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Mar 11, 2015

Blues on top of NHL Power Rankings

The St. Louis Blues remain at the top of the TSN.ca NHL Power Rankings, ahead of the Tampa Bay Lightning and Chicago Blackhawks.

Blues celebrate

The St. Louis Blues remain at the top of the TSN.ca NHL Power Rankings, ahead of the Tampa Bay Lightning and Chicago Blackhawks.

One regulation loss in the past six games has the Blues gaining ground on the slumping Nashville Predators in the Central Division, and the Blues have the best per-game goal differential (0.56) in the Western Conference.

Tampa Bay has won four straight and seems to have the depth to withstand any potential injury problems.

Chicago isn't firing on all cylinders, but has one regulation loss in the past six games, and it was at Tampa Bay.

The big climber this week, the Ottawa Senators, continue to ride a red-hot goaltender from 18 to 15.

Heading the other way, the Montreal Canadiens drop from five to 10 following a stretch with one regulation win in five games. Also slipping, the Winnipeg Jets go from 14 to 17 as they are forced to play without injured centre Bryan Little and defenceman Dustin Byfuglien.

For other Canadian teams, the Vancouver Canucks are up one spot, to 16, with a healthier defence. The Calgary Flames continue to walk the high wire, defying the odds, and sit at 21, down one from last week.

The Toronto Maple Leafs continue to sink, from 27 to 28, but they haven't yet been able to catch the Edmonton Oilers, who remain at 29.

 

 

St. Louis Blues

42-19-5 This Week: 1 Last Week: 1

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    3.04
  • GAPG
    2.48
  • S.A. CORSI%
    52.4%
  • PP%
    22.7%
  • PK%
    81.6%

One regulation loss in the past six games pulls the Blues to within two points of the Predators for tops in the Central, but the Blue have a clear edge, with two games at hand, and they get to look forward to the eventual return to action of two high-quality defencemen.

Key Injuries: D Kevin Shattenkirk (abdominal), D Zbynek Michalek (concussion).

Tampa Bay Lightning

42-20-6 This Week: 2 Last Week: 3

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    3.25
  • GAPG
    2.54
  • S.A. CORSI%
    54.0%
  • PP%
    18.1%
  • PK%
    83.2%

Winners of four straight, the Lightning have much better depth this season. They have a rookie backup goaltender that is already good enough to start for many teams, injuries forced more defence into action and that experience, combined with the addition of Braydon Coburn, bolsters the back end; finally, they could easily dip into the AHL for Vladislav Namestnikov after trading Brett Connolly and they haven't missed a beat. 

Key Injuries: D Matt Carle (abdomen), LW Ondrej Palat (foot).

Chicago Blackhawks

39-21-6 This Week: 3 Last Week: 4

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    2.74
  • GAPG
    2.29
  • S.A. CORSI
    54.6%
  • PP%
    17.6%
  • PK%
    86.0%

One regulation loss in the past six games hasn't completely stopped the sky from falling around the Blackhawks, but they have kept the pace, lurking behind the Blues in the Central. Six of the next seven games are on the road, so that should be a decent test for Chicago's level of play.

Key Injuries: RW Patrick Kane (clavicle), D Johnny Oduya (upper body).

Nashville Predators

42-19-7 This Week: 4 Last Week: 2

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    2.84
  • GAPG
    2.37
  • S.A. CORSI%
    52.5%
  • PP%
    16.1%
  • PK%
    81.6%

It's bad enough that the Predators have won only three of the past 11 games, but that includes a shootout win over Buffalo and Monday's overtime win at Arizona -- barely wins over teams with no incentive to win -- and now they head to California. Not exactly the spot to cure a lingering slump.

Key Injuries: None.

New York Islanders

43-22-4 This Week: 5 Last Week: 6

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    3.07
  • GAPG
    2.77
  • S.A. CORSI%
    53.9%
  • PP%
    18.5%
  • PK%
    76.4%

One regulation in the past six for the Isles, but they did get RW Kyle Okposo back from a detached retina. The next step will be to return him to John Tavares' wing.

Key Injuries: C Mikhail Grabovski (concussion), D Nick Leddy (lower body).

