NHL Power Rankings: Sharks jump Blackhawks, Blues ahead of Ducks

Tomas Hertl Sharks
Tomas Hertl and the San Jose Sharks leap ahead of the Blackhawks in this week’s Power Rankings. Credit: Getty Images

Records through Dec. 4

1) San Jose Sharks (19-3-5; last week-5) – This placement might come as a surprise but the Sharks have won their last six games in a row. Chicago has one more points (44) than San Jose but the Sharks have played two less games, so they get the nod here. There is plenty to like about the Sharks, who lead the NHL with a goal-differential of plus-34 and are 10-1-2 at the SAP Center (yes, that’s what it’s really called).

2) Chicago Blackhawks (20-5-4; last week-1) – Through no fault of their own (7-3-0 in their last 10 games), the Blackhawks dropped one spot but they should get over it. Chicago is an NHL-best 11-3-1 on the road and the ‘Hawks have scored by far the most goals in the league (105). Back-to-back games Thursday at Minnesota, then hosting Anaheim on Friday should be a nice test heading into the weekend.

3) St. Louis Blues (18-5-3; last week-2) – The Blues have lost their last two games but that should only be a minor set-back for a team with the second-best goal-differential in the NHL (plus-31). The Blues are 11-1-2 at the Scottrade Center and three of their next four games are there so expect them to bounce back shortly. You have to feel for the poor Islanders who are walking into a very tough game in St. Louis Thursday.

4) Anaheim Ducks (18-7-5; last week-6) – The Ducks have stubbed their toe the last few weeks (3-3-4 in their last 10 games). They still haven’t lost in regulation at the Honda Center (10-0-2) but they are a troubling 8-7-3 away from home. You won’t find a harder task than Anaheim’s next two games: at Chicago on Friday, then at St. Louis the next night.

5) Colorado Avalanche (19-6-0; last week-4) – The Avalanche have won their past two games after suffering through a predictable letdown from their dream start. Colorado still leads the NHL in fewest goals allowed (52), which is nearly half of Edmonton (101), which has given up the most. Speaking of the Oilers, the Avalanche (9-2-0 on the road) kick off a three-game road trip with a visit to Edmonton Thursday.

6) Los Angeles Kings (18-7-4; last week-8) – It’s a good time to be the Kings after rookie goaltender Martin Jones made his NHL debut on Tuesday night and helped Los Angeles beat Anaheim, 3-2, in a nine-round shootout. Jonathan Quick’s injury has unlocked more goaltending depth than anyone associated with the Kings could have reasonably expected. LA is 6-1-3 in its last 10 games and the Kings host the hopeless Islanders on Saturday before leaving on a four-game road trip through Canada and Chicago.

7) Boston Bruins (18-7-2; last week 6) – The Bruins are still the top team in the Eastern Conference since they have played two less games than the Penguins and only have one less point (38). After its first lengthy break in weeks, Boston visits Montreal on Thursday – the first meeting of the rivalry in 2013-14 – then hosts Pittsburgh on Saturday and then back on the road to Toronto on Sunday night. In terms of facing clubs in the East, you won’t find a much harder three-game stretch than that.

8) Pittsburgh Penguins (19-9-1; last week-10) – Here come the Penguins who have won their last four games and are 7-2-1 in their last 10 games. Pittsburgh vaulted ahead of Boston for first-place in the East, helped out by their conference-leading goal-differential (plus-23). We take Sidney Crosby for granted sometimes but performances like Tuesday – where he scored the tying goal in the third period, then game-winner in overtime – remind us how special he is in the NHL.

9) Minnesota Wild (16-8-5; last week-7) – Minnesota was fading a bit but it picked up a big 2-0 win vs. Philadelphia on Tuesday. Josh Harding made 21 saves for the shutout and the Wild will need more great outings like that from him. They have scored the second fewest goals in the West (70) and their goal-differential is only plus-3.

10) Montreal Canadiens (16-9-3; last week-13) – The Canadiens are one of the hottest teams in the NHL as they are 7-1-2 in their last 10 games. No doubt goaltender Carey Price (12-8-2, .937 save percentage, 2.00 goals against average) has been motivated by talk of him being Canada’s starter in the Olympics. He’s won his last five starts and should have some marquee games vs. Boston on Thursday and Los Angeles on Tuesday on his home ice.

11) Phoenix Coyotes (16-7-4; last week-9) – The Coyotes have dropped back a bit in the Western Conference and these world famous power rankings. Still, they kick-started a big four-game road trip with a 6-2 win at Edmonton on Tuesday. At Calgary Wednesday is a very winnable game even in a back-to-back, but at Vancouver on Friday and at Colorado on Tuesday will be tough for a squad that is only 7-5-2 on the road this season.

12) Detroit Red Wings (14-7-7; last week-12) – Reports of Detroit’s demise were largely overblown for the NHL’s most consistent franchise of the last decade (think the Spurs in the NBA, Cardinals in MLB or Patriots in the NFL). They have won their last four games in a row, which is particularly impressive since Pavel Datsyuk (concussion) and Henrik Zetterberg (herniated disk) have been out with injuries. Single games in the NHL regular season can be mostly devoid of much meaning, but Detroit’s 6-1 beatdown of Boston the night before Thanksgiving was something else.

13) Vancouver Canucks (15-10-5; last week-14) – The Canucks have won their last two games despite the fact that they lost Alex Burrows to a broken jaw. It’s hard to explain how John Tortorella’s team is 10-5-2 on the road but only 5-5-2 at Rogers Arena. Ryan Kesler (14 goals) had two goals in Tuesday’s 3-1 road win at Nashville which has to make Team USA officials smile.


