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MORE From TSN'S Hockey COLUMNISTS

Jan 4

Panthers, Ducks gaining in NHL Power Rankings

Jaromir Jagr

The Dallas Stars hang on to the top spot in the TSN.ca NHL Power Rankings, ahead of the Los Angeles Kings and Washington Capitals, but there were a couple of big movers in this week's rankings: the Florida Panthers and Anaheim Ducks.

The Panthers have won nine straight and, further bolstered by the return of centre Nick Bjugstad, vault from 16 in pre-Christmas rankings up to seven in the latest update.

Anaheim was one of the biggest disappointments early in the season but, quietly, the Ducks are turning into a shutdown defensive squad and they are 4-0-2 in the past six games, leading to a jump from 24 to 17.

The top-ranked Canadian team, the Montreal Canadiens, move from 10 to eight, due largely to the return of top-line winger Brendan Gallagher. The Winnipeg Jets move up two, to 16, and the Ottawa Senators slide four, to 18.

The Calgary Flames and Toronto Maple Leafs are up one spot, to 22 and 24, respectively, while the Vancouver Canucks bump up three spots, to 26 and the Edmonton Oilers slide from 22 to 28.

Other teams falling in this week's rankings include the Boston Bruins, from five to nine, Minnesota Wild, from seven to 11, and New York Rangers, from nine to 13.

  

Dallas Stars

28-9-4 This Week: 1 Last Week: 1

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    3.49
  • GAPG
    2.56
  • S.A. CORSI%
    53.2%
  • PP%
    22.9%
  • PK%
    80.0%

The Stars have been slipping, winning twice in the past six games, but it seems to be happening at a fortuitous time - for rankings purposes, anyway -- because top challenger Washington is currently rolling without their number one defenceman.

Key Injuries: RW Ales Hemsky (foot).

Los Angeles Kings

25-11-2 This Week: 2 Last Week: 4

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    2.68
  • GAPG
    2.16
  • S.A. CORSI%
    56.8%
  • PP%
    20.2%
  • PK%
    83.2%

The Kings' power play has come alive, going 6-for-15 (40.0%) and Jonathan Quick has hit a hot stretch, posting a .954 save percentage, during L.A.'s current five-game winning streak. 

Key Injuries: D Matt Greene (shoulder), C Jeff Carter (upper body).

Washington Capitals

28-7-3 This Week: 3 Last Week: 2

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    3.13
  • GAPG
    2.16
  • S.A. CORSI%
    51.2%
  • PP%
    25.6%
  • PK%
    84.7%

A nine-game winning streak had the Capitals poised to take over top spot, but with John Carlson injured, there are enough concerns on the blueline that the ascension will have to hold off for at least this week.

Key Injuries: D Brooks Orpik (lower body), D John Carlson (lower body), C Jay Beagle (upper body).

St. Louis Blues

23-14-4 This Week: 4 Last Week: 3

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    2.41
  • GAPG
    2.41
  • S.A. CORSI%
    52.1%
  • PP%
    21.4%
  • PK%
    86.3%

Held to one goal in three of the past four games, all of which ended on the wrong side of the won-loss ledger, the Blues welcome Patrik Berglund back to the lineup, but could use more from virtually every forward aside from RW Vladimir Tarasenko and LW Alexander Steen, who have been excellent.

Key Injuries: LW Jaden Schwartz (ankle).

Chicago Blackhawks

23-13-4 This Week: 5 Last Week: 7

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    2.75
  • GAPG
    2.43
  • S.A. CORSI
    52.4%
  • PP%
    23.6%
  • PK%
    81.4%

Six of the Blackhawks' past 11 games have ended in a shutout, one way or the other. Good news for the Blackhawks is that four of those shutouts have been credited to Corey Crawford, who already has a career-high (and league-leading) six.

Key Injuries: None.

New York Islanders

22-13-5 This Week: 6 Last Week: 8

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    2.75
  • GAPG
    2.43
  • S.A. CORSI%
    50.0%
  • PP%
    18.8%
  • PK%
    85.6%

Isles could stand to tighten up some defensively, as they've allowed 127 shots on goal in the past three games. With their big offensive guns struggling, they can't afford to get into trading chances like that.

