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THN Power Rankings: Hurricanes (Still) Causing Destruction

Carolina, Edmonton and Florida are still at the top of the power rankings, but Minnesota and Anaheim have forced themselves into the conversation.
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(All fancy stats are 5v5 and courtesy naturalstattrick.com)

1. Carolina Hurricanes (12-2-0, +22 goal differential, CF%: 2nd, xGF%: 10th. Last Week: 1)

2. Edmonton Oilers (11-4-0, +14, CF%: 16th, xGF%: 19th. Last Week: 3)

3. Florida Panthers (11-2-3, +20, CF%: 1st, xGF%: 6th. Last Week: 2)

It’s more accurate to say the Panthers lost their spot than to say the Oilers gained. Connor McDavid and his crew have been impressive, but losses against Detroit and Buffalo pumped the brakes. The Panthers likewise struggled, losing all of their games during a four-game roadie including an uncharacteristic 7-3 loss to the Devils and then two straight losses in extra time to potential playoff foes in the Lightning and Pens before beating up a tired Isles squad. Perhaps things might’ve been different for the Oilers if Mike Smith had been available, and the same for the Panthers had they not been forced to start Spencer Knight on back-to-back nights, but an unlucky loss is still a loss, and the Power Rankings do not discriminate. The Panthers may drop further down the rankings if Aleksander Barkov, who left Tuesday’s game with an apparent knee injury, misses significant time.

4. Washington Capitals (9-2-5, +17, CF%: 12th, xGF%: 7th. Last Week: 4)

5. Toronto Maple Leafs (11-5-1, +4, CF%: 6th, xGF%: 2nd. Last Week: 7)

6. Tampa Bay Lightning (8-3-3, +3, CF%: 17th, xGF%: 12th. Last Week: 8)

The Lightning have not lost in regulation since Oct. 25 are 6-0-2 since then. They’ve done so by limiting their opponents to two goals or fewer in seven of those games, with the only blemish courtesy of Brian Elliott in a 5-3 win against Ottawa. Andrei Vasilevskiy is looking like his former self and the Lightning, who had the seventh-worst GA/GP (3.38) in October, now have the fifth-best GA/GP (2.00) in November and slowly creeping back into the top 10 for the season. The Leafs have taken a similar path thanks to Jack Campbell’s strong play, and have lost only once in regulation since Oct. 25.

7. Winnipeg Jets (9-3-3, +11, CF%: 8th, xGF%: 9th. Last Week: 9)

8. Minnesota Wild (10-5-0, +2, CF%: 3rd, xGF%: 1st. Last Week: 13)

The Wild are a perplexing team. It’s hard to argue against the raw results; they have a top-10 points percentage and top-five possession metrics, yet none of their wins seem convincing. They were 5-1-0 in their past six before a surprising loss to San Jose, and two of those wins needed extra time and another two regulation wins were against Arizona and Seattle. To their credit, they’ve taken advantage of a pretty easy schedule in November. Fun stat: the Wild’s 0.985 PDO suggests they’ve been unlucky so far this season.

9. Anaheim Ducks (10-4-3, +14, CF%: 24th, xGF%: 24th. Last Week: 18)

What a run by the Ducks. Now the question is whether or not they can stay in the top flight. Excellent goaltending and a group of veterans and young players who seem to have gelled nicely have been the Ducks’ recipe for success, and if they’re still in this spot come January, we need to start taking them very seriously. Teams can be very good even with poor analytics (see: Islanders), but everything about their run just seems unsustainable, and unlike the Wild, the Ducks do not have the underlying numbers to back it up.

10. Calgary Flames (8-3-5, +15, CF%: 5th, xGF%: 8th. Last Week: 5)

11. New York Rangers (10-3-3, even, CF%: 32nd, xGF%: 30th. Last Week: 15)

12. Boston Bruins (8-5-0, +4, CF%: 4th, xGF%: 3rd. Last Week: 12)

13. Philadelphia Flyers (8-4-2, +3, CF%: 18th, xGF%: 26th. Last Week: 11)

14. Los Angeles Kings (8-5-2, +5, CF%: 11th, xGF%: 23rd. Last Week: 19)

15. Vegas Golden Knights (9-7-0, -1, CF%: 25th, xGF%: 28th. Last Week: 17)

16. Colorado Avalanche (6-5-1, +4, CF%: 13th, xGF%: 5th. Last Week: 14)

The Avs face an uphill battle without Nathan MacKinnon but at least they resemble a contender with a 13-3 drubbing of the Canucks and Sharks. They’re now 5-2-1 in their past eight, and it’s a fairly favorable schedule ahead with the Canucks and Kraken on the road and then home dates against the Sens, Ducks and Preds. It’s interesting to note that most sportsbooks still have the Avs as the Cup favorite, which means most people are expecting them to keep winning and then kick into higher gear when MacKinnon returns.

