NHL Power Rankings
by Joe Paciella - 11/30/2007
We see a new leader in the NHL power rankings this week, as Detroit has taken over the top spot due to an Ottawa mini-collapse. We also have a new addition to the top five in Vancouver, as Roberto Luongo has found his groove and is stopping any and all pucks that come his way. Here's a look at how the new rankings shake out…
1. Detroit Red Wings (36 pts.) - Chris Osgood has been great, boasting a league leading goals against average of 1.78 and gathering 12 wins in the process. And with Ottawa's recent slip, the Wings are the NHL's best.
2. Ottawa Senators (34 pts.) - The Sens have definitely cooled off as of late (3-5-2 in their last 10), but their explosive start still has them on top of the East.
3. New York Rangers (30 pts.) - A weak power play (only five power play goals in their 11 combined losses) is keeping New York from sitting atop the NHL. But a good win against their rival Islanders may be just the spark that they need.
4. Philadelphia Flyers (30 pts.) - The acquisition of Daniel Briere has helped out Philly immensely in the standings. The former Sabre is leading the team in points and is on pace for a 100 point season.
5. Vancouver Canucks (30 pts.) - Roberto Luongo has come on as of late, giving up over two goals only twice in the month of November. As a result of his 1.56 goals against average in the month, the Canucks are back atop the Northwest Division.
6. Dallas Stars (30 pts.) - Dallas piled up some wins before they hit the road, and had won six straight before their most recent loss at New Jersey.
7. Montreal Canadians (29 pts.) - If you've taken Montreal on the money line all season, good for you. As one of the surprise teams in the NHL, the Habs are doing it on the power play, as more than half of their goals have come by way of the extra attacker.
8. Carolina Hurricanes (29 pts.) - Six of the top 41 scorers in the NHL are Hurricanes, which means their offense is balanced. Trying to shut down one or two of them will only open up opportunities for the rest. Good luck if your team draws them in the first round of the playoffs this season.
9. St. Louis Blues (28 pts.) - A win against the Red Wings in mid-November has jump-started the Blues to a 7-1-0 record since then. Allowing the fewest goals in the NHL along with the Rangers (49) has also gotten them back into the race.
10. Chicago Blackhawks (28 pts.) - As another surprise team, Chicago is tied for second in the Central Division, and as a result is in playoff contention. They only have three outright losses in November and are an astounding 16-8 ATS on the season.
11. Boston Bruins (28 pts.) - Seven wins at home at this juncture in the season isn't bad for a Bruins team that was picked to finish towards the bottom of the league. This current six-game road trip may be enough to derail the Boston train though, if they're not careful.
12. Anaheim Ducks (28 pts.) - The Ducks are having a difficult time lighting the lamp. They are in the bottom half of total goals scored in the league, rank almost dead last on the power play and in their ten regulation losses have only scored a combined nine goals. Yes, you read that right. Nine.
13. Minnesota Wild (28 pts.) - Niklas Backstrom's efforts this season have been fairly good. As a replacement for the departed Manny Fernandez, Backstrom has already achieved almost half his win total of last season, and is giving up only 2.32 goals per game.
14. Colorado Avalanche (27 pts.) - Colorado began the season as one of the league's best, but a recent rash of losses has the Avs dropping into the middle of the pack. They are also a dismal 9-14 ATS.
15. New York Islanders (27 pts.) - New York is a mere 12-11 ATS this season, but they are 7-4 against teams from the Atlantic Division. That edge will be very important moving closer to playoff seeding time.
16. Columbus Blue Jackets (26 pts.) - Goaltender Pascal Leclaire has shutout more teams than the 1985 Bears (six total) and as a result has the Blue Jackets right in the thick of the playoff hunt.
17. San Jose Sharks (26 pts.) - December may be a favorable month for San Jose. They play eight games away from the Shark Tank, which suits the league's best road team nicely.
18. Nashville Predators (26 pts.) - Nashville is only one point out of a playoff spot and only had two regulation losses in November. If they can keep up their solid play in their own division, they could continue to make a postseason push.
19. New Jersey Devils (26 pts.) - After starting the season on a nine-game road trip, the Devils have played seven more games away from the swamps of Jersey for a total of 16. That's a brutal stretch, but they have handled it fairly well, winning eight times and mustering 18 points in the standings from those games.
20. Florida Panthers (25 pts.) - The Panthers have won five out of their last seven and currently sit only one point out of the last playoff spot. They are turning into one of the hottest professional franchises in one of the hottest states. Go figure.
21. Toronto Maple Leafs (24 pts.) - The good news for the Leafs is that they still get a point when they lose in overtime. The bad news is they have a 1-6 record when extra time is needed.
22. Buffalo Sabres (23 pts.) - Running off a five game winning streak has gotten Buffalo out of the cellar and back to the muddled mess currently chasing the final playoff spot.
23. Calgary Flames (23 pts.) - Jarome Iginla leads one of the best offenses in the league, but a horrible defense is letting too many pucks in for the Flames to be serious contenders. They will need to shore up that part of their game like the rest of the contending teams in the West if they are going to mount a charge.
24. Atlanta Thrashers (22 pts.) - Atlanta has really tightened up their defense in their wins (eight goals allowed in their last six wins), and have started to creep back into playoff contention.
25. Phoenix Coyotes (22 pts.) - The Coyotes still haven't figured out the balance needed for winning games in the NHL. In their five regulation wins in November, they are scoring an average of four goals a game, but less than a goal a game in their five regulation losses in the same month.
26. Tampa Bay Lightning (22 pts.) - Vincent Lecavalier is doing just about all he can for his club. Unfortunately for the fans of Tampa, the rest of the club has a long way to go if they are to get into serious title contention.
27. Pittsburgh Penguins (22 pts.) - The Penguins have been horrible in their own division, only winning three times out of 11 games thus far. If this trend continues, the Pirates may end up with a better divisional winning percentage this season.
28. Los Angeles Kings (21 pts.) - Los Angeles has crashed down after a fairly good start. It doesn't help when your leading point scorer is tied for 46th on the league's point scoring list. They don't have all that many cupcakes in early December, so they better get it figured out fast, or their season could be over soon.
29. Edmonton Oilers (21 pts.) - Edmonton may be looking for some oil to fuel their sputtering offense, and a power play that ranks dead last in the league. If this team can't score, they will have no chance.
30. Washington Capitals (18 pts.) - 11 total losses in the month of November have the Caps looking forward to next season before the holidays are even here.