Columnists

MORE From TSN'S Hockey COLUMNISTS

Dec 16, 2014

NHL Power Rankings - December 16, 2014

The Chicago Blackhawks have returned to top spot in the TSN.ca NHL Power Rankings, the place they held in the preseason.

Blackhawks celebrate

The Chicago Blackhawks have returned to top spot in the TSN.ca NHL Power Rankings, the place they held in the preseason.

The San Jose Sharks are climbing, from 16 to 10, after seven wins in the past eight games, while the Florida Panthers are up, from 19 to 14, continuing to surprise despite limited offensive production. The Washington Capitals also gain, from 22 to 17, following their 4-0-1 performance in the past five games.

Further down the list, the Columbus Blue Jackets go from 29 to 25, on the strength of their current six-game winning streak.

Heading in the other direction, goaltending questions drop the St. Louis Blues from three to eight, and injuries to top defencemen knock the New York Islanders from six to 11. The slumping Boston Bruins fall from 14 to 19, and the Colorado Avalanche continue to have problems, sliding from 21 to 27.

As for Canadian clubs, the Montreal Canadiens are up to five and the Toronto Maple Leafs ride a hot streak to a season-high 12. The Vancouver Canucks slip from 10 to 13 and the Calgary Flames slide from 12 to 15. 

Injuries hit the Winnipeg Jets, knocking them from 18 to 20, while the Ottawa Senators, fresh off a coaching change, sit at 24.

The Edmonton Oilers have also made a coaching change, and can only go up, sitting 30th in the standings and Power Rankings.

 

 

 

Chicago Blackhawks

21-9-1 This Week: 1 Last Week: 4

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    2.94
  • GAPG
    1.97
  • S.A. CORSI
    56.3%
  • PP%
    17.6%
  • PK%
    90.9%

9-1 in the past 10 games, the Blackhawks haven't missed a beat without starting goaltender Corey Crawford, as Aantti Raanta and Scott Darling have combined for a .940 save percentage in 13 appearances this season.

Key Injuries: G Corey Crawford (ankle).

Nashville Predators

19-8-2 This Week: 2 Last Week: 2

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    2.59
  • GAPG
    1.93
  • S.A. CORSI%
    53.0%
  • PP%
    10.9%
  • PK%
    80.3%

He has a modest 13 points in 27 games, but Colin Wilson is having a strong season for the Predators, with 12 of his points coming at even-strength and a rcoking 59.7% Corsi.

Key Injuries: None.

Tampa Bay Lightning

19-10-3 This Week: 3 Last Week: 1

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    3.31
  • GAPG
    2.59
  • S.A. CORSI%
    54.4%
  • PP%
    22.0%
  • PK%
    81.1%

Maybe Ben Bishop isn't going to be out for too long, but it could be interesting for the Lightning to get a look at G Andrei Vasilevskiy, likely the top goaltending prospect in the game.

Key Injuries: LW Ondrej Palat (lower body), G Ben Bishop (lower body).

Detroit Red Wings

17-7-7 This Week: 4 Last Week: 7

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    2.94
  • GAPG
    2.39
  • S.A. CORSI%
    53.7%
  • PP%
    22.5%
  • PK%
    87.8%

Winless in three, though a couple of them were shootout losses, the Red Wings are getting big production from young forwards Gustav Nyquist and Tomas Tatar, who are 1-2 in team goal-scoring (admittedly, Pavel Datsyuk is tied for second, with 12 goals in just 20 games).

Key Injuries: C Stephen Weiss (shoulder).

Montreal Canadiens

19-10-2 This Week: 5 Last Week: 9

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    2.55
  • GAPG
    2.52
  • S.A. CORSI%
    48.9%
  • PP%
    15.5%
  • PK%
    84.8%

Offensively-challenged at times -- Tomas Plekanec, Max Pacioretty and P.K. Subban are tied for the team lead with 22 points -- the Habs may get a boost with the addition of Sven Andrighetto, who has two goals and three points in his first three NHL games.

Key Injuries: C Lars Eller (upper body).

