To the surprise of absolutely no one, the Chicago Blackhawks topped NHL.com’s newest power rankings list, released today. With that new NHL record under their belts, a 15-0-3 to their names and players who could be in the running for multiple awards (Patrick Kane for the Hart Trophy and Corey Crawford for the Vezina Trophy), it is hardly shocking that they are still on the throne. In fact, the top three teams haven’t budged since last week. The Blackhawks are still first, the Anaheim Ducks are still second and the Boston Bruins are still third.
The Ducks are currently on a six-game win streak and ageless wonder Teemu Selanne put up his 668th career goal yesterday, moving him into 11th place on the all-time list to tie with Luc Robitaille.
Despite only having played 15 games whereas the rest of the East has played anywhere from 17 to 20, the Bruins have 24 points. By comparison, it took the New Jersey Devils 19 games to hit 24 points. Furthermore, the Bruins have just broken the record for the strongest penalty kill through the first 15 games of the season with an efficiency of 94.8 percent.
The Montreal Canadiens, who appear to have put the aberration that was last season behind them, are in fourth place and currently have a seven-game point streak for the first time since 2010.
However, it’s the ninth-place finish this week that could be the most surprising. It’s none other than the reigning Stanley Cup champions, the Los Angeles Kings, making the list for the first time this season. They’ve improved in the past few games, going 5-1-0 and allowing only eight goals. That being said, they are still at the bottom of the Pacific Division (18 points in 16 games played), although they and the Ducks have played the fewest games in the West.
The most precipitous drops on the list belong to two teams in the greater New York tri-state area. The Devils plummeted from fifth to 11th place and are having a problem with allowing goals–namely, they’ve allowed 24 in their past seven games. Plus, there is a little cause for concern with the health of Martin Brodeur, who missed a game that he was supposed to play due to a sore back.
The New York Rangers nosedived from seventh place to 16th, quite nearly missing the cutoff for the power rankings. An injury to Rick Nash appears to have undone some of the team’s cohesion–they’re 0-2-1 without him and have just three goals in their past three games–plus Ryan McDonagh could be out for some time too.