New York Rangers

41-17-7 This Week: 6 Last Week: 7

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    3.03
  • GAPG
    2.32
  • S.A. CORSI%
    51.5%
  • PP%
    18.3%
  • PK%
    83.3%

Improbably, the Rangers have turned into beasts without G Henrik Lundqvist, suffering one regulation loss in the past 15 games. Early on, it was the team outscoring any goaltending drop-off, but now Cam Talbot has allowed a total of four goals, on 116 shots, in his last four starts (.966 SV%).

Key Injuries: G Henrik Lundqvist (vascular)..

Pittsburgh Penguins

38-18-10 This Week: 7 Last Week: 9

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    2.82
  • GAPG
    2.36
  • S.A. CORSI%
    53.8%
  • PP%
    20.1%
  • PK%
    85.6%

One regulation loss in the past eight for a Penguins team that may give rookie D Derrick Pouliot a bigger role while they deal with injuries on the blueline. Pouliot played a career-high 23:26 last game, nearly three minutes more than he had in any of his previous 24 NHL games. 

Key Injuries: RW Pascal Dupuis (blood clot), D Olli Maatta (upper body), D Christian Ehrhoff (concussion).

Detroit Red Wings

37-17-11 This Week: 8 Last Week: 8

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    2.91
  • GAPG
    2.51
  • S.A. CORSI%
    54.1%
  • PP%
    25.4%
  • PK%
    81.9%

Three regulation wins in the past 13 games for the Wings, though only five regulation losses in that time, so it's not quite as ugly as three-in-13 might sound. The forward group should be better down the stretch, with rookie RW Teemu Pulkkinen getting regular minutes and veteran RW Erik Cole adding size, speed and scoring.

Key Injuries: LW Johan Franzen (concussion), LW Darren Helm (oblique).

Anaheim Ducks

42-19-7 This Week: 9 Last Week: 10

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    2.81
  • GAPG
    2.66
  • S.A. CORSI%
    50.7%
  • PP%
    16.8%
  • PK%
    82.0%

Had won seven of eight before losing back-to-back games and they're currently running a power play that is 0-for-15 in the past eight games.

Key Injuries: D Sami Vatanen (lower body), LW Matt Beleskey (upper body). 

Montreal Canadiens

42-18-7 This Week: 10 Last Week: 5

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    2.55
  • GAPG
    2.15
  • S.A. CORSI%
    48.4%
  • PP%
    16.3%
  • PK%
    85.1%

One regulation win in the past five games, a span during which the Canadiens have scored a total of six goals, and they have been held under 20 shots on goal twice in the past three games. They might be solidifying G Carey Price's claim for MVP, but it's not a good look for the rest of the team.

Key Injuries: D Alexei Emelin (upper body).

Minnesota Wild

37-23-7 This Week: 11 Last Week: 11

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    2.82
  • GAPG
    2.51
  • S.A. CORSI%
    52.1%
  • PP%
    14.9%
  • PK%
    86.3%

17-3-1 in the past 21 games, the Wild have pushed their way back into the playoff discussion and that's not hard when G Devan Dubnyk posts a .943 SV% in those 21 games. To borrow from Homer Simpson, "Goaltending, the cause of, and solution to, all of life's problems!"

Key Injuries: LW Jason Zucker (collarbone), LW Matt Cooke (lower body), D Marco Scandella (oblique).

Los Angeles Kings

32-21-13 This Week: 12 Last Week: 12

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    2.70
  • GAPG
    2.47
  • S.A. CORSI%
    54.3%
  • PP%
    18.2%
  • PK%
    81.3%

Dancing around the last playoff spot in the West just a little too closely, and while there is reason to believe that the Kings are good enough to reach the postseason, they also have six home games, of 16 total, remaining.

Key Injuries: D Slava Voynov (suspension), LW Tanner Pearson (fibula), D Alec Martinez (concussion).

Boston Bruins

34-22-10 This Week: 13 Last Week: 15

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    2.68
  • GAPG
    2.48
  • S.A. CORSI%
    52.7%
  • PP%
    18.7%
  • PK%
    81.6%

The Bruins were supposed to be vulnerable, ready to cough up the last playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, but they are 5-0-1 in the past six games, opening up a six-point gap on Florida (seven on Ottawa) and they have been boosted by rookie C Ryan Spooner, who has points in all six of those games.

Key Injuries: C David Krejci (knee), RW Brett Connolly (finger).

