Sunday, October 23, 2011

NHL Power Rankings - Week of October 23rd, 2011

Welcome to DGA's Week 2 NHL Power Rankings.  There is a new #1 after Saturday night's lopsided battle of undefeated teams.  There's also a new #30.  Awesome.  For a complete list of all 30 NHL teams and their records, click here.

1. Washington Capitals (+2) - Tomas Vokoun has stepped up big-time for the Caps of late.  Then again, even Vesa Toskala could probably win a game when the Caps put up 7 against Detroit.

2. Pittsburgh Penguins (--) - James Neal has taken the NHL by storm this season.  If he started shooting from areas other than the goal line, he could do even better.

3. Colorado Avalanche (+3) - The Avs are turning into road warriors this season, having won their sixth game in six tries away from home last night.  What would help them at home is if their goal horn didn't sound like a dying cow.

4. Los Angeles Kings (+7) - L.A. is coming off a 4-0-0 week, including three straight shutouts by Jonathan Quick, however Drew Doughty has just one assist in four games this season.  Whoever decided it was a good idea to give him such a big contract should learn some lessons about signing superstars...

5. Dallas Stars (+3) - Dallas is off to a strong start this season, just like last season.  Also like last season, they're led by the best forward the media thinks you've never heard of...even thought you've heard of Loui Eriksson.

6. Detroit Red Wings (-5) - In hindsight, starting their backup goalie in Washington after starting Howard against Columbus wasn't really the best idea...

7. Toronto Maple Leafs (--) - Mikhail Grabovski scored a pretty overtime goal in Montreal last night, but then again, Habs players are essentially traffic cones right now, in terms of movement and size.

8. Chicago Blackhawks (+8) - Chicago looks to be on its way to a rebound season after a first round exit from last year's playoffs.  Something else to note: last time Ray Emery was in the NHL, his team lost to Chicago in the Cup Finals.  I don't think Chicago will lose to Chicago this year, though.

9. San Jose Sharks (+15) - Joe Thornton played his 1,000th regular season NHL game this week.  It's important to note that it was in fact regular season, because even though his stat-card says he's played in 109 playoff games, you have to wonder if he's actually showed up for any of them.

10. Buffalo Sabres (-1) - Has anyone stopped to think about what would happen to Rick Jeanneret if the Buffalo Sabres were to win the Stanley Cup?

11. Vancouver Canucks (+6) - Ryan Kesler's return to the lineup against the Rangers this past week didn't pay off immediately, partially because Henrik Lundqvist was so busy stopping everything including the post-game riots.  The Canucks have won two straight since then.

12. Philadelphia Flyers (-8) - The Flyers dropped their first two games of the season this week, but at least they've got their number one goaltender playing well, he is playing...

13. Florida Panthers (+7) - The Panthers players might want to cancel their vacation plans for late April and could be to spend more time in Miami instead.

14. St. Louis Blues (+8) - Jason Arnott continues to work wonders for the Blues, which begs the question: how much longer will he last in St. Louis before Lou Lamoriello gets him back?

15. Tampa Bay Lightning (+8) - Tampa has only allowed one goal over its last two games after allowing 25 goals in their first give games.  The general feeling in Tampa Bay right now is that less is more, at least when talking to Martin St. Louis.

16. Edmonton Oilers (+5) - Ryan Nugent-Hopkins won't be returned to Juniors this season.  The bad news is that this means the Oilers are a better team, and thus won't have a legitimate shot at landing their third straight first overall pick this coming June.

17. Anaheim Ducks (-5) - The Ducks' big three are "saving it" for the playoffs.  How they're planning to get to the playoffs may become a bit of a problem.

18. Boston Bruins (-5) - Bruins fans were thanking Phil Kessel for indirectly giving their team Tyler Seguin, but Kessel has scored more than Seguin and his team is better than Seguin's at the moment.  I guess in Boston's twisted way of looking at things, they are better right now.

19. New York Islanders (-14) - Planet Earth welcomed back John Tavares this week, as the Isles look more like the Isles we've come to know recently.

20. New Jersey Devils (-10) - Down Zajac and Josefson, the Devils will spend Monday holding auditions to find another center.  Any fan who owns a jersey is invited.

21. Minnesota Wild (-7) - The Wild really need to work on protecting leads with 0.5 seconds to go in the 3rd period.  Teaching Dany Heatley to not act like a goat in overtime would help too.

22. Carolina Hurricanes (-3) - Blowing a 2-0 lead by allowing five straight goals to Winnipeg really hurt them.  The fact that Brian Boucher was their goaltender makes it far more understandable, though.

23. Nashville Predators (-8) - Pekka Rinne allowed four goals in one period to Vancouver, but he did shut out the Calgary Flames.  I'm not sure which performance was more impressive, honestly.

24. Winnipeg Jets (+6) - The Jets have been playing better recently.  It must be the lovely buffet Kyle Wellwood keeps taking his team to after each win.

25. New York Rangers (+2) - In short, Henrik Lundqvist is the difference between the Rangers having a single point this season in the NHL and being demoted to the AHL.

26. Ottawa Senators (+2) - If Ottawa's impressive come-from-behind victory last night had been against any team other than Columbus, it might actually cause people to take the Sens slightly more seriously.

27. Phoenix Coyotes (-9) - I think it's safe to say Phoenix probably shouldn't have drafted Kyle Turris third overall in 2007.

28. Montreal Canadiens (-3) - The highlight of the week for the Habs: Brian Gionta injuring James Reimer.  Well, that and Carey Price's apparent save in practice.

29. Calgary Flames (-3) - The Flames weren't awful this week, but expecting them to hold on and have a good year is like expecting Matt Cooke to not end at least one player's career this season: it just won't happen.

30. Columbus Blue Jackets (-1) - Blowing a lead and losing in regulation by allowing two goals in the last 36 seconds of a game to Ottawa is a very clever way to continue their quest to Fail for Nail.