14) Tampa Bay Lightning
(16-10-1; last week-12) – The Lightning have lost their last two games and they are only 4-5-1 in their last 10 games. On the bright side, by playing in the sub-par Eastern Conference they should still make the playoffs. Tampa Bay is 10-3-1 at the Tampa Bay Times Forum and their next two games are there against non-playoff teams: Thursday vs. Ottawa and Saturday vs. Winnipeg.

15) Washington Capitals (14-12-2; last week-15) – There aren’t many better options here. The Caps have scored the second most goals in the East (83) but their goal-differential is only plus-1. Michal Neuvirth hurt his leg in warm-ups on Saturday and was placed on IR, the earliest he can return is Saturday vs. Montreal.

16) Toronto Maple Leafs (12-10-2; last week-11) – No team (except maybe Tampa Bay, but they have a valid excuse without Steven Stamkos) is free-falling faster than the Leafs, who have lost their last five games in a row. The Maple Leafs’ last win was a 2-1 shootout triumph over Washington on Nov. 23. Three of their next four games are at Air Canada Centre, where they are 9-5-0.

17) Dallas Stars (13-9-4; last week-17) – Tyler Seguin is out with a concussion but the Stars continue to tread water in the best division in the NHL – the Central where all seven teams are currently over .500. Dallas is 5-3-2 in its last 10 games and they picked up a crazy 4-3 win in Chicago on Tuesday. Kari Lehtonen made 47 saves but that wasn’t even the most memorable thing since the clinching goal came on Antoine Roussel’s penalty shot in the third period.

18) Winnipeg Jets
(13-12-4; last week-not ranked) – The Jets are 5-3-2 in their last 10 games and their 5-2 win at the Rangers on Monday was very solid. Winnipeg should enjoy a trip out of the cold to Florida on Thursday and Tampa Bay this Saturday. It’s sure to be another long winter in Winnipeg.

19) Nashville Predators(13-12-3; last week-19) – The Predators would be in second place if they were in the Metropolitan Division, instead of seventh (last place) in the Central. Nashville is 0-3 in shootouts and if it wants any prayer at making the postseason that has to get better. The Predators host Carolina Thursday before two winnable road games: at Capitals on Saturday and at Rangers on Tuesday.

20) New York Rangers (14-14-0; last week-16) – More than a quarter through the season, the Rangers have been one of the more underachieving teams given their talent. They extended goaltender Henrik Lundqvist’s contract for seven more years and $59.5 million Wednesday. The interesting part is that lately he was benched for Cam Talbot and Lundqvist isn’t getting any younger (32 in March).

Follow Metro sports writer Richard Slate on Twitter: @RichSlate



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Brooklyn man charged in roommate's stabbing death

A Brooklyn man accused of violently stabbing his roommate to death on Monday is in police custody and faces murder charges.

International

Dinosaurs could have survived asteroid strike

It turns out there is a good and a bad time for the planet to be hit by a meteor, and dinosaurs were just unlucky.…

National

OkCupid admits to Facebook-style experimenting on customers

By Sarah McBrideSAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - OkCupid, a top U.S. matchmaking website, intentionally mismatched users to test its technology, the IAC/InterActive Corp service said on…

Local

MTA fares still increasing 4 percent in newly…

The agency said the 4 percent increases, previously announced in December, will remain steady even as the MTA deals with increasing labor costs.

Movies

Interview: Brendan Gleeson on the way 'Calvary' depicts…

Brendan Gleeson talks about how his new film "Calvary" began over drinks and how his character here is the opposite of the lead in "The Guard."

Movies

'Get on Up' producer Mick Jagger on the…

Mick Jagger, a producer on the James Brown biopic "Get on Up," talks about the time had to tell the singer some bad news and his favorite JB record.

Television

'Glee' star Lea Michele to appear on 'Sons…

"Glee" star Lea Michele has been confirmed as a guest star in the final season of "Sons of Anarchy."

Television

TV watch list, Monday, July 28: 'The Bachelorette'…

See Andi Dorfman make her big choice on tonight's 'Bachelorette' finale.

MLB

Angelo Cataldi: Ryan Howard deserves better from Phillies

Just last week, Ryan Howard endured the embarrassment of a benching that was inevitable, and yet still shocking.

NFL

Larry Donnell has inside track in Giants tight…

Little-known Larry Donnell of Grambling State currently has the inside track, as the second-year player has received the bulk of the first-team reps.

NFL

Computer to Jets: Start Michael Vick over Geno…

Jets general manager John Idzik says the choice of who starts between second-year quarterback Geno Smith and veteran Michael Vick will be a “Jets decision.”

MLB

Yankees looking to trade for Josh Willingham: Report

CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reported Sunday the Yankees are interested in Twins outfielder Josh Willingham.

Travel

Glasgow: Hey, hey, the gangs aren't here

This European city has done a good job getting rid of its more violent residents and revitalizing with artists.

Education

Babson College tops list of best colleges for…

Money magazine has just released its inaugural list of "The Best Colleges for Your Money" -- and the answers have surprised many. Babson College, which…

Education

NYC teens learn how to develop apps during…

Through a program sponsored by CampInteractive, the high schoolers designed their own community-focused apps.

Tech

The Ministry of Silly Walks app is both…

Monty Python have dug into their back catalogue for cash-ins once more, but with the Ministry of Silly Walks app, they've made something that's fun too.