Pittsburgh Penguins

20-6-4 This Week: 6 Last Week: 5

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    3.20
  • GAPG
    2.30
  • S.A. CORSI%
    53.2%
  • PP%
    26.3%
  • PK%
    86.0%

The Penguins have one regulation loss in the past eight games, but without Sidney Crosby -- and all the other injuries up front -- it's tough to get Pittsburgh any higher on the list this week.

Key Injuries: RW Pascal Dupuis (blood clot), LW Chris Kunitz (foot), RW Beau Bennett (lower body), D Olli Maatta (undisclosed), C Sidney Crosby (mumps).

Anaheim Ducks

21-6-5 This Week: 7 Last Week: 8

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    2.84
  • GAPG
    2.50
  • S.A. CORSI%
    50.4%
  • PP%
    18.4%
  • PK%
    81.3%

Winners of seven straight, the Ducks have been able to thrive, even in the absence of Corey Perry, thanks in part to the emergence of LW Matt Beleskey, who already has a career-high 14 goals.

Key Injuries: D Francois Beauchemin (finger), RW Corey Perry (lower body).

St. Louis Blues

20-8-2 This Week: 8 Last Week: 3

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    2.87
  • GAPG
    2.27
  • S.A. CORSI%
    51.6%
  • PP%
    23.2%
  • PK%
    80.8%

The Blues have won four straight, but there has been a decline in goal since Brian Elliott was hurt. In seven games this month, for example, Martin Brodeur and Jake Allen have combined for an .889 save percentage.

Key Injuries: G Brian Elliott (lower body).

Minnesota Wild

16-11-1 This Week: 9 Last Week: 11

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    2.82
  • GAPG
    2.46
  • S.A. CORSI%
    53.6%
  • PP%
    13.0%
  • PK%
    87.4%

Over the past 10 games, the Wild haven't had a winning or losing streak, alternating victories and defeats. To get some consistency on the plus side, they need more production from forwards Mikael Granlund and Charlie Coyle, who have combined for five goals.

Key Injuries: LW Matt Cooke (lower body).

San Jose Sharks

17-11-4 This Week: 10 Last Week: 16

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    2.75
  • GAPG
    2.44
  • S.A. CORSI%
    52.9%
  • PP%
    24.0%
  • PK%
    83.7%

Seven wins in the past eight games is a sudden surge from a Sharks team that has been mediocre otherwise. For whatever it might be worth, D Brenden Dillon has a 56.7% Corsi (+5.6% Relative) in 10 games since arriving from Dallas. 

Key Injuries: Raffi Torres (knee), LW Matt Nieto (lower body), RW Tyler Kennedy (upper body).

New York Islanders

21-10 This Week: 11 Last Week: 6

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    3.00
  • GAPG
    2.87
  • S.A. CORSI%
    52.6%
  • PP%
    19.5%
  • PK%
    71.1%

The Islanders' forward depth keeps them clicking along, but it's a little more challenging when their top two defencemen are out at the same time.

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

Toronto Maple Leafs

18-9-3 This Week: 12 Last Week: 15

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    3.37
  • GAPG
    2.80
  • S.A. CORSI%
    45.2%
  • PP%
    20.7%
  • PK%
    83.6%

The underlying numbers remain a concern, but there's nothing wrong with banking points and the Leafs are 9-1-1 in the past 11 games and part of the reason for it, aside from goaltending, is production from RW Mike Santorelli, who has 13 points in those 11 games.

Key Injuries: D Roman Polak (ankle), LW Leo Komarov (concussion).

Vancouver Canucks

18-10-2 This Week: 13 Last Week: 10

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    2.90
  • GAPG
    2.83
  • S. A. CORSI%
    50.0%
  • PP%
    18.1%
  • PK%
    86.1%

Losers of four straight, the Canucks have been playing reasonably well this season, but could use a lift from G Ryan Miller, who has a .900 save percentage in 23 games. 

Key Injuries: D Dan Hamhuis (lower body).