Washington Capitals

36-21-10 This Week: 14 Last Week: 13

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    2.94
  • GAPG
    2.40
  • S.A. CORSI%
    52.0%
  • PP%
    24.9%
  • PK%
    81.6%

Three wins in the past four games is a nice way to emerge from a three-game slide, but wins over Toronto, Columbus and Buffalo don't exactly warm the heart.

Key Injuries: D Mike Green (upper body).

Ottawa Senators

30-24-11 This Week: 15 Last Week: 18

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    2.78
  • GAPG
    2.62
  • S.A. CORSI%
    50.5%
  • PP%
    16.7%
  • PK%
    82.6%

Tuesday's loss to Boston dealt a blow to the Senators' playoff hopes, but they needed an 8-0-1 record in the previous nine games just to get into the discussion. It's awfully difficult to keep driving at that pace.

Key Injuries: LW Clarke MacArthur (concussion).

Vancouver Canucks

38-24-4 This Week: 16 Last Week: 17

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    2.80
  • GAPG
    2.68
  • S. A. CORSI%
    49.2%
  • PP%
    17.8%
  • PK%
    85.8%

One regulation loss in the past five games keeps the Canucks right in the playoff picture, with G Eddie Lack stepping up in the absence of Ryan Miller. Getting healthier on the blueline, with Chris Tanev and Alex Edler returning, certainly helps the cause.

Key Injuries: D Kevin Bieksa (hand), C Brad Richardson (lower body), G Ryan Miller (knee).

Winnipeg Jets

333-22-12 This Week: 17 Last Week: 14

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    2.70
  • GAPG
    2.63
  • S.A. CORSI%
    53.5%
  • PP%
    18.0%
  • PK%
    81.0%

The battle for a playoff spot isn't made any easier by having two more top players out due to injury. The Jets are deep enough on the blueline to make do without Byfuglien but, up front, in the short term, rookie C Adam Lowry should see a bigger role while Little is out.

Key Injuries: LW Mathieu Perreault (lower body), D Dustin Byfuglien (upper body), C Bryan Little (undisclosed).

San Jose Sharks

33-26-8 This Week: 18 Last Week: 16

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    2.78
  • GAPG
    2.72
  • S.A. CORSI%
    51.0%
  • PP%
    21.5%
  • PK%
    79.9%

Three points out of a playoff spot, the Sharks have won three out of four, but the schedule is not an easy one for a team looking to climb. After home dates against Nashville and Chicago, they hit the road for seven. The good (?) news for the Sharks is that they have been so unimpressive at home (16-15-5) this season that their road record (17-11-3) is better.

Key Injuries: Raffi Torres (knee).

Dallas Stars

30-27-10 This Week: 19 Last Week: 19

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    3.08
  • GAPG
    3.25
  • S.A. CORSI%
    51.4%
  • PP%
    17.9%
  • PK%
    80.4%

The Stars have won three of four, and are giving the greenhorns on defence a long look, with John Klingberg, Patrik Nemeth, Jyrki Jokipakka and Jamie Oleskiak in Tuesday's lineup.

Key Injuries: RW Valeri Nichushkin (groin), D Trevor Daley (knee).

Philadelphia Flyers

28-27-13 This Week: 20 Last Week: 21

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    2.57
  • GAPG
    2.79
  • S.A. CORSI%
    49.5%
  • PP%
    22.4%
  • PK%
    76.5%

It's lost on a team that isn't in a playoff race, but C Claude Giroux has faded in the second half, with two goals and 10 points in the past 20 games. He has one even-strength goal since December 27.

Key Injuries: D Michael Del Zotto (upper body).

Calgary Flames

36-25-5 This Week: 21 Last Week: 20

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    2.83
  • GAPG
    2.58
  • S.A. CORSI%
    44.1%
  • PP%
    18.4%
  • PK%
    80.9%

As the odds of high percentages get harder to defy, especially when the Flames lose their best player to injury, goaltenders Jonas Hiller and Karri Ramo have elevated their play, combining for a .926 save percentage since the All-Star break.

Key Injuries: D Mark Giordano (biceps).

