NHL Power Rankings
by Nicholas Tolomeo - 03/11/2009
Trade deadline deals or lack of deals are making a difference now as teams are surging to sneak into the top eight in their conference while others are fading out of contention. The top of the Power Rankings has a new occupant besides the Sharks or Bruins for the first time this season. The Detroit Red Wings, the defending Stanley Cup champions, are now No. 1 and catching fire at just the right time. The Pittsburgh Penguins, who fell to the Red Wings in the Stanley Cup last season, have rejoined the Top 10 this week.
Stanley Cup Odds provided by Bodog.
1) Detroit Red Wings Previous Ranking: 3 Stanley Cup Odds: 10/3
The Red Wings have used a 7-3 stretch of games to join the San Jose Sharks atop the Western Conference. Detroit's 247 goals scored are still by far the most in the entire NHL.
2) San Jose Sharks Previous Ranking: 1 Stanley Cup Odds: 3/1
The Sharks have company atop the standings in the West and a lot of that can be attributed to the Red Wings 4-1 thrashing of the Sharks in late February. It was the last regular season meeting between the two teams, the next meeting may be in the Western Conference Finals.
3) New Jersey Devils Previous Ranking: 4 Stanley Cup Odds: 7/1
Does anybody want to play the Devils right now? Winning seven of their last 10 and with Martin Brodeur back in net the Devils are the most dangerous team in the Eastern Conference.
4) Boston Bruins Previous Ranking: 2 Stanley Cup Odds: 6/1
While the Devils may be the hottest team in the East, no pun intended, the Bruins are still the top dogs and by far the best defense. Through 68 games the Bruins are 43-16-9, which is an incredibly impressive record. What really sticks out is the 157 goals allowed, best in the NHL.
5) Washington Capitals Previous Ranking: 5 Stanley Cup Odds: 9/1
Once unbeatable at home, the Capitals have started to struggle in the Verizon Center. The No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference is well within reach (they trailed the Devils by one point through 68 games) but they will need to take care of business on their home ice to capture it.
6) Pittsburgh Penguins Previous Ranking: 16 Stanley Cup Odds: 20/1
Under new coach Dan Bylsma the Penguins have been basically unbeatable. Fresh off the greatest road trip in franchise history, posting a 5-0 record without Sidney Crosby's services for most of the games, the Penguins returned home to defeat the Florida Panthers in a critical win. Trade deadline pickups of Chris Kunitz and Bill Guerin have the Penguins looking like an Eastern Conference contender once again.
7) Philadelphia Flyers Previous Ranking: 10 Stanley Cup Odds: 15/1
If the Flyers turn around they will see all the middle-of-the-pack teams gaining ground quickly on them. The playoffs still seem like a certainty for the Flyers but they still need to do some work to keep home ice advantage.
8) Caroline Hurricanes Previous Ranking: 18 Stanley Cup Odds: 50/1
A four-game winning streak has the Hurricanes back in the top eight in the Eastern Conference but Carolina needs to up its game even more this week with looming clashes against the Devils, Stars, Capitals and Blackhawks.
9) Calgary Flames Previous Ranking: 7 Stanley Cup Odds: 14/1
Finally, a Western Conference team makes an appearance in the Power Rankings. There is a considerable drop after the Sharks and Red Wings but the Flames are still a legitimate division leader with a 39-22-6 record. A three-game losing streak has hurt, but the Flames have been playing without a host of forwards who are on injured reserve.
10) Vancouver Canucks Previous Ranking: 11 Stanley Cup Odds: 20/1
The Canucks have ridden an 8-2 record in their last 10 games to get within eight points of the Flames -- Vancouver has played two less games than their Canadian counterparts.
11) Chicago Blackhawks Previous Ranking: 6 Stanley Cup Odds: 14/1
The Blackhawks have had their struggles as of late but Chicago remains in the top four of the Western Conference and can secure home ice advantage with a strong finish.
12) Montreal Canadians Previous Ranking: 12 Stanley Cup Odds: 22/1
Only in the NHL can a team fire a coach this close to the post-season, a post-season his team is most likely going to make. Guy Carbonneau is out in Montreal and his former team has responded by winning back-to-back games.
13) Florida Panthers Previous Ranking: 9 Stanley Cup Odds: 40/1
Panthers are one of a jumble of teams on the playoff bubble and they have done nothing to separate themselves, going 5-4-1 over their last 10 while teams like the Penguins and Hurricanes have caught fire. Blowing a 3-1 lead on the road at Pittsburgh and eventually losing in a shootout may have a carryover effect for the remainder of the season for the young Panthers.