Florida Panthers

12-8-8 This Week: 14 Last Week: 19

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    2.21
  • GAPG
    2.50
  • S.A. CORSI%
    51.1%
  • PP%
    13.8%
  • PK%
    80.8%

With Dave Bolland returning to the Florida lineup, it's going to be interesting to see how the minutes at centre ice end up getting allocated, because it's hard to take them away from Nick Bjugstad and Aleksander Barkov (when healthy), and Vincent Trocheck warrants regular time too. 

Key Injuries: None.

Calgary Flames

17-13-2 This Week: 15 Last Week: 12

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    2.88
  • GAPG
    2.62
  • S.A. CORSI%
    44.6%
  • PP%
    20.2%
  • PK%
    77.5%

Losers of five straight, the Flames are getting healthier, but finding out that it's more than a little challenging to sustain winning ways with sub-45% possession.

Key Injuries: C Mikael Backlund (abdomen).

Los Angeles Kings

15-10-6 This Week: 16 Last Week: 13

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    2.61
  • GAPG
    2.23
  • S.A. CORSI%
    53.4%
  • PP%
    15.5%
  • PK%
    82.4%

The Kings have one win in the past five games, despite outshooting the opposition by an average of 14.4 shots per game in that time. The good news is, if they can keep carrying play like that, the wins will follow.

Key Injuries: D Slava Voynov (suspension).

Washington Capitals

14-10-5 This Week: 17 Last Week: 22

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    2.90
  • GAPG
    2.66
  • S.A. CORSI%
    52.0%
  • PP%
    26.5%
  • PK%
    77.0%

4-0-1 in the past five games, the Capitals have been led by D John Carlson, who has 10 points (2 G, 8 A) in the past eight games.

Key Injuries: None.

New York Rangers

14-10-4 This Week: 18 Last Week: 17

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    2.96
  • GAPG
    2.61
  • S.A. CORSI%
    49.6%
  • PP%
    14.9%
  • PK%
    81.6%

The Blueshirts are getting a little thin up front, with LW Chris Kreider struggling, C Derick Brassard the latest to contract mumps and RW Anthony Duclair loaned to Canada for the World Junior Hockey Championship.

Key Injuries: C Derick Brassard (mumps).

Boston Bruins

15-13-2 This Week: 19 Last Week: 14

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    2.47
  • GAPG
    2.57
  • S.A. CORSI%
    52.8%
  • PP%
    17.4%
  • PK%
    79.0%

One regulation win in the past nine games leaves the Bruins in unfamiliar position, outside the playoffs. Turns out they really miss the offensive production they get from No.1 centre David Krejci, whose return appears to be imminent.

Key Injuries: C David Krejci (hip).

Winnipeg Jets

15-01-6 This Week: 20 Last Week: 18

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    2.29
  • GAPG
    2.29
  • S.A. CORSI%
    52.9%
  • PP%
    15.4%
  • PK%
    84.3%

Saturday's loss to Anaheim was the Jets' first in regulation after eight straight games recording points, but their current defensive situation -- with three top-four defencemen sidelined -- is a huge problem.

Key Injuries: D Tobias Enstrom (lower body), D Zach Bogosian (lower body), D Jacob Trouba (upper body).

New Jersey Devils

11-15-6 This Week: 21 Last Week: 24

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    2.28
  • GAPG
    2.78
  • S.A. CORSI%
    48.9%
  • PP%
    23.1%
  • PK%
    77.1%

With Mike Cammalleri hurting, the Devils are hard-pressed to score goals, as Adam Henrique is the only player in the lineup (other than Cammalleri, who has 11) with more than five goals this season. A quick calculation: five goals in 31 games is on pace for 13 in an 82-game season.

Key Injuries: LW Ryane Clowe (concussion), D Bryce Salvador (lower body), LW Patrik Elias (groin), LW Mike Cammalleri (lower body).