Key Injuries: G Jaroslav Halak (upper body), D Johnny Boychuk (upper body).

Florida Panthers

23-12-4 This Week: 7 Last Week: 16

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    2.59
  • GAPG
    2.15
  • S.A. CORSI%
    49.5%
  • PP%
    17.4%
  • PK%
    81.5%

Winners of nine straight, the Panthers have allowed just 11 goals, total, in those nine wins. As they embark on a six-game road trip, Florida also received lineup boost last game with C Nick Bjugstad returning to the lineup for the first time since late November.

Key Injuries: None.

Montreal Canadiens

22-15-3 This Week: 8 Last Week: 10

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    2.85
  • GAPG
    2.45
  • S.A. CORSI%
    53.4%
  • PP%
    18.8%
  • PK%
    84.8%

December was a disaster for the Habs, as they posted a 3-11 record, but getting RW Brendan Gallagher back from injury ought to help an offence that was bordering on inept.  

Key Injuries: G Carey Price (leg), RW Dale Weise (upper body).

Boston Bruins

20-13-4 This Week: 9 Last Week: 5

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    3.08
  • GAPG
    2.73
  • S.A. CORSI%
    50.0%
  • PP%
    28.6%
  • PK%
    82.4%

The Bruins have lost four of five and could be missing the offensive punch provided by C David Krejci. They also sent RW David Pastrnak to the AHL upon his return from the World Junior Tournament, where he had four points in four games for the Czech Republic.

Key Injuries: C David Krejci (upper body).

Nashville Predators

19-13-7 This Week: 10 Last Week: 11

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    2.59
  • GAPG
    2.59
  • S.A. CORSI%
    53.6%
  • PP%
    20.3%
  • PK%
    77.4%

One regulation win in the past five for a Predators team that needs more from their forwards, especially the supporting cast like Colin Wilson, Craig Smith and Mike Fisher, all of whom were much more productive last season.

Key Injuries: None.

Minnesota Wild

20-11-7 This Week: 11 Last Week: 7

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    2.66
  • GAPG
    2.34
  • S.A. CORSI%
    49.2%
  • PP%
    18.6%
  • PK%
    78.7%

He can still score some, but LW Thomas Vanek isn't doing the Wild's possession game any favours. Over the past couple of seasons, he ranks in the bottom 10 in relative possession among forwards that have played more than 1000 five-on-five minutes, and none of the others have nearly the offensive zone tilt that Vanek has received.

Key Injuries: None.

Detroit Red Wings

19-13-7 This Week: 12 Last Week: 12

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    2.54
  • GAPG
    2.67
  • S.A. CORSI%
    51.3%
  • PP%
    18.3%
  • PK%
    79.1%

Four wins in the past dozen games, and the next five are on the road and that includes the California swing, so Detroit's playoff position can currently be classified as precarious.

Key Injuries: LW Johan Franzen (concussion), D Kyle Quincey (ankle), RW Teemu Pulkkinen (shoulder).

New York Rangers

21-14-4 This Week: 13 Last Week: 9

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    2.85
  • GAPG
    2.59
  • S.A. CORSI%
    48.5%
  • PP%
    19.0%
  • PK%
    80.0%

The Rangers have four regulation wins in the past 18 games, as it appears their subpar possession game can't withstand a goaltending slump. Also taking blame lately, is second-year forward Kevin Hayes, who has no goals and three assists in his past 16 games and has been a healthy scratch for a couple of games.

Key Injuries: None.

Pittsburgh Penguins

16-14-3 This Week: 14 Last Week: 15

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    2.37
  • GAPG
    2.37
  • S.A. CORSI%
    50.2%
  • PP%
    18.6%
  • PK%
    84.1%

Getting healthy and, since Mike Sullivan took over behind the bench, the Penguins are controlling play (55.4% score-adjusted possession in 10 games) so, not surprisingly, the wins are starting to come; Pittsburgh is 4-1-1 in the past six games.

Key Injuries: RW Beau Bennett (upper body).

