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Nov 24, 2014

NHL Power Rankings - December 1, 2014

Steven Stamkos and Jason Garrison

The Tampa Bay Lightning are the new number one team in the TSN.ca NHL Power Rankings, with the return of Victor Hedman lifting them above the a trio of Central Division teams -- the Nashville Predators, St. Louis Blues and Chicago Blackhawks.

Moving up this week, New York Rangers, getting Ryan McDonagh back from injury, go from 22 to 17 and the Florida Panthers jump from 24 to 19 while the Colorado Avalanche rise from 25 to 21.

Teams from the Metropolitan Division are heading in the other direction. The Washington Capitals drop from 18 to 22 after Saturday's beatdown in Toronto, the slumping Philadelphia Flyers drop from 19 to 23 and the New Jersey Devils are down from 20 to 24.

As for Canadian clubs, the Montreal Canadiens and Vancouver Canucks hold the last two spots of the Top 10, while the Calgary Flames are at 12. The Toronto Maple Leafs hold steady at 15, three spots ahead of the Winnipeg Jets, at 18 and the Ottawa Senators slide to 25.

The Edmonton Oilers, winless in nine, have taken up residence in the basement.

 

Tampa Bay Lightning

16-6-2 | This Week: 1 Last Week: 5

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    3.50
  • GAPG
    2.58
  • FENCLOSE%
    54.1%
  • PP%
    24.4%
  • PK%
    79.8%

The Lightning have won three straight, but the return of D Victor Hedman to the lineup is what drives their move up to top spot. They're also one of six teams with 34 points in the standings, and rank third in goal differential, behind Pittsburgh and Chicago.

Key Injuries: None.

Nashville Predators

16-5-2 | This Week: 2 Last Week: 3

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    2.65
  • GAPG
    1.96
  • FENCLOSE%
    54.0%
  • PP%
    12.2%
  • PK%
    77.4%

Mike Fisher is back in the Nashville lineup, playing his first couple games of the season following an Achilles injury, and they have two regulation losses in the past 11 games. 

Key Injuries: None.

St. Louis Blues

16-6-2 | This Week: 3 Last Week: 1

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    2.62
  • GAPG
    2.04
  • FENCLOSE%
    52.6%
  • PP%
    22.9%
  • PK%
    79.2%

14-3-1 in the past 18 games, the Blues' on-ice performance has been worthy of top spot, where they were ranked in the previous two weeks, but with D Jay Bouwmeester and G Brian Elliott hurt, the lineup isn't at the peak of its powers. If nothing else, the Elliott injury does make for interesting times now that it appears future-Hall-of-Famer and recently-subpar goaltender Martin Brodeur will be joining the Blues.

Key Injuries: D Jay Bouwmeester (lower body), G Brian Elliott (lower body).

Chicago Blackhawks

15-8-1| This Week: 4 Last Week: 4

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    2.96
  • GAPG
    2.00
  • FENCLOSE
    55.3%
  • PP%
    19.2%
  • PK%
    91.3%

Six wins in the past seven games -- including their most recent, a pair of impressive wins in Southern California -- has the Blackhawks looking like a top tier team once again, thanks in large part to a surge of second line offence from Kris Versteeg, Brad Richards and Patrick Kane.

Key Injuries: LW Patrick Sharp (lower body).

Pittsburgh Penguins

16-5-2 | This Week: 5 Last Week: 2

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    3.44
  • GAPG
    2.35
  • FENCLOSE%
    52.1%
  • PP%
    31.6%
  • PK%
    84.9%

Pulled out a 3-2 win in Carolina Saturday, snapping a streak of five games without a regulation win, an while the Penguins aren't playing poorly, they're also missing a few notables.

Key Injuries: RW Pascal Dupuis (blood clot), D Kris Letang (lower body).

New York Islanders

17-7 | This Week: 6 Last Week: 7

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    3.00
  • GAPG
    2.71
  • FENCLOSE%
    55.0%
  • PP%
    19.1%
  • PK%
    74.6%

12-2 in the past 4 games, the Islanders are a top-tier possession team, with a goaltender (Jaroslav Halak) coming off a month in which he stopped 95.0% of the shots he faced. That'll work.

Key Injuries: RW Michael Grabner (lower body), D Johnny Boychuk (upper body).

