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Dec 16, 2014

NHL Power Rankings - December 22, 2014

The Chicago Blackhawks continue to hold top spot in the TSN.ca NHL Power Rankings, staying ahead of the Nashville Predators and the rising Pittsburgh Penguins.

Chicago Blackhawks Celebrate

The Chicago Blackhawks continue to hold top spot in the TSN.ca NHL Power Rankings, staying ahead of the Nashville Predators and the rising Pittsburgh Penguins.

Among teams moving up this week, the New York Islanders won a couple of games and got their top two defencemen back from injury, then climb from 11 to eight. In nearby Manhattan, the Rangers vault from 18 to 12, with a sterling defensive record during a six-game winning streak. The Boston Bruins, finally healthy now that Zdeno Chara and David Krejci have returned to action, climb from 19 to 16.

Heading the wrong way, the Toronto Maple Leafs' winning ways ended rather abruptly and they sink from 12 to 19, while the Calgary Flames are fading fast, dropping from 15 to 22.

As for other Canadian teams, the Montreal Canadiens are the class of the nation, holding steady at five, while the Vancouver Canucks remain at 13.

The resilient Winnipeg Jets gain a few spots, from 20 to 18, and a little improvement in the nation's capital lifts the Ottawa Senators from 24 to 21.

The Edmonton Oilers, finding ways to lose, remain at 30. 

 

 

 

 

 

Chicago Blackhawks

23-9-2 This Week: 1 Last Week: 1

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    3.00
  • GAPG
    1.94
  • S.A. CORSI
    56.4%
  • PP%
    18.0%
  • PK%
    91.6%

One regulation loss in the past 13 games is creating room at the top of the chart for the Blackhawks, who have an embarrassment of riches when the lineup is healthy and, right now, they're pretty healthy.

Key Injuries: G Corey Crawford (ankle).

Nashville Predators

21-8-2 This Week: 2 Last Week: 2

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    2.68
  • GAPG
    2.03
  • S.A. CORSI%
    53.3%
  • PP%
    12.0%
  • PK%
    79.5%

Four wins in the past five for the Predators who, in two wins last week, accrued 84 shots on goal against Boston and Minnesota, two teams that rank in the Top 10 when it comes to even-strength shot attempt metrics.

Key Injuries: None.

Pittsburgh Penguins

22-6-4 This Week: 3 Last Week: 6

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    3.12
  • GAPG
    2.19
  • S.A. CORSI%
    53.2%
  • PP%
    24.3%
  • PK%
    86.1%

Seven straight without a regulation loss for the Penguins, who continue to deal with health problems, but have had the luxury of being able to pluck the likes of Brian Dumoulin and Derrick Pouliot from the minors to make up for absences on the blueline.

Key Injuries: RW Pascal Dupuis (blood clot), D Olli Maatta (mumps), D Christian Ehrhoff (lower body), D Paul Martin (undisclosed).

Tampa Bay Lightning

20-11-4 This Week: 4 Last Week: 3

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    3.20
  • GAPG
    2.54
  • S.A. CORSI%
    54.0%
  • PP%
    20.0%
  • PK%
    80.9%

Two regulation wins in the past eight games, but the Lightning return home from a five-game roadie getting healthier. They made out okay with Ben Bishop out, though, as top prospect Andrei Vasilevskiy has been great in his first two NHL starts.

Key Injuries: G Ben Bishop (lower body).

Montreal Canadiens

21-11-2 This Week: 5 Last Week: 5

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    2.59
  • GAPG
    2.41
  • S.A. CORSI%
    48.9%
  • PP%
    15.6%
  • PK%
    86.1%

Four wins in the past five games put the Habs back on top of the Atlantic Division, fractionally ahead of the Lightning. Some reason to be optimistic about the Habs' chances? The emergence of third-year C Alex Galchenyuk, who has nine points (5 G, 4 A) in nine games this month.

Key Injuries: None.

St. Louis Blues

21-9-3 This Week: 6 Last Week: 8

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    2.94
  • GAPG
    2.39
  • S.A. CORSI%
    51.5%
  • PP%
    25.4%
  • PK%
    78.9%

Dropped their last two games, following a five-game winning streak, and the goaltending remains an important facet to watch with Brian Elliott sidelined, as Jake Allen (.887 SV%) and Martin Brodeur (.882 SV%) have yet to inspire confidence.

