1. Colorado Avalanche (12-1-0, 24 Points) Last Week: 1
The Avalanche are just four wins shy of tying their total from the 2012-13 lockout shortened season. Not too shabby of a turn around by Roy and company. Of course this week wasn’t exactly filled with rainbows and lollipops for the organization. They had to deal with the disturbing arrest of Varlamov, but even that didn’t throw them off. Just a day after being released from jail the goalie anchored an OT win over Dallas in which he saved 27 out of 29 shots.
2. San Jose Sharks (10-1-3, 23 Points) Last Week: 2
A winless week by the Sharks wasn’t necessarily a wasted week. They managed to grab two points in two games and would have won against Phoenix if it weren’t for Mike Smith’s 48 save night. Their potent offense has seemingly tapered off a bit, specifically on the PP. Through their first eight games they converted on 25% of their PP’s but in their last six they’ve only managed to find the back of the net on 14%.
3. St. Louis Blues (8-2-2, 18 Points) Last Week: 3
There is one clear cut rule for beating the Blues; do not let them get on the PP, and if you do, do not let them score (obviously). This theory stems from the fact that the Blues have yet to win a game (0-2-1) where they do not score on the man advantage. When they do they are 8-0-1. So yeah, maybe it’s best to just stay out of the box against the Blues and their top ranked PP. And you might want to keep an eye on Alexander Steen who is battling with Crosby in points per game average.
4. Anaheim Ducks (11-3-1, 23 Points) Last Week: 5
Week two of their massive eight game road trip went about as well as the Ducks could have hoped, with one exception. They took down two vastly inferior opponents in the hapless Flyers and Sabres and managed to push the Bruins to a SO where they eventually fell, but they also lost the timeless wonder Teemu Selanne after he took an errant high stick to the face.
5. Pittsburgh Penguins (11-4-0, 22 Points) Last Week: 10
Undefeated one week, winless the next, and then back to undefeated. This Penguins team oozes unpredictability. A lot of that unpredictability comes down to Fleury though. In his three wins this week he stopped 78 out of 83 shots (.940 sv%) but in his two losses last week he stopped 39 out of 43 (.907 sv%). As long as Fleury can hover around the middle portion of those sv%’s then the Penguins should see a little more consistency to their win total.
6. Vancouver Canucks (10-5-1, 21 Points) Last Week: 8
Overall it was a great week for the Vancouver organization. They re-signed the Sedin twins to matching 4 year, $28 million contracts, went 2-1-0 in a week filled with quality opponents and it appears that the combination of Luongo and Lack have hit their stride. In the duos previous five games they have not yielded more than two goals in a single game.
7. Boston Bruins (8-5-0, 16 Points) Last Week: 4
All in all it wasn’t a terrible week for the Bruins. Their offense did take a minor step back, failing to score more than two goals in any of their three games, but Rask has consistently proven that he is one of the best goalies in the entire NHL. His 1.73 GAA ranks him 2nd amongst netminders who have started five or more games while his .940 sv% ranks him 4th. Who needs a high powered offense when you have that kind of quality in net?
8. Toronto Maple Leafs (10-5-0, 20 Points) Last Week: 6
It’s time for our daily dose of Corsi with the Leafs! This week they were outshot 133 to 69, which puts their season shot differential at 160 in 15 games. You know what, screw it, it’s working for the Leafs so we all might as well just go with the flow. How can the advanced stats nerds of the world argue against a goal differential of +12? Also, King Jedi Phil Kessel is tied for 4th in the league in points. The force is strong in that one.
9. Phoenix Coyotes (10-3-2, 22 Points) Last Week: 11
This entire post will basically be a love letter to Oliver Ekman-Larsson. If you ever get a chance to watch this kid play then you better well take it, because he might be the closest thing we’ll get to Nicklas Lidstrom in quite a while (unless Brodin develops a shot from the point, then it might be him). He doesn’t dominate on one side of the ice over the other, but instead excels at every single aspect of the game. Nothing boosts the validity of that statement more than the fact that he is in the top fifteen amongst d-men in PP and PK time. No other defenseman even comes close to that.
10. Chicago Blackhawks (9-2-4, 22 Points) Last Week: 13
I was ready to throw the Blackhawks near the top five until Sunday night happened. Throughout the week their offense had decimated opposing defenses, scoring at least five goals in all three games, and on Sunday night they were going up against the 29th worst defensive team in the league in Calgary. Easy win, right? Not right. Reto Berra, a man playing in his first NHL game, stopped 40 Blackhawk shots and took them down in OT. At least they’ll be primed for a rebound as they face three teams ranked 21st or worse in GAA this week.
And then the rest…
11. Tampa Bay Lightning (10-4-0, 20 Points) Last Week: 9
12. Detroit Red Wings (9-4-2, 20 Points) Last Week: 14
13. Minnesota Wild (8-4-3, 19 Points) Last Week: 12
14. LA Kings (9-6-0, 18 Points) Last Week: 7
15. Washington Capitals (7-7-0, 14 Points) Last Week: 16
16. Nashville Predators (7-5-2, 16 Points) Last Week: 17
17. Montreal Canadians (8-7-0, 16 Points) Last Week: 15
18. NY Islanders (6-5-3, 15 Points) Last Week: 20
19. Calgary Flames (6-6-2, 14 Points) Last Week: 18
20. New York Rangers (6-7-0, 12 Points) Last Week: 27
21. Dallas Stars (6-6-2, 14 Points) Last Week: 24
22. Columbus Blue Jackets (5-8-0, 10 Points) Last Week: 21
23. Winnipeg Jets (5-8-2, 12 Points) Last Week: 23
24. Ottawa Senators (4-6-4, 12 Points) Last Week: 29
25. Philadelphia Flyers (4-9-0, 8 Points) Last Week: 26
26. New Jersey Devils (3-7-4, 10 Points) Last Week: 25
27. Carolina Hurricanes (4-7-3, 11 Points) Last Week: 22
28. Edmonton Oilers (3-10-2, 8 Points) Last Week: 28
29. Florida Panthers (3-8-3, 9 Points) Last Week: 29
30. Buffalo Sabres (2-13-1, 5 Points) Last Week: 30