14) Columbus Blue Jackets Previous Ranking: 26 Stanley Cup Odds: 50/1
The Blue Jackets have been outscored this season, 186-185, through 67 games but seem to have a playoff spot secured with the sixth spot in the Western Conference and an easy schedule the rest of the way against mostly cellar dwellers.
15) Edmonton Oilers Previous Ranking: 17 Stanley Cup Odds: 50/1
The ageless wonder Dwayne Roloson has continued to play like a man much younger than 39 years old. He has a 2.77 GAA and is 23-17-7 while playing 49 games.
16) New York Rangers Previous Ranking: 8 Stanley Cup Odds: 40/1
The freefall the Rangers have been in for much of February and March has finally put them on the outside looking in. The Rangers are one point behind the Panthers and Hurricanes for the last spot in the playoffs in the Eastern Conference.
17) Buffalo Sabres Previous Ranking: 13 Stanley Cup Odds: 40/1
Buffalo is watching as its playoff hopes become more precarious. A pair of back-to-back losses has the Sabres in danger of joining the teams in the bottom of the pack in the Eastern Conference.
18) Nashville Predators Previous Ranking: 22 Stanley Cup Odds: 75/1
Not a good time to hit the road as the Predators' season nears a critical stretch. After a home game against the Rangers, Nashville embarks on a four-game road trip as it hangs onto a playoff spot by one point with the Wild and Stars both within a point.
19) Dallas Stars Previous Ranking: 14 Stanley Cup Odds: 40/1
Speaking of the Stars, a recent 2-7-1 stretch has them outside of the top eight once again. It has been an up-and-down season for the Stars and they need to snap out of this funk quickly to get back in the race.
20) Minnesota Wild Previous Ranking: 20 Stanley Cup Odds: 50/1
Minnesota is 14-17 on the road so things are not looking good for the Wild as only four of their 11 games left in March are at home. The Wild are one point outside of the top eight through 66 games.
21) Anaheim Ducks Previous Ranking: 19 Stanley Cup Odds: 50/1
A three-game losing streak could not have come at a worse time for the Ducks who are now nearing the bottom of the pack in the Western Conference. Good news for this team though: the bottom of the pack and middle of the pack in the West continue to be hard to tell apart.
22) Los Angeles Kings Previous Ranking: 21 Stanley Cup Odds: 150/1
A three-game winning streak could not have come at a better time for the Kings who have now joined the Ducks, Blues, Stars and Wild in the hunt for that last playoff spot.
23) Ottawa Senators Previous Ranking: 28 Stanley Cup Odds: 400/1
The harsh cold reality of missing the postseason is starting to set in for the Senators. Still, it has not stopped them from stringing together three-straight wins. Unfortunately it's too little, too late.
24) St. Louis Blues Previous Ranking: 24 Stanley Cup Odds: 150/1
Brad Boyes (27 goals, 29 assists) and David Backes (22 goals, 18 assists) continue to be two of the most unheralded playmakers in the NHL. More importantly for St. Louis, neither has missed a game yet this season and the Blues are within three points of a playoff spot.
25) Toronto Maple Leafs Previous Ranking: 23 Stanley Cup Odds: 300/1
Get the calculators out Maple Leaf fans, mathematical elimination is upon you. Ten points out of the race with only 15 games left, the Maple Leafs will be home for the postseason once again.
26) Phoenix Coyotes Previous Ranking: 25 Stanley Cup Odds: 350/1
Speaking of mathematically eliminated, a three-game losing streak has sealed the fate for the Coyotes in the 2008-09 campaign.
27) Colorado Avalanche Previous Ranking: 15 Stanley Cup Odds: 500/1
Oh my how the Avalanche have fallen, no pun intended. Despite Phoenix's struggles, Colorado has managed to take over the bottom spot in the Western Conference. They also dropped a season-high 12 spots in the Power Rankings.
28) Atlanta Thrashers Previous Ranking: 29 Stanley Cup Odds: 1000/1
Thrashers fans have to be asking where this has been all season. Since Feb. 28, Atlanta has defeated the Hurricanes, Canadians and Flames and is riding a three-game winning streak. The only thing those wins are doing are hurting Atlanta's NHL lottery odds.
29) New York Islanders Previous Ranking: 30 Stanley Cup Odds: 2000/1
The Islanders still boast the NHL's worst record but they are not worst in the Power Rankings.
30) Tampa Bay Lightning Previous Ranking: 27 Stanley Cup Odds: 1000/1
After a long hiatus, the Lightning returns to the basement of the Power Rankings. It is a shame that Gary Roberts had to announce his retirement while on a last place Tampa Bay team.