Ottawa Senators

12-12-6 This Week: 24 Last Week: 25

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    2.57
  • GAPG
    2.77
  • S.A. CORSI%
    47.4%
  • PP%
    19.1%
  • PK%
    81.9%

It's been 12 games since the Senators registered a regulation win and that cost head coach Paul MacLean his job, but it's hard to place real expectations on the team with the league's second-lowest payroll.

Key Injuries: C Marc Methot (back).

Dallas Stars

11-13-5 This Week: 22 Last Week: 20

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    2.90
  • GAPG
    3.52
  • S.A. CORSI%
    49.8%
  • PP%
    15.4%
  • PK%
    78.4%

It's bad enough that G Kari Lehtonen has struggled his way to a .902 save percentage, but his backups -- Anders Lindback and Jussi Rynnas -- have combined for an .856 save percentage in seven games.

Key Injuries: RW Valeri Nichushkin (groin).

Philadelphia Flyers

11-13-5 This Week: 23 Last Week: 23

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    2.72
  • GAPG
    2.86
  • S.A. CORSI%
    47.8%
  • PP%
    24.0%
  • PK%
    74.0%

3-0-2 in the past five games, the Flyers are venturing toward respectability, but need to get better on the blueline if they are going to have consistent results.

Key Injuries: D Kimmo Timonen (blood clots).

Columbus Blue Jackets

12-15-2 This Week: 25 Last Week: 29

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    2.38
  • GAPG
    3.24
  • S.A. CORSI%
    45.8%
  • PP%
    23.2%
  • PK%
    77.6%

Well, well, six straight wins lift the Blue Jackets from the dregs, but only two of those wins were in regulation and there are still enough injuries and possession woes to remain skeptical about how this season is going to go for Columbus.

Key Injuries: RW Nathan Horton (back), C Mark Letestu (groin), D Ryan Murray (knee), C Artem Anisimov (triceps), LW Scott Hartnell (finger).

Buffalo Sabres

13-16-2 This Week: 26 Last Week: 28

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    1.81
  • GAPG
    3.03
  • S.A. CORSI%
    36.2%
  • PP%
    8.0%
  • PK%
    79.6%

10-3 in the past 13 games, the Sabres are still getting drilled in possession, but G Jhonas Enroth has been great and any offence whatsoever is better than what happened in the first six weeks of the season.

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

Colorado Avalanche

10-13-7 This Week: 27 Last Week: 21

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    2.50
  • GAPG
    3.20
  • S.A. CORSI%
    44.3%
  • PP%
    13.0%
  • PK%
    85.4%

Six games without a regulation win is leaving the Avalanche in a tough spot, last place in the Central and nine points out of a playoff spot. With the second-worst possession stats in the league, how can they make up that deficit?

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

Arizona Coyotes

10-16-4 This Week: 28 Last Week: 26

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    2.27
  • GAPG
    3.23
  • S.A. CORSI%
    47.9%
  • PP%
    21.2%
  • PK%
    75.5%

The Coyotes' only regulation win in the past dozen games was over Edmonton, not exactly a ringing endorsement.

Key Injuries: None.

Carolina Hurricanes

8-18-3 This Week: 29 Last Week: 27

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    2.10
  • GAPG
    2.79
  • S.A. CORSI%
    50.7%
  • PP%
    19.2%
  • PK%
    81.6%

The Hurricanes have scored a total of five goals in five straight losses. Given all their struggles, that might warrant a spot in the basement, but the current tennants have been getting settled in there.

Key Injuries: C Jordan Staal (fibula), RW Alexander Semin (lower body), LW Jiri Tlusty (undisclosed).

Edmonton Oilers

7-19-5 This Week: 30 Last Week: 30

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    2.10
  • GAPG
    3.32
  • S.A. CORSI%
    48.8%
  • PP%
    12.9%
  • PK%
    79.3%

One win in 16 games costs Dallas Eakins his job as head coach, and the Oilers will surely improve because their percentages have been so terrible that they can't help but get better. The bigger question is whether it's finally time to go for a major shake-up on the roster.

Key Injuries: LW Benoit Pouliot (foot), C Boyd Gordon (back), D Nikita Nikitin (back).

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.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.