Columnists

MORE From TSN'S Hockey COLUMNISTS

Apr 2, 2015

Dubnyk, Wild reach top of Power Rankings

Heading into the final stretch of the season, the Minnesota Wild have shot up to the top of the NHL Power Rankings, ahead of the New York Rangers and Chicago Blackhawks.

Devan Dubnyk

Heading into the final stretch of the season, the Minnesota Wild have shot up to the top of the NHL Power Rankings, ahead of the New York Rangers and Chicago Blackhawks.

The Wild were a good team looking for competent goaltending and apparently found a lot more than that when they traded for Devan Dubnyk. In any case, they have four regulation losses in the past 30 games, and surrendered an average of 22.8 shots against in those four losses

The Rangers climb to second spot, after going on a run without their best player. With Henrik Lundqvist back and Martin St. Louis due to return, the Blueshirts are getting healthy at the right time too.

Among the big movers since the last rankings, the Anaheim Ducks and Winnipeg Jets each gained three spots, to six and 14, respectively. 

Heading the other way, the St. Louis Blues slide from top spot to five, as they are missing a couple of top forwards and have gone six straight without a regulation win and the injury-ravaged Tampa Bay Lightning slide from two to seven. The Detroit Red Wings, with injuries and shaky goaltending, have crashed from eight to 17.

As for Canadian teams, the Montreal Canadiens remain highest, at 10, three spots ahead of the Ottawa Hamburglars. The Vancouver Canucks remain at 16, three ahead of the Calgary Flames, and the Edmonton Oilers are up a couple of spots to 27, leapfrogging the Toronto Maple Leafs, holding steady at 28.

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

 

Minnesota Wild

44-25-7 This Week: 11 Last Week: 1

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    2.83
  • GAPG
    2.42
  • S.A. CORSI%
    51.4%
  • PP%
    15.7%
  • PK%
    87.1%

24-5-1 in the past 30 games, the Wild may be riding G Devan Dubnyk into the ground, but a .939 save percentage in 34 games with the Wild has completely changed Minnesota's outlook for the season. Now, it's not about battling for a playoff spot as much as it is about trying to get through the Central Division gauntlet.

Key Injuries: LW Jason Zucker (collarbone), LW Matt Cooke (lower body).

New York Rangers

48-21-7 This Week: 2 Last Week: 6

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    2.99
  • GAPG
    2.29
  • S.A. CORSI%
    50.7%
  • PP%
    17.2%
  • PK%
    84.2%

Stumbled a bit recently, losing three of five, but G Henrik Lundqvist is back in the lineup and RW Martin St. Louis returns tonight for a Blueshirts squad that sits atop the Eastern Conference.

Key Injuries: D Kevin Klein (arm).

Chicago Blackhawks

46-24-6 This Week: 3 Last Week: 3

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    2.74
  • GAPG
    2.28
  • S.A. CORSI
    54.2%
  • PP%
    18.4%
  • PK%
    84.5%

Results have been mediocre for a few months now (21-14-4 since January 1) and there are legitimate concerns about the Blackhawks' ability to defend at an elite level, but when they decide to turn it up -- like they did against Los Angeles Monday -- the Blackhawks still have the ceiling of a championship team.

Key Injuries: RW Patrick Kane (clavicle).

Nashville Predators

47-22-9 This Week: 4 Last Week: 4

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    2.80
  • GAPG
    2.40
  • S.A. CORSI%
    52.4%
  • PP%
    16.4%
  • PK%
    81.5%

One regulation loss in the past seven games has the Predators moving back in the right direction following a mid-February to mid-March slump and they're currently missing their top defenceman and a goal-scoring winger. They're going to need G Pekka Rinne to get back on track, because he's been mediocre since returning from injury. 

Key Injuries: D Shea Weber (lower body), RW James Neal (upper body).

St. Louis Blues

46-23-7 This Week: 5 Last Week: 1

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    2.90
  • GAPG
    2.45
  • S.A. CORSI%
    52.7%
  • PP%
    22.3%
  • PK%
    82.8%

No regulation wins in the past six games and missing two of their best forwards has the Blues stumbling towards the finish line. Hey, I think I've seen this show before!

Key Injuries: LW Alexander Steen (knee), RW Vladimir Tarasenko (leg).

