April 13, 2017 at 11:31 PM #135932Ray MonohanKeymaster
Another terrific season of NHL Hockey is in the books – some teams made some serious strides forward (Columbus) and others took a major step back (the Kings and the Stars to name a couple). There are definitely some obvious favorites heading into the playoffs and some sneaky sleepers that could do some damage.
So where does your favorite team sit at the conclusion of the NHL Regular Season? Let’s take a look in Dave B’s bi-weekly NHL Power Rankings.
1. Washington (55-19-8) – Two Weeks Ago: 1
The Capitals let their play on the ice do their talking for them all season long – they finished seven points up in the President’s Trophy race, they were tops in the league in terms of goals against (by a mile) and they kept their foot on the pedal right until the end going 8-2-0 in their last 10 games overall. Their success will be measured in the playoffs – make no mistake about it and their first round matchup comes against a Leafs team with nothing to lose. It should be interesting but for now the Caps are definitely the team to beat.
2. Pittsburgh (50-21-11) – Two Weeks Ago: 2
The Penguins stay at #2 this week despite going just 4-4-2 in their last 10 games. The injuries this team sustained over the course of the year was almost unfair – Kris Letang won’t be back this season. Despite, Pittsburgh ended the Regular Season as the top scoring team in the NHL – as dangerous a team as there was all season long. Will the injuries finally catch up to them in Round 1?
3. Chicago (50-23-9) – Two Weeks Ago: 4
The Hawks are another team that limped to the finish line a bit – they were 3-3-4 in their last 10 games and lost their last four games of the Regular Season. Am I worried? Nope! This team has everything a team would want heading into the playoffs – experience up and down the lineup, one of the best coaches in the game, and enviable depth at every turn. Chicago is a serious contender every year – 2017 is no different.
4. Anaheim (46-23-13) – Two Weeks Ago: 5
Look out for the Ducks folks! They have gone 11-0-3 in their last 14 games overall and enter the playoffs on a four game win streak. Like the Caps, recent playoff success has eluded this team but there is a general feeling out there that with this roster and with Randy Carlyle behind the bench, this Ducks team is different.
5. Columbus (50-24-8) – Two Weeks Ago: 3
The Jackets also stumbled down the stretch to a 3-5-2 record in their last 10. This team has brought the defense all season long however (second in the league in terms of goals against) – something that will be needed in the playoffs. With Sergei Bobrovsky doing his job between the pipes this physical, truculent team could make some noise in the playoffs.
6. Montreal (47-26-9) – Two Weeks Ago: 8
Montreal seemed to be playing rope-a-dope through a large part of the season but the fact remains that they have some guy named Carey Price patrolling the crease and a pretty good stable of defensemen and forwards to get them to the promise-land. People are sleeping on the Habs a bit right now – I am certainly not one of them!
7. Edmonton (47-26-9) – Two Weeks Ago: 10
The Oilers were able to avoid the let-down this season and finished up 8-2-0 in their last 10 games. The key will be to keep creating space for the only 100-point man in the NHL Conor McDavid. Cam Talbot’s breakout season will be put to the test as well – he was a big reason the Oilers went from one of the worst defensive teams in the game to a formidable one. There is a lot of belief in Edmonton right now – rightfully so!
8. New York Rangers (48-26-6) – Two Weeks Ago: 6
The Rangers took their foot off the gas just a tad down the stretch but there is no doubting the depth and the strength of this team. Add in the fact that their core now has a ton of playoff experience and one could expect the Rangers to be a dangerous team in the playoffs. This team is built for the second season – time to prove it!
9. Minnesota (49-25-8) – Two Weeks Ago: 7
It’s hard to believe that the Wild wound up fifth in the Overall standings but a look at the roster tells us they could be dangerous in the playoffs. They were the second highest scoring team in the NHL during the Regular Season and they ended the season with four straight wins. Minnesota is going to make some noise in the playoffs one of these years – it seems that this one they are well equipped to do just that.
10. St. Louis (46-29-7) – Two Weeks Ago: 12
The Blues finally came on at the end of the season and played like the team we thought they were – 7-1-2 in their last 10 games – thanks in part to a pretty easy schedule down the stretch. That said they Blues are playing Hitchcock type of hockey right now – stifling defensively and as confident as they have been all year.
11. Ottawa (44-28-10) – Two Weeks Ago: 11
Ottawa limped down the stretch going 4-4-2 in their last 10 games. Their success depends on the health or lack thereof for Captain Erik Karlsson. Their negative goal differential is an issue for sure but this club has shown that they can flick a switch at any time.
12. San Jose (46-29-7) – Two Weeks Ago: 13
The Sharks didn’t look great down the stretch but I am going to give them the benefit of the doubt here. As defending Western Conference Champs they have earned that right. There are questions about the depth on this team which is reason for concern but with Brent Burns and the stable of veteran forwards should have this team ready for the playoffs.
13. Toronto (40-27-15) – Two Weeks Ago: 14
14. Calgary (45-33-4) – Two Weeks Ago: 9
15. Boston (44-31-7) – Two Weeks Ago: 16
16. Nashville (41-29-12) – Two Weeks Ago: 15
17. Tampa Bay (42-30-10) – Two Weeks Ago: 18
18. New York Islanders (41-29-12) – Two Weeks Ago: 17
19. Philadelphia (39-33-10) – Two Weeks Ago: 20
20. Los Angeles (39-35-8) – Two Weeks Ago: 21
21. Winnipeg (40-35-7) – Two Weeks Ago: 23
22. Carolina (36-31-13) – Two Weeks Ago: 19
23. Florida (35-36-11) – Two Weeks Ago: 22
24. Detroit (33-36-13) – Two Weeks Ago: 26
25. Dallas (34-37-11) – Two Weeks Ago: 25
26. Buffalo (33-37-12) – Two Weeks Ago: 24
27. New Jersey (28-40-14) – Two Weeks Ago: 28
28. Arizona (30-42-10) – Two Weeks Ago:
29. Vancouver (30-43-9) – Two Weeks Ago: 2729
30. Colorado (22-56-4) – Two Weeks Ago: 30
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