Capitals take control

It’s Week 3 of’s NHL Power Rankings – and for the third straight week, there’s a new team atop the mountain.

To that end, congratulations are in order for the Washington Capitals, who dispatched last week’s No. 1 team (Detroit) with a 7-1 demolishing over the weekend and have also beaten powerhouses Philadelphia and Pittsburgh thus far. The star-studded Caps are being led in many statistical areas by non-stars – Marcus Johansson and Jason Chimera are tops on the team with four goals apiece, while Mathieu Perreault is a team-best plus-six – and have yet to lose. Washington is enjoying a four-day break, which will be followed by a mini-Western road swing through Edmonton and Vancouver Thursday and Saturday before it starts a November schedule that includes 14 games in 30 days.

Here is our newest ranking of the 30 NHL teams. Be sure to check back each and every Monday throughout the regular season for the latest list.

1 Washington Capitals 2 7-0-0 Surging Capitals’ goal differential is +16 – double the next-best number (Pittsburgh’s +8)
2 Detroit Red Wings 1 5-1-0 Thumping by Caps stung, but still loads to like on this team
3 Pittsburgh Penguins 4 6-2-2 Injury to Zbynek Michalek latest obstacle in plucky Pens’ way
4 Los Angeles Kings 8 5-1-1 Thanks to Quick, Kings haven’t allowed a goal since Oct. 15 and can continue that streak with two games against teams (Stars, Coyotes) they shut out last week (plus a meeting with the Devils)
5 Buffalo Sabres 5 5-2-0 Jason Pominville second on Sabres in shots (19), but first in assists (7)
6 Vancouver Canucks 6 4-3-1 Trade for David Booth adds to Canucks’ embarrassment of offense-producing riches
7 Philadelphia Flyers 3 4-2-1 Four games in six nights this week, all against teams Flyers should beat (Toronto, Montreal, Winnipeg, Carolina)
8 Colorado Avalanche 12 6-2-0 Games vs. Flames, Oilers this week a warmup for big showdown Sunday against Kings
9 Dallas Stars 11 6-2-0 Both Stars losses came with Kari Lehtonen out of the lineup
10 Chicago Blackhawks 9 4-1-2 Hawks’ plus-minus leader is Dan Carcillo at plus-5?
11 Toronto Maple Leafs 13 5-1-1 Soon-to-be-UFA Mikhail Grabovski earning himself a solid raise
12 Anaheim Ducks 7 4-3-0 Jonas Hiller having Jekyll-and-Hyde start to season: in three games, he has a save percentage of .933 or higher; in other three, .842 or lower
13 San Jose Sharks 16 3-3-0 Successful-so-far six-game road trip continues this week with tilts against Preds, Wings, Isles
14 Tampa Bay Lightning 18 3-3-2 Mathieu Garon (2-1-1, 1.51 goals-against average, .948 save percentage) getting Bolts on track
15 New Jersey Devils 10 3-2-1 Only five Devils have scored in six games
16 St. Louis Blues 20 4-4-0 Jason Arnott leads Blues in assists (four), points (seven) despite just 14:42 of average ice time
17 Boston Bruins 15 3-5-0 Just a home-and-home series against hated rival Habs this week for inconsistent Bruins
18 New York Islanders 14 3-3-0 Only Pens, Hawks have a more effective penalty kill than Isles (91.7 percent)
19 Carolina Hurricanes 19 3-3-2 Eric Staal’s league-worst minus-10 is ugly; Tim Gleason’s team-best plus-6 is not
20 Nashville Predators 17 3-3-1 Preds have a gaudy (for them, anyway) 2.71 GAA
21 Florida Panthers 22 4-3-0 David Booth was a team-worst minus-six before trade to Vancouver; two guys Panthers got in return (Mikael Samuelsson, Marco Sturm) a combined minus-six with Canucks
22 Phoenix Coyotes 24 3-3-1 Tough week ahead with home games against Stars, Devils, Kings
23 New York Rangers 26 2-2-2 Coach John Tortorella’s 16-second post-game press conference an ominous harbinger
24 Edmonton Oilers 25 3-2-2 Oilers’ next four opponents: Canucks, Capitals, Avs, Blues. Good luck with that
25 Minnesota Wild 23 3-2-3 Wild are third-most physical NHL team (222 hits), but still looking for first two-game win streak of season
26 Montreal Canadiens 21 1-4-2 Minor weekend trade could lead to bigger moves if Canadiens don’t reverse losing spiral
27 Winnipeg Jets 29 2-4-1 Only Ducks (44.8), Canes (45.8) have worse faceoff percentage than Jets (46.7 percent)
28 Calgary Flames 27 2-4-1 Almost time for roster overhaul? It should be if Flames can’t get at least one win out of relatively light schedule this week (home games against Avs, Blues)
29 Ottawa Senators 30 3-5-0 Beat soft-touch Jackets, Jets, but destroyed by Flyers last week
30 Columbus Blue Jackets 28 0-7-1 Late-game collapse vs. Sens as bad as it gets; changes coming soon
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The Hockey News ranks the teams 1-30 each Monday based on a combination of last week’s play and a squad’s overall outlook.

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