Anaheim Ducks

50-22-7 This Week: 6 Last Week: 9

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    2.84
  • GAPG
    2.68
  • S.A. CORSI%
    51.1%
  • PP%
    16.2%
  • PK%
    81.1%

Eight wins in the past 10 games, though they were a net plus-1 in goal differential over the previous nine games before having their way against Edmonton Wednesday. Consider the value of all those close wins -- the Ducks have a worse goal differential (+12 to +14) than the Los Angeles Kings, a team 19 points behind them in the standings.

Key Injuries: LW Matt Beleskey (lower body). 

Tampa Bay Lightning

47-24-7 This Week: 7 Last Week: 2

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    3.18
  • GAPG
    2.55
  • S.A. CORSI%
    53.7%
  • PP%
    17.9%
  • PK%
    83.1%

The Lightning have dropped three of four but, more importantly, are dealing with a decimated blueline at the moment. They probably have as good a chance as any to emerge from the East if they're healthy, but that's not necessarily an issue that can be casually sidestepped.

Key Injuries: D Victor Hedman (lower body), C Tyler Johnson (upper body), D Jason Garrison (upper body), D Braydon Coburn (lower body), D Andrej Sustr (upper body).

New York Islanders

45-27-5 This Week: 8 Last Week: 5

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    2.96
  • GAPG
    2.74
  • S.A. CORSI%
    53.5%
  • PP%
    18.9%
  • PK%
    77.4%

Two regulation wins in the past 11 games, while the Isles try to get through a -- gasp! -- John Tavares slump (1 G, 1 A in eight games before three assists against Detroit Sunday).

Key Injuries: C Mikhail Grabovski (concussion).

Pittsburgh Penguins

42-24-11 This Week: 9 Last Week: 7

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    2.69
  • GAPG
    2.44
  • S.A. CORSI%
    53.6%
  • PP%
    19.8%
  • PK%
    85.3%

Two regulation wins in the past 10 games, with four of their last five losses coming to non-playoff teams, and injuries knocking out top end talent, leaves the Penguins reeling a little as the end of the regular season approaches.

Key Injuries: RW Pascal Dupuis (blood clot), D Olli Maatta (upper body), D Christian Ehrhoff (upper body), D Kris Letang (concussion), C Evgeni Malkin (undisclosed).

Montreal Canadiens

47-22-8 This Week: 10 Last Week: 10

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    2.56
  • GAPG
    2.22
  • S.A. CORSI%
    48.2%
  • PP%
    16.4%
  • PK%
    84.0%

No regulation wins in the past four games, but the Habs are one point behind the Rangers for top spot in the Eastern Conference. A good portion of the credit for that goes to G Carey Price, who is putting together a serious case for MVP. Using Hockey Reference's Goals Saved Above Average, Price has provided more than 40 goals worth of value this season, compared to the average goaltender facing the same workload. Boston's Tim Thomas, in 2010-2011, and Calgary's Miikka Kiprusoff, in 2005-2006, are the only Vezina winners over the past decade with more than 40 Goals Saved Above Average. 

Key Injuries: None.

Los Angeles Kings

37-25-14 This Week: 11 Last Week: 12

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    2.62
  • GAPG
    2.43
  • S.A. CORSI%
    54.5%
  • PP%
    18.5%
  • PK%
    80.8%

The schedule gives the Kings an opportunity to determine their postseason fate, with only two of their final six games against teams currently in the playoffs and one of those is a head-to-head matchup in Calgary, and the underlying numbers indicate that the Kings would be a killer first-round opponent, but they are cutting this awfully close.

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

Boston Bruins

39-25-13 This Week: 12 Last Week: 13

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    2.61
  • GAPG
    2.46
  • S.A. CORSI%
    52.4%
  • PP%
    18.0%
  • PK%
    81.7%

Four of the Bruins' last five games are on the road, so they aren't exactly home and cooled out waiting for the playoffs, but they could be an intriguing lower seed if they can get healthy, especially because they are getting valuable contributions from rookies Ryan Spooner and David Pastrnak.

Key Injuries: RW Brett Connolly (finger), D Dougie Hamilton (ribs).