Detroit Red Wings

14-5-5 | This Week: 7 Last Week: 9

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    3.04
  • GAPG
    2.42
  • FENCLOSE%
    51.5%
  • PP%
    22.7%
  • PK%
    86.0%

Six wins in seven games, with a relatively healthy roster, and even getting production (3 G, 2 A in 5 GP) from Stephen Weiss, puts the Wings within a point of first place in the league.

Key Injuries: LW Justin Abdelkader (shoulder).

Anaheim Ducks

14-6-5 | This Week: 8 Last Week: 6

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    2.60
  • GAPG
    2.52
  • FENCLOSE%
    50.7%
  • PP%
    17.5%
  • PK%
    84.2%

Only two regulation wins in the past 12 games, as injuries and mumps continue to plague the roster, the Ducks have taken seven of those 12 games beyond 60 minutes; the key to accruing points in the standings, even if the team isn't winning.

Key Injuries: D Francois Beauchemin (finger), D Ben Lovejoy (hand).

Montreal Canadiens

16-7-2 | This Week: 9 Last Week: 9

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    2.44
  • GAPG
    2.48
  • FENCLOSE%
    50.4%
  • PP%
    13.2%
  • PK%
    84.1%

Tough times when a home-and-home affair with the Buffalo Sabres results in just one point in the standings and now a three-game winless streak kicks off a four-game Western Conference road trip. 

Key Injuries: None.

Vancouver Canucks

16-7-1 | This Week: 10 Last Week: 12

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    3.04
  • GAPG
    2.71
  • FENCLOSE%
    51.4%
  • PP%
    18.4%
  • PK%
    84.2%

It is rather remarkable how the Canucks' secondary scorers have contributed this season. There are six players on the team with at least six goals in 24 games (a 20-plus goal pace) and that list includes: Jannik Hansen, Nick Bonino, Lindey Vey and Alex Burrows. It does not include Daniel Sedin, who has four.

Key Injuries: D Dan Hamhuis (lower body).

Minnesota Wild

13-9-1 | This Week: 11 Last Week: 8

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    2.78
  • GAPG
    2.35
  • FENCLOSE%
    55.7%
  • PP%
    9.6%
  • PK%
    88.7%

With Darcy Kuemper struggling (.900 SV% in 11 games in November), is 36-year-old Niklas Backstrom (.925 SV% in six games in November) working his way back into the crease?

Key Injuries: LW Matt Cooke (lower body).

Calgary Flames

15-8-2 | This Week: 12 Last Week: 12

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    3.00
  • GAPG
    2.52
  • FENCLOSE%
    45.5%
  • PP%
    21.2%
  • PK%
    75.0%

G Karri Ramo stopped 58 shots in back-to-back shutouts at San Jose and Arizona, and it's kind of funny because, for all the praise being heaped on Jonas Hiller for improving Calgary's goaltending, Ramo has the better save percentage (.919 to .913).

Key Injuries: LW Mason Raymond (upper body), C Joe Colborne (upper body), C Matt Stajan (knee), C Mikael Backlund (abdomen).

Los Angeles Kings

12-7-5 | This Week: 13 Last Week: 13

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    2.67
  • GAPG
    2.25
  • FENCLOSE%
    50.2%
  • PP%
    16.5%
  • PK%
    84.3%

It seems almost inconceivable that the Kings could be struggling to this degree, but they are middle of the pack when it comes to puck possession and C Anze Kopitar, who still has solid possession stats, has only managed 10 points (5 G, 5 A) in 21 games. 

Key Injuries: D Slava Voynov (suspension), D Alec Martinez (finger), LW Marian Gaborik (undisclosed).

Boston Bruins

14-9-1 | This Week: 14 Last Week: 14

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    2.46
  • GAPG
    2.42
  • FENCLOSE%
    52.1%
  • PP%
    18.6%
  • PK%
    78.4%

Two regulation wins in the past eight games or a Bruins team that is grinding its way through injuries to top players, but they have had opportunities to give prospects a look, the latest being 2014 first-rounder David Pastrnak, who played with Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand last game.

Key Injuries: D Zdeno Chara (knee), D Adam McQuaid (thumb), C David Krejci (hip).

