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NHL Power Rankings: Another Shakeup in the Top 10

Jason Chen breaks down all 32 teams in the NHL, and the top 10 definitely looks different than it has in recent weeks.
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The Colorado Avalanche and Florida Panthers remain at the top for the second straight week thanks to perfect records, even though they took very different paths to get there. Meanwhile, some of the East’s top teams have stumbled a little bit, including the Canes and Lightning, while the playoff race in the West is starting to clear up with three teams – Preds, Stars and Knights – currently vying for the two wild-card spots.

(All fancy stats are 5v5 and courtesy naturalstattrick.com)

1. Colorado Avalanche (50-14-6, +75. CF%: 7th, xGF%: 10th. PR: 1)

The Avs make it work even without key players and low-key might have the best tandem in Darcy Kuemper (.925 Sv%) and Pavel Francouz (.918 Sv%). Usually, winning the Presidents’ Trophy is a bad omen, but the Avs are one of eight teams in history to have won both the regular season title and the Stanley Cup (2001).

2. Florida Panthers (49-15-6, +84. CF%: 1st, xGF%: 2nd. PR: 2)

The Panthers’ ability to mount huge comebacks is a good sign, but teams just don’t blow four-goal leads in the playoffs. Their No. 1 goal down the stretch will be to see if their defense and goaltending can improve. Could Spencer Knight factor into the postseason for the second straight year?

3. Toronto Maple Leafs (45-19-6, +54. CF%: 6th, xGF%: 4th. PR: 5)

They rattled off five straight wins before losing a wild one to the Panthers. Both teams face big questions on the blue line and in net going into the playoffs, but the difference is that the Panthers will face the Caps in the first round while the Leafs will draw *gulp* the Bruins or Lightning.

4. New York Rangers (45-20-6, +31. CF%: 26th, xGF%: 26th. PR: 3)

Losses to their in-state rival and to the woeful Flyers set them back a little bit, yet they’re just two points away from catching the Canes. Interesting to note that the Rangers’ possession metrics have been awful all season, but since the trade deadline rank third in both CF% and xGF%. They’re 4-1-0 against potential first-round opponents Pittsburgh and Boston this season.

5. Calgary Flames (41-19-9, +68. CF%: 2nd, xGF%: 3rd. PR: 4)

They’ve lost three of their past four with losses against potential first-round opponents in the Avs and Blues, even though they had outplayed their opponents for stretches and Jacob Markstrom had a save percentage above .931 in three of those games.

6. Minnesota Wild (43-21-5, +39. CF%: 11th, xGF%: 9th. PR: 9)

A weekend win against the Canes means the Wild are 13-0-2 against the Metro this season and they suffered just their first loss in regulation since the trade deadline – they were 7-0-1 before that – on Tuesday in Nashville.

7. Boston Bruins (44-21-5, +33. CF%: 5th, xGF%: 1st. PR: 8)

Could we see Linus Ullmark back in net? The Bruins won two games this past week thanks to him, and Jeremy Swayman has never handled such a big workload before. They looked worse as the week went on, starting with an 8-1 win against New Jersey then winning by smaller margins until a loss to Detroit on Tuesday.

8. Tampa Bay Lightning (43-19-7, +32. CF%: 12th, xGF%: 6th. PR: 6)

Concerned? A little bit, because the Lightning haven’t looked this vulnerable in a long time. The 6-2 loss on Monday against the Leafs was their fourth in their past five matchups and Andrei Vasilevskiy has a .896 Sv% over the past two weeks.

9. Carolina Hurricanes (45-17-8, +64. CF%: 3rd, xGF%: 5th. PR: 7)

No need to really panic, except they’ve won just four games since mid-March. The Canes have always managed to bounce back after tough stretches, though their hold at the top of the Metro is starting to look a little shaky. Vincent Trocheck and Teuvo Teravainen have scored just six goals in their past 18 games.

10. St. Louis Blues (39-20-10, +48. CF%: 23rd, xGF%: 25th. PR: 15)

The Blues have seven (!) 20-goal scorers, which is (by my count) the most on a single team in the cap era. They might be the deepest team in the league even though they don’t have a marquee star, and seven (!) different players scored at least two goals last week.

11. Nashville Predators (40-25-4, +29. CF%: 18th, xGF%: 16th. PR: 11)

After losing by a combined 12-2 score against L.A. and Vegas, the Preds have won three of their past four, including an emphatic 6-2 win against the Wild. But with losses to Seattle and Philadelphia earlier in March, it always feels like they could simultaneously beat everyone and lose to anyone.

12. Pittsburgh Penguins (41-20-10, +43. CF%: 9th, xGF%: 7th. PR: 10)

The big question mark for the Pens going into the playoffs will once again be Tristan Jarry, who was 0-2-0 with a .884 Sv% and 4.09 GAA over the past week. They’ve now lost five of their past seven, including two losses each to the Rangers and Avs.

13. Vegas Golden Knights (39-28-4, +17. CF%: 10th, xGF%: 11th. PR: 16)

The Knights are charging with five straight wins, the league’s longest active winning streak. The competition wasn’t stiff, but it won’t be at least for another week with two more games against Vancouver and another against Arizona coming up.

14. Edmonton Oilers (41-25-5, +25. CF%: 8th, xGF%: 12th. PR: 17)

Just when you think they’re done, their goaltending somehow puts together a good stretch. They were a perfect 4-0-0 last week and leapfrogged the Kings for second place in the Pacific.

