few weeks. They are 8-1-1 in their last 10 games, and have recorded an impressive 8-1-1 record in front of their home crowd. 5 out of their next 6 games are at home where they have performed well. Filip Forsberg has performed well for the Predators, as he leads the club with 24 points.
9. New York Islanders (14-7-2) – The Islanders are heating up, as they have won 3 straight games. They are the only team left in the NHL that does not have a regulation loss at home. Their record at home is 7-0-2. Josh Bailey is having an excellent season for the Islanders. He has 5 goals and 28 points in 23 games. The Islanders are starting to find their groove, but their goaltending will need to improve moving forward down the stretch.
10. Los Angeles Kings (13-8-3) – The Kings are starting to slip a little bit. They have won just 3 out of their last 10 games. They will now head east for 2 games, and then will face 2 Central Division teams on the road. The Kings offense has not been flying like it was earlier this season. Jonathan Quick is still playing well in goal, as he has recorded 10 wins, a 2.35 goals against average, and .928 save percentage.
By: George Foussekis