17. Nashville Predators (9-6-1, +2, CF%: 23rd, xGF%: 20th. Last Week: 22)

18. St. Louis Blues (8-5-2, +9, CF%: 20th, xGF%: 22nd. Last Week: 6)

The Blues take a tumble with four straight losses and have now lost seven of their past 10 after starting 5-0-0. A loss to the league’s worst team on Tuesday should automatically eject them from the top of the list to the very bottom, but all four losses were by one goal and they haven’t lost all confidence yet. Jordan Binnington’s up-and-down play remains very concerning and has somewhat negated the very positive contributions from Jordan Kyrou and Robert Thomas.

19. Columbus Blue Jackets (8-5-0, +3, CF%: 19th, xGF%: 17th. Last Week: 20)

20. Detroit Red Wings (8-8-2, -9, CF%: 26th, xGF%: 18th. Last Week: 16)

21. New Jersey Devils (7-4-3, even, CF%: 14th, xGF%: 16th. Last Week: 21)

22. San Jose Sharks (8-6-1, +1, CF%: 28th, xGF%: 31st. Last Week: 24)

23. Buffalo Sabres (7-6-2, +1, CF%: 21st, xGF%: 21st. Last Week: 27)

24. Dallas Stars (6-6-2, -6, CF%: 22nd, xGF%: 14th. Last Week: 29)

25. New York Islanders (5-6-2, -10, CF%: 29th, xGF%: 15th. Last Week: 10)

The Isles are one of the two biggest fallers this week after getting outscored 19-4 and losing four straight. One does sympathize with a season-opening 13-game road trip, and by the time the back-to-back in Florida rolled around, it looked like they just wanted to go home. However, 60 percent of the Isles’ remaining games will be played at home, giving them a chance to climb back up. The Isles are six points out of a wild card spot but only the Avs have played fewer games.

26. Pittsburgh Penguins (5-6-4, -8, CF%: 7th, xGF%: 4th. Last Week: 23)

We’re not panicking yet, but a bombshell report from the Wall Street Journal of a potential sale of the team does make this seem like the final chapter of the Lemieux-Crosby era in Pittsburgh. The Pens have lost three straight in regulation and outscored 14-5 since their captain returned to the lineup, and Tuesday’s 2-1 loss to the Sabres seemed particularly crushing because Crosby and the Pens have historically dominated that matchup. It’s still too early to make the call, but if the Pens miss the playoffs, it would be the first time that’s happened since Crosby’s rookie season in 2005-06.

27. Chicago Blackhawks (4-9-2, -18, CF%: 31st, xGF%: 32nd. Last Week: 31)

28. Ottawa Senators (4-10-1, -16, CF%: 30th, xGF%: 25th. Last Week: 28)

29. Seattle Kraken (4-10-1, -13, CF%: 9th, xGF%: 11th. Last Week: 26)

30. Vancouver Canucks (5-9-2, -14, CF%: 15th, xGF%: 29th. Last Week: 25)

An expansion franchise that could’ve emulated Vegas’ winning blueprint and spark a new rivalry in the Pacific Northwest has not gone according to plan. Both the Canucks and Kraken have struggled so much the PNW remains a no-interest zone, and the Canucks can’t even lay claim to the territory with their seniority because they’ve been awful, losing eight of their past 10 and getting outscored 19-6 on their three-game road trip. At least with the Kraken, the problem is obvious – their goaltending isn’t good enough. With the Canucks, despite featuring talented young players, an excellent goalie and a (presumably) beefed-up blueline, they’re completely out of sync and show no resemblance of the team that knocked off Minnesota and St. Louis and took Vegas to seven games in the playoffs barely a year ago.

31. Arizona Coyotes (2-13-1, -36, CF%: 27th, xGF%: 27th. Last Week: 32)

32. Montréal Canadiens (4-12-2, -23, CF%: 10th, xGF%: 13th. Last Week: 30)

No, I don’t hate the Habs, but putting them last does break up the monotony. I think it was low-key impressive the Coyotes won two of their past five, including Tuesday against the Blues, and other than a 4-2 win against the Flames, the Habs have lost six of their past seven and Samuel Montembeault and Cayden Primeau have yet to win a game this season. 

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