Just a week into the new year, a handful of teams have emerged as contenders while others have fallen from grace. Here are your Pure Sports NHL week 15 power rankings.
- Vegas Golden Knights (29-10-2. Last week’s rank — No. 2)
Despite the St. Louis Blues ending Vegas’ historic 13-point streak, the Golden Knights have bounced back and won two straight. Impressive resilience for an expansion team.
- Tampa Bay Lightning (30-9-3. Last week’s rank — No. 1)
The Lightning suffered surprising, and frankly embarrassing losses to the Montreal Canadiens and Ottawa Senators last week. Still, this roster possesses more skill than any other in the NHL.
- Washington Capitals (26-13-3. Last week’s rank — No. 5)
The Caps have won four in a row, scoring four or more goals in each of those wins and carding W’s over top teams like the Boston Bruins and St. Louis Blues.
- Winnipeg Jets (25-11-7. Last week’s rank — No. 4)
The Jets would be on a six-game winning streak right now if they hadn’t run into the red-hot Colorado Avalanche, and despite losing point-per-game scorer Mark Scheifele, Winnipeg put up four goals on the stingy San Jose Sharks defense yesterday.
- Boston Bruins (23-10-7. Last week’s rank — No. 8)
Not only are the Boston Bruins winning games, they’re blowing teams out of the water. Their margin of victory in each of their last four wins has been at least four goals.
- Nashville Predators (24-11-6. Last week’s rank — No. 3)
- Los Angeles Kings (24-13-5. Last week’s rank — No. 7)
After an impressive start to the season, the Kings have started to even out. They are still struggling to consistently beat their division opponents, as they lost to Calgary last week.
- Dallas Stars (24-16-3. Last week’s rank — No. 9)
The Stars have won four of their last five, scoring four or more goals in each of those wins. Their mixture of veteran, star forwards and exciting, young skaters is starting to come together.
- St. Louis Blues (26-16-3. Last week’s rank — No. 12)
The Blues are slowly (very, very slowly) learning to play without Jaden Schwartz. Granted, it’s hard to lose that dangerous of a point-scorer. The Blues picked up quality wins against the Devils and Golden Knights last week.
- Toronto Maple Leafs (25-16-2. Last week’s rank — No. 10)
The Maple Leafs have bounced back with two-straight wins after suffering a three-game losing streak to the Avalanche, Lightning and Golden Knights — teams no one wants to play right now.
- New York Rangers (22-15-5. Last week’s rank — No. 11)
Last week the Rangers picked up wins against the Sabres and the Coyotes on the shoulders of Henrik Lundqvist. Relying on your goalie to beat the worst two teams in the league is troubling.
- New Jersey Devils (22-11-8. Last week’s rank — No. 6)
The inexperience of the Devils is starting to show in a big way. New Jersey has dropped five games in a row. Cory Schneider and a couple young, skilled forwards can only take them so far.
- Colorado Avalanche (22-16-3. Last week’s rank — 20)
The Avalanche are the Florida Panthers of last week’s power rankings, as they’ve won five in a row over teams such as the Winnipeg Jets and the Maple Leafs behind the stellar play of Nathan MacKinnon.
- Columbus Blue Jackets (24-16-3. Last week’s rank — No. 15)
- Anaheim Ducks (19-15-9. Last week’s rank — No. 16)
- Minnesota Wild (22-17-3. Last week’s rank — No. 19)
Despite allowing less goals than the league average, the Wild have struggled to produce offensively. However, Minnesota has won four of its last six games, scoring four or more goals in each of those wins — a promising sign for the Wild.
- San Jose Sharks (21-13-6. Last week’s rank — No. 13)
The Sharks have lost three in a row and have allowed 10 goals in their last two games, which is troubling for a team that relies on its defense.
- Philadelphia Flyers (19-15-8. Last week’s rank — No. 23)
The Flyers are flying. Philly has won three in a row and scored 16 goals in each of those wins. If the rest of the team can continue to add to the stellar contributions of the top-line, this team could sneak into the playoffs.
- Calgary Flames (21-16-4. Last week’s rank — No. 21)
The big boys have stepped up in Calgary and the Flames are back on a winning path as a result. Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan each have three game points streaks, leading the Flames to a three-game win streak.
- Pittsburgh Penguins (22-19-3. Last week’s rank — No. 24)
This Penguins team is tough to figure out. In back-to-back games, the Pens got embarrassed by the Hurricanes, then turned around and dismantled the Islanders the next day. They’ve won three of their last four, but until they can find more consistency on both sides of the puck, there’s still some cause for concern in Pittsburgh.
- Carolina Hurricanes (19-14-8. Last week’s rank — No. 14)
After winning four in a row, things have started to turn around in Carolina — in the wrong direction. The Canes have lost three of their last four and Sebastian Aho suffered an injury in their most recent loss to the Bruins.
- Chicago Blackhawks (20-15-6. Last week’s rank — No. 22)
Jonathan Toews is on a four-game point streak and is actually playing like Jonathan Toews. The Hawks are starting to play better as a whole, too, winning two of their last three with the loss coming to the Golden Knights by one goal.
- New York Islanders (21-18-4. Last week’s rank — No. 17)
Yikes. The Isles have lost five of their last six and can’t prevent goals from going in their net. Their goaltending, from Jaroslav Halak to Thomas Greiss, has been terrible, and losing Calvin de Haan for the remainder of the season will be a big blow.
- Detroit Red Wings (17-17-7. Last week’s rank — No. 25)
The Red Wings have actually won four of their last five, with the only loss coming to Tampa Bay. However, it’s hard to find the goal-scoring on this roster that can sustain that success, as they have only four double-digit goal scorers.
- Florida Panthers (17-18-6. Last week’s rank — No. 18)
It seems that the Panthers five-game winning streak, along with James Reimer’s incredible play, was a fluke. Florida’s lost three in a row since then and giving up an average of four goals in those games.
- Montreal Canadiens (18-20-4. Last week’s rank — No. 28)
Remarkably, Montreal beat the Lightning last week. Don’t get carried away though, that win was solely thanks to Carey Price, who posted a 44-save game. Price can only steal so many games.
- Ottawa Senators (14-17-9. Last week’s rank — No. 29)
The offense in Ottawa has exploded in their last two games as the Sens have posted back-to-back six-goal games. They’ve dug a deep hole to get out of, though.
- Edmonton Oilers (18-22-3. Last week’s rank — No. 26)
The Oilers have lost six of their last seven games and haven’t looked worse all season. Edmonton’s lost by a combined 17 goals in their last four losses. Not bad for a preseason cup favorite, eh?
- Vancouver Canucks (16-20-6. Last week’s rank — No. 27)
The magic of Brock Boeser is starting to fade, and the Canucks have lost four in a row as a result.
- Buffalo Sabres (10-23-9. Last week’s rank — No. 30)
The Sabres have lost four in a row and have proven to be the worst offensive team in the league. Seriously, they have two competent goal scorers … two.
- Arizona Coyotes (10-27-6. Last week’s rank — No. 31)
Hey, they beat the Predators the other day.