Ottawa Senators

38-26-12 This Week: 13 Last Week: 15

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    2.82
  • GAPG
    2.60
  • S.A. CORSI%
    50.7%
  • PP%
    16.3%
  • PK%
    82.2%

8-2-1 in the past 11 games keeps the Senators in the playoff hunt, but it's been a long climb, and they are still three points behind Boston with a game in hand. Four of their next five games are against playoff teams and the non-playoff team is a visit to Toronto Sunday, so if the Sens get into the playoffs, they'll have earned it. 

Key Injuries: LW Milan Michalek (head).

Winnipeg Jets

39-26-12 This Week: 14 Last Week: 14

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    2.73
  • GAPG
    2.58
  • S.A. CORSI%
    53.6%
  • PP%
    18.9%
  • PK%
    81.5%

While there's no denying how well D Dustin Byfuglien has played for the Jets this season, his four-game suspension for cross-checking Rangers C J.T. Miller shouldn't necessarily sound the death knell for the Jets' playoff hopes. They have overcome plenty of injuries this season and are getting healthier, with LW Mathieu Perreault and C Bryan Little recently returning to the lineup.

Key Injuries: None.

Washington Capitals

42-25-10 This Week: 15 Last Week: 14

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    2.90
  • GAPG
    2.42
  • S.A. CORSI%
    52.1%
  • PP%
    24.4%
  • PK%
    82.0%

The Capitals were in danger of being caught in the playoff race, but winning six of eight has put them in position to harbour higher hopes -- they are one point behind both the Islanders and Penguins, so one win could vault the Caps into second place in the Metropolitan.

Key Injuries: None.

Vancouver Canucks

45-27-5 This Week: 16 Last Week: 16

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    2.84
  • GAPG
    2.68
  • S. A. CORSI%
    49.2%
  • PP%
    18.9%
  • PK%
    84.9%

One regulation loss in the past seven games has stabilized the Canucks' playoff positioning and G Eddie Lack has posted a .921 save percentage (even better, a .932 adjusted save percentage) since Ryan Miller was injured. 

Key Injuries: C Brad Richardson (ankle), RW Zack Kassian (back), G Ryan Miller (knee).

Detroit Red Wings

40-23-13 This Week: 17 Last Week: 8

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    2.87
  • GAPG
    2.60
  • S.A. CORSI%
    53.4%
  • PP%
    16.3%
  • PK%
    82.2%

Shaky goaltending and injuries to key players has led to the Wings earning three regulation wins in 15 games this month. Still a likely playoff team, but need to get some points in the bank ASAP.

Key Injuries: LW Johan Franzen (concussion), C Pavel Datsyuk (lower body), LW Erik Cole (upper body).

Dallas Stars

37-30-10 This Week: 18 Last Week: 19

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    3.05
  • GAPG
    3.18
  • S.A. CORSI%
    52.2%
  • PP%
    18.3%
  • PK%
    80.1%

Have won eight of 11 in a too-little, too-late bid for the playoffs, but regulation losses to Edmonton and Calgary ended that dream. An interesting team nonetheless, with an improving defence, that needs to sort out goaltending for next season.

Key Injuries: None.

Calgary Flames

42-28-7 This Week: 19 Last Week: 21

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    2.92
  • GAPG
    2.61
  • S.A. CORSI%
    44.4%
  • PP%
    18.8%
  • PK%
    80.4%

Just as it looked like the Flames' playoff hopes might have finally been fading, after losing five of seven, they turned around and earned road wins at Nashville and Dallas. This is going to be some finish to the year, with Los Angeles and Winnipeg the last two opponents on the schedule, with all involved clawing for playoff berth.

Key Injuries: D Mark Giordano (biceps).

San Jose Sharks

38-30-9 This Week: 20 Last Week: 18

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    2.77
  • GAPG
    2.73
  • S.A. CORSI%
    51.3%
  • PP%
    21.5%
  • PK%
    78.7%

Five points out of a playoff spot, the Sharks probably have to run the table to have any hope at the postseason, but that's not impossible since none of their opponents (Arizona for two, Dallas, Edmonton, Los Angeles) are currently in playoff position.

Key Injuries: Raffi Torres (knee), D Marc-Edouard Vlasic (lower body).

