The NHL regular season is cruising right along through the cold, snowy holiday season. The Lightning and Blues have been the strongest teams from the start of the season, but the Kings are the NHL’s hottest team as they have won 8 straight games. How do the new power rankings look this week?
Let’s dive in to this week’s top 10:
1. TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING (1)
2. LOS ANGELES KINGS (2)
3. ST. LOUIS BLUES (3)
4. NASHVILLE PREDATORS (8)
5. TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS (5)
6. WINNIPEG JETS (4)
7. VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS (9)
8. COLUMBUS BLUE JACKETS (6)
9. WASHINGTON CAPITALS (NR)
10. NEW JERSEY DEVILS (7)
Note: These rankings will change every week
*(#) indicates last week’s ranking
*”NR” indicates “Not Ranked”
THOUGHTS ON THIS WEEK’S TOP 10
–Let’s begin with the Los Angeles Kings – the hottest team in the NHL. The Kings have equal wins on the road and at home with 10 each way. They have only allowed 68 goals in 31 games played. That equals a little over 2 goals given up per game. This team is built around its defense and goaltending. The Kings are in the NHL’s top 5 in the hits category and have been a physical team for a long time. Anze Kopitar is having a rebound year, even without Jeff Carter in their lineup for a lengthy period. He is in the top 5 in the NHL scoring race. Goaltender Jonathan Quick has an outstanding .930 save percentage this year. Good goaltending and defense will take this team a long way. They are on their way to winning the Pacific Division if they sustain their current winning ways.
-The Winnipeg Jets are quietly generating lots of offense this year. The Jets have 4 skaters that already have 10+ goals. Patrik Laine has really heated up over his last few games. He has 4 goals and 9 points in his last 5 games. Laine is one of the NHL’s top shooters and has a very strong shot. Blake Wheeler is near the top of the NHL’s scoring race, which is also good news for the Jets. The active crowd in Winnipeg has a lot to cheer for this year, and this young Jets team really feeds off of their home fans.
-It was good to see Malcom Subban get back-to-back shootout wins last week for the Golden Knights. Subban is having a strong start to his career, even after battling through some injuries this year. Subban has 7 wins in his first 9 starts with the Golden Knights. Some more good news for the Knights is that Marc-Andre Fleury is back in the fold for them. He is expected to start in goal for the Golden Knights on Tuesday evening against the Carolina Hurricanes.
-The Washington Capitals are back in the top 10 this week. The Capitals have won 4 in a row, and 8 out of their last 10 games. Their recent winning ways have propelled them back to 2nd in the Metropolitan Division race. They recently got Andre Burakovsky back in their lineup, but will be without T.J. Oshie for a little while longer. The Capitals have received excellent play from Braden Holtby during their winning streak, and Alex Ovechkin continues to lead the NHL goal scoring race. This Capitals team is still dangerous, even after many losses to their roster throughout last offseason.
By: George Foussekis