Toronto Maple Leafs

12-8-3 | This Week: 15 Last Week: 15

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    3.30
  • GAPG
    2.96
  • FENCLOSE%
    47.4%
  • PP%
    21.2%
  • PK%
    83.5%

All of Toronto's last four wins have come by a margin of at least three goals, and it's games like those that start to raise expectations because the Leafs look good when they start piling up the goals and they are up to third in the league with 3.30 goals per game.

Key Injuries: D Roman Polak (ankle).

San Jose Sharks

11-10-4 | This Week: 16 Last Week: 16

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    2.64
  • GAPG
    2.64
  • FENCLOSE%
    50.8%
  • PP%
    23.8%
  • PK%
    82.9%

Saturday's win over Anaheim ended a four-game winless slide, but the Sharks have an opportunity to recover from this mediocre start because seven of their next nine are at home (and the two road games are in Alberta).

Key Injuries: Raffi Torres (knee).

New York Rangers

11-8-4 | This Week: 17 Last Week: 22

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    2.91
  • GAPG
    2.61
  • FENCLOSE%
    49.4%
  • PP%
    16.9%
  • PK%
    80.0%

Four wins in the past five games and a blueline that now has a healthy Ryan McDonagh (along with a healthy Dan Boyle) might help provide some stability because, thus far, it's been an up-and-down start to the season.

Key Injuries: None.

Winnipeg Jets

12-9-4 | This Week: 18 Last Week: 17

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    2.00
  • GAPG
    2.16
  • FENCLOSE%
    50.3%
  • PP%
    12.0%
  • PK%
    85.4%

Backup G Michael Hutchinson is going to force his way into more playing time at this rate, posting a .947 save percentage in eight games, but the Jets continue to ask a lot of their goaltenders with the league's second-lowest goal output (2.00 per game).

Key Injuries: D Tobias Enstrom (lower body), C Bryan Little (knee).

Florida Panthers

9-6-6 | This Week: 19 Last Week: 24

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    2.10
  • GAPG
    2.38
  • FENCLOSE%
    50.3%
  • PP%
    14.7%
  • PK%
    80.0%

The Panthers are hanging around, with eight games going beyond 60 minutes, and only six regulation losses, but their lack of offence -- especially from Aleksander Barkov (2 G, 2 A in 18 GP) -- is a concern.

Key Injuries: C Dave Bolland (lower body), G Roberto Luongo (upper body), RW Scottie Upshall (ankle).

Dallas Stars

9-10-5 | This Week: 20 Last Week: 21

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    2.88
  • GAPG
    3.46
  • FENCLOSE%
    50.0%
  • PP%
    14.5%
  • PK%
    78.6%

In non-Lindback starts, the Stars haven't been too bad, posting a 9-5-5 record, but it's not easy rolling out a goaltender with an .861 save percentage. 

Key Injuries: RW Valeri Nichushkin (groin).

Colorado Avalanche

9-10-5 | This Week: 21 Last Week: 25

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    2.58
  • GAPG
    3.04
  • FENCLOSE%
    45.3%
  • PP%
    13.4%
  • PK%
    87.4%

5-2 in the past seven games, the Avalanche had been running into goaltending problems with Semyon Varlamov hurt, but rookie Calvin Pickard (.931 SV% in 6 GP) has plugged the hole and helped the Avalanche get moving in the right direction.

Key Injuries: G Semyon Varlamov (groin), D Brad Stuart (hamstring), LW Jamie McGinn (back).

Washington Capitals

10-9-4 | This Week: 22 Last Week: 18

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    2.78
  • GAPG
    2.74
  • FENCLOSE%
    52.3%
  • PP%
    28.8%
  • PK%
    77.5%

Interesting to see the Capitals giving second-year RW Tom Wilson a turn on the first line with Nicklas Backstrom and Alex Ovechkin. Wilson has fought in each of the last three games, which is probably too much, but has five points (2 G, 3 A) in 13 games this year after 10 points (3 G, 7 A) in 82 games as a rookie.

Key Injuries: D Mike Green (upper body).

Philadelphia Flyers

8-12-3 | This Week: 23 Last Week: 19

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    2.65
  • GAPG
    3.09
  • FENCLOSE%
    47.0%
  • PP%
    22.2%
  • PK%
    73.8%

One win in the past eight games and the Flyers have resorted to making D Andrew MacDonald a healthy scratch. Not the best circumstances under which to embark on a road trip to California.