Tampa Bay Lightning

19-16-4 This Week: 15 Last Week: 13

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    2.51
  • GAPG
    2.36
  • S.A. CORSI%
    52.1%
  • PP%
    19.1%
  • PK%
    79.5%

It's been a month since the Lightning last earned regulation wins in back-to-back games, and they're spinning their wheels outside of a playoff position at the moment. In the bigger picture, the latest concerns with LW Jonathan Drouin add fuel to the fire that there is something not right in Tampa Bay, where Martin St. Louis wanted out and Steven Stamkos remains unsigned as unrestricted free agency looms.

Key Injuries: None.

Winnipeg Jets

18-19-2 This Week: 16 Last Week: 18

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    2.67
  • GAPG
    2.90
  • S.A. CORSI%
    51.9%
  • PP%
    13.9%
  • PK%
    76.3%

Can't build any kind of momentum, and a power play that is 2-for-30 (6.7%) in the past 10 games isn't helping matters. For a team with its own discipline issues (with the league's highest average shorthanded time on ice per game), it would ease some pressure to take advantage when given the opportunity on the power play.

Key Injuries: G Ondrej Pavelec (knee).

Anaheim Ducks

16-15-7 This Week: 17 Last Week: 24

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    1.89
  • GAPG
    2.32
  • S.A. CORSI%
    53.6%
  • PP%
    20.0%
  • PK%
    88.6%

The Ducks are still having trouble scoring, so they've simply decided that they won't allow teams to shoot on them any more. They are 4-0-2 in the past six, a stretch during which they have allowed 21.3 shots per game. Since the start of December, they also boast league-best score-adjusted possession rates.

Key Injuries: D Simon Despres (upper body), D Cam Fowler (knee).

Ottawa Senators

18-15-6 This Week: 18 Last Week: 14

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    2.77
  • GAPG
    2.92
  • S.A. CORSI%
    46.2%
  • PP%
    18.2%
  • PK%
    76.5%

The Sens have lost five of six and, amazingly, their puck possession is getting worse, 44.6% since December 1.

Key Injuries: LW Clarke MacArthur (concussion), LW Milan Michalek (finger), D Cody Ceci (upper body).

San Jose Sharks

18-17-2 This Week: 19 Last Week: 20

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    2.70
  • GAPG
    2.86
  • S.A. CORSI%
    49.7%
  • PP%
    21.8%
  • PK%
    81.0%

Three regulation wins in the past 14 games for a Sharks team that is getting very little beyond their top guys. The quartet of Joe Pavelski, Joe Thornton, Patrick Marleau and Brent Burns has combined for 24 of San Jose's 35 goals since the start of December.

Key Injuries: LW Raffi Torres (suspension).

New Jersey Devils

20-14-5 This Week: 20 Last Week: 19

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    2.33
  • GAPG
    2.31
  • S.A. CORSI%
    46.2%
  • PP%
    20.0%
  • PK%
    83.2%

Devils have won three straight, but this is not a team that can afford to lose forwards to injury and they're missing at least a couple of regulars (Patrik Elias and Jacob Josefson) as well as leading scorer Mike Cammalleri, who is day-to-day with an upper-body injury. 

Key Injuries: LW Patrik Elias (knee), C Jacob Josefson (lower body).

Philadelphia Flyers

15-15-7 This Week: 21 Last Week: 17

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    2.11
  • GAPG
    2.68
  • S.A. CORSI%
    48.3%
  • PP%
    16.4%
  • PK%
    77.3%

It's hard to be competitive in a salary cap league paying for the likes of Sam Gagner and Andrew MacDonald to play in the AHL and R.J. Umberger to log fourth-line minutes, though the Flyers have at least been able to put Vincent Lecavalier on LTIR. 

Key Injuries: None.

Calgary Flames

18-18-2 This Week: 22 Last Week: 23

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    2.63
  • GAPG
    3.16
  • S.A. CORSI%
    46.9%
  • PP%
    12.3%
  • PK%
    74.5%

As great as LW Johnny Gaudreau has been in his second season, what's happened to linemates Sean Monahan and Jiri Hudler? They were really good in 2014-2015, but Monahan's production has dipped and Hudler's has fallen off a cliff this season.

