NHL Power Rankings: Bruins rise to the top
With more than a quarter of the NHL season in the books, it’s a good time to see how the top teams stack up. Here is BetAmerica’s initial 2019-2020 NHL power rankings.
1. Boston Bruins (17-3-5)The Bruins are the clear leader in goal differential per game at 1.40, and no other team has a figure greater than 0.80 (Pittsburgh). Wingers Brad Marchand (43 points) and David Pastrnak (39 points) have been among the NHL’s most fearsome duos on offense.
2. Edmonton Oilers (16-8-3)Speaking of fearsome duos, young snipers Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl have combined for 95 points through the Oilers’ first 27 contests and are the highest scorers in the NHL. Edmonton will go as far as these two can take them.
3. Washington Capitals (17-4-5)Defenseman John Carlson is having a Norris Trophy-worthy season, as he leads the Capitals in points (36). Alex Ovechkin is one of four Washington forwards who have reached the 10-goal plateau through 26 games, along with Jakub Vrana, Evgeny Kuznetsov and T.J. Oshie.
4. New York Islanders (16-5-2)The Islanders are showing that Barry Trotz’s first year behind the bench was no fluke, as they just had a 17-game point streak snapped. The streak at one stage included 11 consecutive victories. Goalies Semyon Varlamov and Thomas Greiss are putting together a Jennings Trophy campaign.
5. St. Louis Blues (15-5-6)The defending Stanley Cup champs have survived the Vladimir Tarasenko injury, thanks in large part to the exploits of second-year netminder Jordan Binnington, who sports a .925 save percentage and 2.27 goals-against average through 20 games.
Brayden Schenn and David Perron are pacing the team in goals at 13 and 11, respectively, which puts them on pace for career highs.
6. Dallas Stars (15-9-2)The Stars’ defense-first mentality has paid off for them lately, as they’re 8-1-1 over their last 10 games and just four points behind St. Louis. Ben Bishop and Anton Khudobin have combined to allow the third-fewest goals per game in the NHL.
7. Pittsburgh Penguins (14-7-4)Jake Guentzel has picked up where he left off in 2018-2019, when he scored 40 goals. He has scored 14 goals in 25 games by pacing the Penguins and the Penguins are on a six-game point streak.
8. Colorado Avalanche (14-8-2)The Avs have been walking a fine line with injuries, and lost both goaltenders at one point, along with captain Gabriel Landeskog. But they’ve weathered the storm, and the probable return of Mikko Rantanen on Saturday is more than welcome news.
9. Arizona Coyotes (15-8-3)It’s hard to win if you can’t score, and Coyotes netminders Darcy Kuemper and Antti Raanta have been the best in the league at keeping pucks out of the net (2.15 goals allowed per game).
However, Arizona’s leading scorer is Conor Garland, with 10 goals through 26 games, so this team’s ceiling appears limited.
10. Carolina Hurricanes (15-9-1)Carolina has won six of its last eight games. Do-it-all defenseman Dougie Hamilton already has 10 goals and 16 assists, so he’s well on pace for a career year.
11. Winnipeg Jets (15-9-1)The Jets have won five of their last six to pull within five points of the Central Division-leading Blues. Forwards Mark Scheifele and Patrik Laine unsurprisingly lead the team in points at 23 apiece.
12. Tampa Bay Lightning (12-8-2)The Lightning have no 10-goal scorers but lead the league in goals per game (3.73). If they can get the defense in line (3.27 goals allowed per game, 22nd), Tampa will be able to make a run.
13. Philadelphia Flyers (13-7-5)The Flyers, 5-2-3 over their last 10 games, have been treading water throughout the year because of their anemic offense. Travis Konecny (24 points) is the only Philadelphia player with more than 18 points.
14. Florida Panthers (12-8-5)The Panthers are second in the Atlantic Division, though well behind the Bruins. Jonathan Huberdeau (31 points) is having another fine season in the Sunshine State.
15. Toronto Maple Leafs (12-10-4)Toronto has turned things around rapidly since it replaced coach Mike Babcock with Sheldon Keefe, with three straight wins. Auston Matthews is on pace for 94 points, assuming he skates in all 82 games for the first time since his rookie season.
16. New York Rangers (12-9-2)The Rangers went 8-4-1 without their 2018-2019 points leader, Mika Zibanejad, and he came back Wednesday night with a power-play goal in a 3-2 win over the Hurricanes. Contention runs deep in the Eastern Conference.