Key Injuries: D Kimmo Timonen (blood clots).

New Jersey Devils

9-11-4 | This Week: 24 Last Week: 20

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    2.38
  • GAPG
    2.83
  • FENCLOSE%
    48.5%
  • PP%
    20.6%
  • PK%
    74.7%

One win in the past seven, and the Devils have signed C Scott Gomez, a centre who has scored six goals in 123 games over the past three NHL seasons. Hard to imagine that he's the answer to the questions around this team.

Key Injuries: LW Ryane Clowe (concussion), D Jon Merrill (arm), D Bryce Salvador (lower body), C Travis Zajac (lower body).

Ottawa Senators

10-9-4 | This Week: 25 Last Week: 23

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    2.56
  • GAPG
    2.65
  • FENCLOSE%
    44.8%
  • PP%
    20.2%
  • PK%
    82.4%

One regulation win in the past 11 games and the second-worst possession stats in the league, ahead of only Buffalo, make things look a whole lot worse than the Senators' mediocre record.

Key Injuries: C Marc Methot (back), RW Bobby Ryan (finger), 

Arizona Coyotes

9-12-3 | This Week: 26 Last Week: 26

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    2.29
  • GAPG
    3.04
  • FENCLOSE%
    47.6%
  • PP%
    19.3%
  • PK%
    79.2%

Six straight without a regulation win and owners of the second-worst goal differential in the Western Conference. 

Key Injuries: RW David Moss (upper body).

Carolina Hurricanes

7-13-3 | This Week: 27 Last Week: 28

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    2.35
  • GAPG
    2.87
  • FENCLOSE%
    51.9%
  • PP%
    22.1%
  • PK%
    83.1%

D Justin Faulk is driving some offence, with 13 points (3 G, 10 A) in 15 games in November, generating 3.40 shots on goal per game.

Key Injuries: C Jordan Staal (fibula).

Buffalo Sabres

8-14-2 | This Week: 28 Last Week: 30

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    1.67
  • GAPG
    3.12
  • FENCLOSE%
    37.0%
  • PP%
    7.2%
  • PK%
    77.0%

Surely, the Sabres are still the worst team in the league, but they have won five of their past six games and that can't be ignored.

Key Injuries: G Michal Neuvirth (lower body), D Josh Gorges (lower body).

Columbus Blue Jackets

6-15-2 | This Week: 29 Last Week: 27

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    2.26
  • GAPG
    3.56
  • FENCLOSE%
    47.5%
  • PP%
    22.5%
  • PK%
    75.9%

2-12-2 in the past 16 games, the Blue Jackets have just been crushed by injuries and are starting at a high lottery pick. If nothing else, at least Columbus' circumstances (as opposed to outright tanking) make them a more appealing lottery winner if this direction continues all season.

Key Injuries: RW Nathan Horton (back), C Brandon Dubinsky (abdominal), C Mark Letestu (groin), D Ryan Murray (knee), D Fedor Tyutin (lower body), C Artem Anisimov (triceps).

Edmonton Oilers

6-14-4 | This Week: 30 Last Week: 29

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    2.25
  • GAPG
    3.38
  • FENCLOSE%
    49.5%
  • PP%
    12.0%
  • PK%
    82.4%

Winless in nine, the Oilers' season is pretty much going down the drain and there may not be a franchise whose fan base is less inclined to accept it. It's one thing to sink for a few years, get high picks and turn the corner. It's another for a team to have already missed the playoffs for eight seasons, stockpiled young talent and still have no hope in the ninth season.

Key Injuries: LW Benoit Pouliot (foot).

Notes: While all injuries are taken into account, those listed as key injuries include top nine forwards, top four defencemen and starting goaltenders.

GPG - Goals Per Game, GAPG - Goals Against Per Game

FENCLOSE% - Fenwick Close Percentage. The percentage of unblocked shot attempts, during 5-on-5 play, relative to the opposition. 

PP% - Power Play%

PK% - Penalty Kill%

Much of the data included comes from great modern stats sites www.war-on-ice.comwww.puckalytics.comwww.hockeystats.ca and www.naturalstattrick.com

Follow Scott Cullen on Twitter at http://twitter.com/tsnscottcullen and e-mail him at Scott.Cullen@bellmedia.ca.