NHL Power Rankings Week 15: The Blackhawks Make a Move

This week, the only change in the East was Buffalo jumping over Carolina. That's it. The East seems to be very clearly separated in tiers of elite (Philadelphia, Boston, Pittsburgh), the challengers (Washington, Rangers, Montreal), the bubble teams (Atlanta, Florida, Tampa Bay), the hangers-on (Buffalo, Carolina), and the basement (Toronto, Ottawa, Islanders, New Jersey).

The West, however, sees Chicago jumps up three spots, the Wild move up two, and the middle of the West gets even more confusing.

Eastern Conference


This Week Last Week Rationale
Rating
Flyers_medium 1 1
The Flyers maintain their spot atop the NHL in this week's poll, but suddenly it is the Bruins who are gaining on them. Boston has a better 5-on-5 ratio and a larger goal differential, but 4 fewer wins.
1.976
 Bruins_medium
2
2
Boston may be in 2nd in the East, but they are going to be given a great opportunity to gain some points this week with games against the Sabres, Avalanche, Kings, and Panthers
1.853
 Penguins_medium
3
3
The Penguins are falling away from Boston in the Power Rankings, but with games against the Devils, Hurricanes, and Islanders this week, there is plenty of opportunity to move up. Even without Sidney Crosby.
1.632
Capitals_medium
4
4
Washington is only one point out of the Southeast Division lead, and two road games against the Islanders and Maple Leafs should help them gain ground in the standings. A matchup in Atlanta next Wednesday could be an important game.
1.239
Rangers_medium
5
5
If asked at the beginning of the season whether the Rangers would be better than the Capitals, the answer would have surely been no. But they have a better goal differential, better 5-on-5 ratio, and more wins. The problem is that they lose in regulation instead of in OT.
1.228
Canadiens_medium 6
6
A 2-1-1 week isn't bad, but the Canadiens can't be happy with their 5-2 loss to Pittsburgh or their 2-1 OT loss to Buffalo. They're even at 5-on-5 and only plus-5 in goal differential. A good team, certainly. They just need to score more than 2.49 goals per game, which is 26th best in the NHL.
1.170
Thrashers_medium
7
7
The Thrashers continue to hang around the playoff picture despite a minus-7 goal differential, a 1.01 five-on-five ratio, and a 3.10 goals against per game (25th best) mark. It's a big divisional week for them, with two games against the Lightning and one against the Capitals.
1.052
Panthers_medium 8
8
The Panthers continue to have a positive goal differential and a positive 5-on-5 ratio, but an inability to record points. They played three straight 3-2 games last week, going 2-0-1. They'll need to take points from Columbus, Tampa, and New Jersey next week because they also face the Rangers and Bruins. Rough schedule, with a game every other day.
1.036
Lightning_medium
9
9
The Lightning continue to lead the Southeast, and they continue to be an enigma. There isn't much different from Tampa Bay and Calgary, except Tampa somehow keeps winning. A 3-0 win over Washington is followed by a 5-2 loss to New Jersey. Who are these guys?
1.025
Sabres_medium 10
11
The Sabres went 2-1-0 last week, but I still don't see them making much noise. There's definitely room for them to move up, but the playoffs are probably not in their future.
0.920
Hurricanes_medium 11
10
Carolina sits 3 points out of a playoff spot with two games in hand, but back-to-back losses to the Bruins didn't help. The combined 10-2 score was also not a good indicator.
0.880
Maple_leafs_medium
12
12
The Leafs went 0-1-1 last week, and while they are still closer to the bottom than the top, and with five games this week (NYR, ANA, WAS, CAR, TB) they don't have an easy road ahead.
0.717
Senators_medium 13
13
The Senators went 1-2-1, beating only the Islanders. They're not quite as bad as the Oilers yet, but they are well on their way.
0.611
Islanders_medium
14
14
There isn't much to say about the Islanders - they lost to both the Senators and Devils this week. When presented with the opportunity to have a good week, they squander it. Now they get 5 games in 7 days. 0.510
Devils_medium 
15 15
The Devils actually went 2-0-1 last week on the road, but this week they face Florida, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, and Detroit. If they get 3 points, they should be incredibly happy with their week.
0.354

 

Western Conference


This Week Last Week Rationale
Rating
Canucks_medium
1 1
The Canucks went 1-2-1 on the road last week, losing the momentum which saw them pull so close to the Flyers last week. They have a four-game homestand this week to gain some of that back against San Jose, Calgary, Dallas, and Nashville. They will probably look for 6 points this week.
1.767
Red_wings_medium
2
2
Detroit is going with Joey MacDonald in net. That's not very good. At least they get to face the Devils next Wednesday.
1.500
Stars_medium
3
3
Dallas is gaining on Detroit, and they sit just one point back of 2nd place in the West. Definitely a team that is for real, even if unexpected.
1.450
 Blackhawks_medium 4
7
The Blackhawks are the big winners of the week, as they move up three spots. A 2-0-1 week will do that, especially when they average 4 goals a game in the three.
1.346
Avalanche_medium 5
4
Colorado had a big win over Vancouver to close their week, but they finished even in goal differential. That sees them sitting at only a plus-6 on the year. Still a good team, just second-tier in the West. 1.330
Coyotes_medium 6
5
Phoenix started the week off right (outscoring Toronto and Anaheim 11-3) but lost to San Jose and Nashville. They sit barely above Nashville here, but behind the Predators in the standings.
1.263
Predators_medium 7
6
Nashville is hurt in the Power Rankings due to their 5 shootout wins. As a result, they are barely below Phoenix, despite having more points, more wins, and fewer games. Can't rely on the shootout in the playoffs, remember.
1.253
Kings_medium 8
8
The Kings just continue to disappoint. They have the same goal differential as the Rangers, with a barely lower 5-on-5 ratio. And they've played fewer games. But the Kings just can't seem to collect points, only getting two in their last 5 games. 1.076
Blues_medium 9
10
The Blues went 2-2 last week, but still moved up. They're still within striking distance of the playoffs, but the Blackhawks are hot right now. They will need the Ducks to fall out of the playoffs.
0.971
Wild_medium 10
12
The Wild see themselves three points behind the Avalanche in the Northwest, and while they aren't particularly great, they do know how to get points. Without a shootout win, the Wild are getting 1.11 points per game, the same as the Rangers, Predators, and Avalanche.
0.953
Ducks_medium 11
9
The Ducks slid backwards, even though they went 2-1-1. A roadtrip through Toronto, Montreal, and Columbus awaits, and they should be able to get some points. And yes, they're still in 5th in the standings.
0.941
 Sharks_medium 12
11
San Jose is another team on the bubble, sitting in 10th place, 3 points out. They're even in the goal differential, but their 4th-ranked PP is keeping them afloat. A matchup with Vancouver tomorrow looms though.
0.917
Flames_medium 13
13
Calgary may be 13th in the West, but they are 23rd in the League. Yes, the bottom of the East is that bad. The best thing about Calgary is their even 5-on-5 ratio.
0.891
Blue_jackets_medium 14
14
The Blue Jackets have only won 3 of their past 10, they have the second worst goal differential in the West, and they are buoyed by 4 shootout wins. Such high hopes, so little execution.
0.832
Oilers_medium
15 15
The Oilers went 1-3 last week, and have only won twice in their last 10. And yet they are almost better than the Senators.
0.604

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