Key Injuries: RW Michael Frolik (upper body), RW Jiri Hudler (foot).

Colorado Avalanche

18-18-3 This Week: 23 Last Week: 20

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    2.79
  • GAPG
    2.82
  • S.A. CORSI%
    45.0%
  • PP%
    20.3%
  • PK%
    80.0%

One win in the past five games for the Avalanche as G Semyon Varlamov's hot streak has ended rather suddenly (.856 SV% in past four games).

Key Injuries: None.

Toronto Maple Leafs

15-15-7 This Week: 24 Last Week: 25

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    2.57
  • GAPG
    2.68
  • S.A. CORSI%
    49.8%
  • PP%
    19.6%
  • PK%
    79.7%

7-2-2 in the past month, the Maple Leafs show signs, from time to time, of being a competitve team, even when they don't necessarily have the talent of St. Louis, Pittsburgh or Los Angeles -- all teams that Toronto has beaten in the past month. 

Key Injuries: G James Reimer (lower body).

Carolina Hurricanes

16-17-6 This Week: 25 Last Week: 26

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    2.36
  • GAPG
    2.79
  • S.A. CORSI%
    53.0%
  • PP%
    16.7%
  • PK%
    78.9%

8-4-2 in the past month, the Hurricanes are similar to the Leafs in that they can compete with very good teams, though they'd be even better if they could get some goaltending.

Key Injuries: D James Wisniewski (knee), LW Nathan Gerbe (lower body).

Vancouver Canucks

15-15-9 This Week: 26 Last Week: 29

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    2.36
  • GAPG
    2.77
  • S. A. CORSI%
    47.4%
  • PP%
    16.0%
  • PK%
    78.9%

The Canucks have been losing the shot battle more frequently, yet they've suffered one regulation loss in the past six games, which somehow keeps them in the playoff hunt for the time being.

Key Injuries: C Brandon Sutter (abdominal), D Dan Hamhuis (face), G Ryan Miller (muscle cramps).

Arizona Coyotes

18-16-4 This Week: 27 Last Week: 27

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    2.82
  • GAPG
    3.18
  • S.A. CORSI%
    46.7%
  • PP%
    16.8%
  • PK%
    79.0%

The Coyotes have one regulation loss in the past seven games, with much credit due to rookie G Louis Domingue, who has a .923 save percentage in seven starts this season.

Key Injuries: C Martin Hanzal (lower body), G Mike Smith (lower body), C Boyd Gordon (head).

Edmonton Oilers

16-21-3 This Week: 28 Last Week: 22

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    2.45
  • GAPG
    3.05
  • S.A. CORSI%
    47.4%
  • PP%
    16.5%
  • PK%
    79.8%

Edmonton's one regulation win the past nine games was when Cam Talbot stopped 44 of 45 shots against Winnipeg. What the Oilers need is not outright steals, but more nights in whch their goaltending gives them a fighting chance.

Key Injuries: C Connor McDavid (clavicle), RW Nail Yakupov (ankle), D Oscar Klefbom (finger).

Buffalo Sabres

15-20-4 This Week: 29 Last Week: 28

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    2.31
  • GAPG
    2.62
  • S.A. CORSI%
    46.4%
  • PP%
    20.2%
  • PK%
    76.8%

Losers of four straight, the Sabres are sliding, though rookie C Jack Eichel seems to be hitting his stride, with nine points (4 G, 5 A) in the past five games.

Key Injuries: G Robin Lehner (ankle), RW Tyler Ennis (upper body).

Columbus Blue Jackets

15-22-3 This Week: 30 Last Week: 30

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    2.53
  • GAPG
    3.15
  • S.A. CORSI%
    47.1%
  • PP%
    18.5%
  • PK%
    80.5%

Meet your new goaltending tandem, Columbus: Joonas Korpisalo and Anton Forsberg!

Key Injuries: G Sergei Bobrovsky (groin), G Curtis McElhinney (ankle).

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

S.A. CORSI% - Score-Adjusted Corsi Percentage. The percentage of shot attempts, during 5-on-5 play, relative to the opposition, adjusted for game-score. 

PP% - Power Play%

PK% - Penalty Kill%

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

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