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NHL Power Rankings: Canadiens, Penguins, Blues in Top 10

Drayson Bowman and the Canadiens have jumped to the top of Metro's power rankings.Getty Images
  1. 1. Montreal Canadiens (13-4-1) – I knew that Montreal was off to a great start but I didn’t realize how well they were playing until I looked at the standings. They are riding the longest current win streak (5 games) in the NHL and also have the most points (27). They absolutely destroyed their biggest rival-Boston-5-1 last Thursday at the Bell Centre and they’ll be at TD Garden on Saturday night for the much-anticipated rematch.
  2. 2. Pittsburgh Penguins (12-3-1) – Another top club that is playing great hockey is the Penguins. They have the best goal-differential in the league (+25) and they are 9-1-0 in their last 10 games. Signing goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury to a four-year extension is putting way too much faith in a guy that typically crumbles in the playoffs.
  3. 3. Tampa Bay Lightning (12-4-2) – I still think that the Western Conference is superior top to bottom but it’s tough to argue against these three teams in the Eastern Conference. The Lightning have scored the most goals (66) in the NHL and they have the second-best goal-differential (+18). A three games in four nights road trip this week (Rangers, Islanders, Maple Leafs) should be a big test for Tampa Bay.
  4. 4. St. Louis Blues (12-4-1) – I feel like I created the Blues’ bandwagon last season and where did that get me? That has taught me not to hype St. Louis too much until they do something in the postseason but you can’t ignore their excellent start to this campaign. Their upcoming four-game road trip is tough, starting with games at Boston on Tuesday and Montreal on Thursday.
  5. 5. Anaheim Ducks (11-3-4) – At full strength, the Ducks very well might be the best team in the league. However, it’s been a bizarre few weeks for Anaheim starting with Corey Perry and Francois Beauchemin getting diagnosed with the mumps. They split a home-and-home with the Kings this week with both winning on their home ice: Ducks won a shootout and LA won in overtime.
  6. 6. Nashville Predators (11-4-2) – One of the under-the-radar teams in the NHL that I’ve been paying attention to is the Predators. If the playoffs started today, they’d be the third seed in the West. Obviously, that is unlikely to hold up but James Neal (9 goals, 5 assists, +10) is proving that he was more than just Sidney Crosby’s goony sidekick in Pittsburgh.
  7. 7. Calgary Flames (11-6-2) – Do I honestly think that the Flames are the seventh best team in the league? Of course not but just look at their resume so far this season. They have scored the most goals (59) in the Western Conference and they are +9.
  8. 8. Vancouver Canucks (12-6-0) – Another Canadian team off to a surprisingly good start, you can’t ignore the fact that Vancouver’s goal-differential is +1. They are 7-3-0 in their last 10 games but it is hard to explain their 5-0 no-show loss at Arizona on Friday. Home games against Anaheim and Chicago this week should be good indicators of whether they are frauds or not.
  9. 9. Los Angeles Kings (9-5-4) – If there is any team in the NHL not to really judge as harshly in the regular season, it has to be the Kings based on their two Stanley Cups in the past three years. LA typically paces themselves before really turning it up late in the regular season and going into the playoffs. With the emergence of Calgary and Vancouver, the league’s toughest division (Pacific) gets even harder to navigate.
  10. 10. New York Islanders (11-6-0) – The Islanders are proving to have some staying power after their great start then predictable struggles. Other than Pittsburgh, you can reasonably make the case that they could finish ahead of anybody in the marshmallow soft Metropolitan Division. This week is a big one with home-and-homes against Tampa Bay and Pittsburgh.
  11. 11. Boston Bruins (11-8-0) – You can’t say that the B’s really deserve to be this high but then you see the other pretenders in their range and you understand this kind designation. Boston enjoyed a long homestand against mostly inferior teams to craft a five-game win streak. Then they went to Toronto (6-1) and Montreal (5-1) and got pummeled on back-to-back nights last week.
  12. 12. Detroit Red Wings (8-3-5) – These aren’t your older brother’s Red Wings but they should be a playoff team again this spring. Joe Louis Arena doesn’t sell out like it used to but Detroit has played well there (6-1-2) this season. The Red Wings are only 2-2-3 on the road but their three-game road trip this week (Columbus, Winnipeg, Toronto) shouldn’t be too daunting.
  13. 13. Chicago Blackhawks (9-7-1) – I’m as shocked as you are that the Blackhawks are all the way down here. However, Chicago is 5-5 in their last 10 games. Their goal-differential is +11 (2nd best in the Western Conference) though which is a sign that their overall record should improve sooner rather than later.
  14. 14. San Jose Sharks (9-8-2) – Some bozo who shall remain nameless (me) tabbed the Sharks as the top team in my inaugural power rankings this season, how’s that looking these days? San Jose has been playing poorly for almost a month but it’s a long season and I still think they’ll pick it up. Keep in mind that they’ve only played five games (2-3-0) at the SAP Center.
  15. 15. Winnipeg Jets (9-7-2) – Predictably, this is where things start to get pretty murky as we sift through the good to average teams. Winnipeg is 6-2-2 in their last 10 games but their goal-differential is -2 which is sketchy. The Jets have scored by far the fewest goals in the West (34) so this could be a short stay in the power rankings.
  16. 16. Ottawa Senators (8-5-4) – The Senators are another squad that’s tough to figure out. Catch them at the right time and they look like a sure-fire playoff team then they play like a lottery team in the next game. They are off until Thursday then they have home games against the Predators and Blues, Ottawa is 4-1-3 at Canadian Tire Centre this season.
  17. 17. Toronto Maple Leafs (9-7-2) – Nothing sums up the Leafs better than their 6-1 blowout win over the Bruins on Wednesday, followed by two straight losses including an unforgivable 6-2 loss in Buffalo on Saturday. How does that happen? Phil Kessel (11 goals, 11 assists) continues to rack up the points.
  18. 18. Minnesota Wild (9-7-0) – With a +10 goal differential, the Wild have to be better than this, right? Minnesota is only 5-5 in their last 10 games but they have won their last two. Zach Parise returned on Sunday after missing five games with a concussion so that should help the Wild find their identity.
  19. 19. New York Rangers (7-6-4) – Hey remember that time the Rangers were in the Stanley Cup Final last summer? That was neat. Nobody has gone to overtime more than the Rangers this season and New York has struggled there, going 1-4 in overtime and shootouts.
  20. 20. Washington Capitals (7-7-2) – As usual, the Caps are struggling to keep their heads above water. I guess we just have to accept that this is who they are, no matter who their coach is-sorry Barry Trotz. Washington is 3-6-1 in their last 10 games and they’ve dropped their last two including a 4-1 beating in St. Louis on Saturday.

 
 
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