Carolina Hurricanes

25-32-8 This Week: 22 Last Week: 23

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    2.32
  • GAPG
    2.65
  • S.A. CORSI%
    51.4%
  • PP%
    20.1%
  • PK%
    85.8%

There are some promising pieces in place in Carolina, maybe most of all is 22-year-old Justin Faulk who is driving play (53.5% of even-strength shot attempts) and putting up points (44 points in 65 games).

Key Injuries: None.

New Jersey Devils

28-29-10 This Week: 23 Last Week: 24

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    2.22
  • GAPG
    2.54
  • S.A. CORSI%
    46.8%
  • PP%
    19.6%
  • PK%
    80.6%

Since the All-Star break, the Devils' second and third-leading scorers are C Scott Gomez and RW Steve Bernier, both with 11 points in 20 games. Might need some upgrades for the forward crew.

Key Injuries: LW Ryane Clowe (concussion), D Bryce Salvador (lower body).

Florida Panthers

29-23-14 This Week: 24 Last Week: 22

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    2.36
  • GAPG
    2.70
  • S.A. CORSI%
    50.3%
  • PP%
    15.5%
  • PK%
    79.6%

It's tough to gain in the standings without regulation wins and the Panthers have two in the past 10 games. 

Key Injuries: G Roberto Luongo (upper body), G Al Montoya (lower body).

Colorado Avalanche

30-25-11 This Week: 25 Last Week: 26

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    2.55
  • GAPG
    2.78
  • S.A. CORSI%
    43.4%
  • PP%
    13.6%
  • PK%
    84.0%

8-4 in the past dozen games, the Avalanche are still fighting long odds to climb back into the playoff race, and those odds didn't get better when they lost Nathan MacKinnon to a broken foot.

Key Injuries: LW Jamie McGinn (back), D Erik Johnson (lower body), C/RW Nathan MacKinnon (foot).

Columbus Blue Jackets

28-34-4 This Week: 26 Last Week: 25

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    2.50
  • GAPG
    3.15
  • S.A. CORSI%
    46.4%
  • PP%
    21.3%
  • PK%
    79.3%

One regulation win in the past 10 games for a team that hasn't been able to elude injuries for more than a couple days all season and it seems to have caught up with them. 

Key Injuries: C Boone Jenner (back), RW Jeremy Morin (heart), D Ryan Murray (ankle), RW David Clarkson (oblique), LW Matt Calvert (concussion).

Arizona Coyotes

21-38-8 This Week: 27 Last Week: 28

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    2.06
  • GAPG
    3.27
  • S.A. CORSI%
    47.8%
  • PP%
    21.1%
  • PK%
    78.4%

Goals are not coming easily for the Coyotes, who have 17 in the past 13 games, but their goaltending has been better lately. Mike Smith has a .914 SV% since the All-Star break and Louis Domingue has stopped 79 of 85 shots in his four appearances (.929 SV%).

Key Injuries: LW Mikkel Boedker (spleen), C Martin Hanzal (upper body).

Toronto Maple Leafs

26-35-6 This Week: 28 Last Week: 27

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    2.63
  • GAPG
    3.08
  • S.A. CORSI%
    45.4%
  • PP%
    17.5%
  • PK%
    81.1%

With C Nazem Kadri out for the next couple of games due to team discipline, the active Maple Leafs with the most points in 19 games since the All-Star break is secnod-year D Morgan Reilly, with nine.

Key Injuries: D Roman Polak (sports hernia).

Edmonton Oilers

18-38-11 This Week: 29 Last Week: 29

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    2.19
  • GAPG
    3.31
  • S.A. CORSI%
    47.1%
  • PP%
    16.2%
  • PK%
    77.6%

Remember how Dallas Eakins was the problem in Edmonton? They have two regulation wins in the past 18 games, so that problem might not be fixed.

Key Injuries: LW Taylor Hall (foot), D Nikita Nikitin (shoulder).

Buffalo Sabres

19-42-5 This Week: 30 Last Week: 30

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    1.80
  • GAPG
    3.35
  • S.A. CORSI%
    35.5%
  • PP%
    11.2%
  • PK%
    74.2%

Edmonton is within four points of the Sabres in this Greatest Tank Battle but, even as poorly as the Oilers are playing, it's hard to imagine the Sabres overcoming that deficit.

Key Injuries: C Zemgus Girgensons (foot), D Josh Gorges (lower body).

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

Scott Cullen can be reached at scott.cullen@bellmedia.ca