Philadelphia Flyers

31-29-17 This Week: 21 Last Week: 20

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    2.58
  • GAPG
    2.73
  • S.A. CORSI%
    49.3%
  • PP%
    22.6%
  • PK%
    76.8%

Two regulation losses in the past nine games, with decisive wins over Detroit, Chicago and Pittsburgh in that time, shows that the Flyers are still lively spoilers. 

Key Injuries: LW R.J. Umberger (hip), RW Wayne Simmonds (leg), D Andrew MacDonald (hand).

Florida Panthers

35-27-15 This Week: 22 Last Week: 24

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    2.39
  • GAPG
    2.60
  • S.A. CORSI%
    50.7%
  • PP%
    16.0%
  • PK%
    80.5%

Time is running out on the Panthers, who are six points out of a playoff spot with five games left to play, but they've been bolstered by the addition of Jaromir Jagr, who has helped upgrade the attack. 

Key Injuries: C Nick Bjugstad (back).

Columbus Blue Jackets

37-35-4 This Week: 23 Last Week: 26

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    2.67
  • GAPG
    3.05
  • S.A. CORSI%
    46.3%
  • PP%
    22.2%
  • PK%
    79.3%

No need to get carried away with potential fool's gold with late-season wins for a team out of the playoff hunt, but considering that injuries were the primary reason for Columbus' early-season descent, it can't hurt to have won 10 of 11 as the club gets healthier.

Key Injuries: D Ryan Murray (ankle), RW David Clarkson (oblique).

Carolina Hurricanes

28-37-11 This Week: 24 Last Week: 23

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    2.26
  • GAPG
    2.64
  • S.A. CORSI%
    51.4%
  • PP%
    19.0%
  • PK%
    85.2%

It's not readily apparent because the Hurricanes are waydown in the standings, but they've been a decent team since Jordan Staal joined the lineup. Doesn't mean a lot for now, but may be cause for optimism in the future.

Key Injuries: C Riley Nash (head).

New Jersey Devils

31-33-13 This Week: 25 Last Week: 23

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    2.16
  • GAPG
    2.47
  • S.A. CORSI%
    46.6%
  • PP%
    19.4%
  • PK%
    81.1%

Losers of six straight, while scoring a total of seven goals, the Devils have the kind of offensive struggles that one might expect from a team whose third-leading goal-scorer is RW Steve Bernier (with 13).

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

Colorado Avalanche

35-30-12 This Week: 26 Last Week: 25

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    2.57
  • GAPG
    2.78
  • S.A. CORSI%
    43.6%
  • PP%
    13.6%
  • PK%
    84.0%

Even the most ardent regressionists would have strained to see the Avs falling as far as they have this season, currently 30 points behind last year's 112 with five games left to play.

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

Edmonton Oilers

23-41-13 This Week: 27 Last Week: 29

TEAM STATS

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

5-2-2 in the past nine games, the Oilers have room to play spoiler down the stretch and with their young forwards wheeling, they can cause some problems.

Key Injuries: D Andrew Ference (concussion), D Mark Fayne (shoulder).

Toronto Maple Leafs

29-43-6 This Week: 28 Last Week: 28

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    2.56
  • GAPG
    3.15
  • S.A. CORSI%
    45.4%
  • PP%
    16.7%
  • PK%
    80.6%

Tuesday's win over Tampa Bay was the only regulation win for the Leafs in the past 14 games. Tanking might not be pretty, but it's likely to land the Leafs a great prospect and they aren't exactly overrun with those.

Key Injuries: D Roman Polak (sports hernia), C Peter Holland (lower body).

Arizona Coyotes

23-46-8 This Week: 29 Last Week: 27

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    2.03
  • GAPG
    3.26
  • S.A. CORSI%
    47.6%
  • PP%
    20.2%
  • PK%
    77.3%

The Coyotes' last regulation win came on February 3, against Columbus, a span of 26 games.

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

Buffalo Sabres

22-47-8 This Week: 30 Last Week: 30

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    1.87
  • GAPG
    3.29
  • S.A. CORSI%
    36.3%
  • PP%
    13.1%
  • PK%
    74.9%

Going 2-1-1 in the past four games is a hot streakfor the Sabres and puts them within two points of the Coyotes. Could they mess up the tank by finishing second last?

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