15. Dallas Stars (40-26-3, -2. CF%: 19th, xGF%: 14th. PR: 13)

They went 3-1-0 last week despite an even goal differential, winning close games but getting blown out in losses. It’s a trademark of Rick Bowness’ Stars: grind out the wins, but if the defensive effort isn’t there, it’s nearly hopeless.

16. Los Angeles Kings (38-24-10, +2. CF%: 4th, xGF%: 8th. PR: 14)

All four games over the past week were decided by one goal. Inconsistency is a problem – they split games against the Kraken and the Flames – and their hold on a playoff spot keeps getting weaker. Vegas has won five straight and sit four points behind with one game in hand. They should be worried.

17. New York Islanders (32-28-9, +3. CF%: 26th, xGF%: 21st. PR: 19)

Semyon Varlamov is getting goal support, so that’s definitely new. Also, big props to Cory Schneider, who started and won his first game in two years. 15 different players scored a point this past week, but curiously enough, Anthony Beauvillier was not one of them.

18. Winnipeg Jets (33-27-10, -2. CF%: 17th, xGF%: 17th. PR: 12)

Two straight losses to the Leafs and Kings hurt their playoff chances after winning five of their previous six games. This coming week should be a lot easier when they face Detroit, Ottawa, Montréal and Seattle.

19. Washington Capitals (37-22-10, +24. CF%: 14th, xGF%: 15th. PR: 18)

The Caps have a minus-9 goal differential and rank 19th in P% in 2022, so thank goodness they had such a brilliant first half. Their only game this past week was a 5-1 loss to the Wild, their fourth loss in six games.

20. Vancouver Canucks (32-28-10, -4. CF%: 16th, xGF%: 18th. PR: 20)

They’ve lost nine of their past 12 and although, mathematically speaking, they haven’t been eliminated, it certainly already feels that way.

21. Buffalo Sabres (26-34-11, -53. CF%: 22nd, xGF%: 28th. PR: 22)

Rick Jeanneret is a legend and it’s unfortunate he never got to call a Cup win. However, even amidst really poor attendance, there’s definitely some optimism in the air. Jeff Skinner is one goal away from 30, and it’ll be the first time since 2010-11 (Thomas Vanek, Drew Stafford) the Sabres had more than one player reach that milestone.

22. Arizona Coyotes (22-43-5, -77. CF%: 32nd, xGF%: 32nd. PR: 29)

Many will bemoan that the Coyotes are a bottom-three team, but recent performance matters more in the Power Rankings, and since March 1 they’re 8-8-1 and rank 22nd in points percentage.

23. San Jose Sharks (29-31-9, -38. CF%: 31st, xGF%: 22nd. PR: 21)

The Sharks went 0-3-1 and averaged 2.25 GF/GP, and only Brent Burns managed to score more than one goal. But even with cap troubles they’re doing the right thing player the young kids. Per Sharks PR, their rookies have collectively played 373 games this season, the highest total in the league.

24. Ottawa Senators (26-37-6, -37. CF%: 21st, xGF%: 23rd. PR: 28)

Three straight wins deserves a bump, though two were against Detroit and the third was against Montréal. Mathieu Joseph finished the week with a league-best 3.00 P/GP with nine points on nine shots in three games.

25. Chicago Blackhawks (24-35-11, -59. CF%: 30th, xGF%: 30th. PR: 24)

It’s been five straight losses and counting, including losses to Arizona and Buffalo. They scored just four goals in three games this past week. Only the Caps have scored fewer, but they also played only one game.

26. Seattle Kraken (22-41-6, -60. CF%: 15th, xGF%: 20th. PR: 26)

One of the more interesting stats on the league’s official website is Net PP%, where a shorthanded goal allowed is worth -1 power play goals. The Kraken finished the week with a -25.0 Net PP%. H-I-S-T-O-R-I-C.

27. Montréal Canadiens (19-40-11, -87. CF%: 25th, xGF%: 29th. PR: 27)

Defeating Tampa in a shootout was pretty neat, but it doesn’t gloss over the fact that they’ve lost six of their past eight, though Cole Caufield continues to score and they’re 11-9-4 under Martin St. Louis.

28. Columbus Blue Jackets (33-32-6, -36. CF%: 24th, xGF%: 31st. PR: 23)

Patrik Laine’s goal drought is at seven games and they were one of seven (!) teams that failed to score a single power-play this past week.

29. New Jersey Devils (24-40-6, -47. CF%: 13th, xGF%: 13th. PR: 25)

The Devils allowed a league-high 5.50 GF/GP over the past week, won zero games and scored zero power-play goals.

30. Philadelphia Flyers (22-37-11, -69. CF%: 27th, xGF%: 27th. PR: 30)

Keith Yandle has been barely playable over the past few seasons and the Flyers scratched him to make room for younger defenders. Fair enough. Except that lasted just two games before Yandle returned to the lineup, and they did rookie Ronnie Attard no favors pairing him with Yandle. Curious decisions, to say the least.

31. Detroit Red Wings (27-34-9, -69. CF%: 28th, xGF%: 24th. PR: 31)

Bad news: their goaltending is still really bad and they allowed 18 goals this past week, second-most in the league. Good news: they didn’t have to pull their goalie in any of those games. Improvement!

32. Anaheim Ducks (28-31-12, -31. CF%: 20th, xGF%: 19th. PR: 32)

Since March 1, the Ducks rank last in wins (3) and goals for (38), and rank bottom-five on both the PP and the PK. Despite being just 28 years old, Gibson has a negative GSAA value for the third straight season and among goalies with at least 5,000 5v5 TOI has the third-worst GSAA/60 behind Carter Hart and Sergei Bobrovsky. Are the Ducks overlooking this really alarming trend? 

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