Key Injuries: G Brian Elliott (lower body), LW Jaden Schwartz (foot).

Detroit Red Wings

17-8-9 This Week: 7 Last Week: 4

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    2.74
  • GAPG
    2.26
  • S.A. CORSI%
    53.8%
  • PP%
    22.0%
  • PK%
    87.8%

Winless in six, but four of those losses have been via shootout, so the Wings aren't quite as poorly off as it might initially sound. LW Tomas Tatar has been having a quietly solid season, with 12 goals and 59.0% Corsi in 34 games.

Key Injuries: C Stephen Weiss (shoulder).

New York Islanders

23-10 This Week: 8 Last Week: 11

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    2.97
  • GAPG
    2.76
  • S.A. CORSI%
    52.8%
  • PP%
    18.5%
  • PK%
    72.3%

Getting healthier on the blueline and with four straight wins, the Islanders are rolling. If they're looking for projects to improve the club, league-worst penalty-killing (72.3%) is a good place to start.

Key Injuries: RW Michael Grabner (lower body).

San Jose Sharks

19-11-4 This Week: 9 Last Week: 10

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    2.79
  • GAPG
    2.44
  • S.A. CORSI%
    52.6%
  • PP%
    24.5%
  • PK%
    83.9%

Nine wins in the past 10 games moves the preivously-mediocre Sharks to a higher (and more typical) level. A reminder that C Joe Thornton is still pretty good; his 58.0% Corsi is his best since 2007-2008, the first year it was tracked.

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

Anaheim Ducks

22-8-5 This Week: 10 Last Week: 7

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    2.77
  • GAPG
    2.66
  • S.A. CORSI%
    50.7%
  • PP%
    17.1%
  • PK%
    80.0%

8-2 in the past 10 games, the Ducks have managed to keep on keeping on in the absence of Corey Perry, but it must be some kind of shock for C Ryan Getzlaf to wonder who he's with from one shift to the next, with Rene Bourque, Devante Smith-Pelly, Matt Beleskey, Patrick Maroon, Dany Heatley and Jakob Silfverberg among his wingers recently.

Key Injuries: RW Corey Perry (lower body), LW Kyle Palmieri (shoulder).

Minnesota Wild

16-12-3 This Week: 11 Last Week: 9

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    2.87
  • GAPG
    2.68
  • S.A. CORSI%
    53.0%
  • PP%
    13.9%
  • PK%
    86.5%

No regulation wins in the past five, and goaltending has been a concern. Darcy Kuemper has an .860 save percentage (117 saves, 136 shots) in his past six games.

Key Injuries: None.

New York Rangers

17-10-4 This Week: 12 Last Week: 18

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    2.94
  • GAPG
    2.48
  • S.A. CORSI%
    50.5%
  • PP%
    15.8%
  • PK%
    82.3%

Six straight wins for the Rangers, who have allowed a total of five goals in the last five of those victories, holding opponents to 20 or fewer shots in three of those games. When the Blueshirts' defence and goaltending rise up like that, the record gets better in a hurry. 

Key Injuries: RW Lee Stempniak (mumps).

Vancouver Canucks

19-11-2 This Week: 13 Last Week: 13

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    2.81
  • GAPG
    2.78
  • S. A. CORSI%
    50.0%
  • PP%
    17.6%
  • PK%
    86.8%

Needed overtime to finish off the Flames Saturday night, but to end a five-game slide, the Canucks will take it. After a strong start to the year, offence has dried up for C Nick Bonino, who has one point in the past nine games.

Key Injuries: D Dan Hamhuis (lower body).

Los Angeles Kings

17-11-6 This Week: 14 Last Week: 16

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    2.74
  • GAPG
    2.35
  • S.A. CORSI%
    53.3%
  • PP%
    18.3%
  • PK%
    80.3%

Had lost five of six before back-to-back wins, but the most positive development is that C Anze Kopitar appears to be emerging from his early-season point slump, putting up nine points (1 G, 8 A) in the past three games.

Key Injuries: D Slava Voynov (suspension).

Washington Capitals

16-10-6 This Week: 15 Last Week: 17

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    2.94
  • GAPG
    2.56
  • S.A. CORSI%
    52.1%
  • PP%
    25.3%
  • PK%
    77.1%

No regulation losses in the past eight games, and this at a time when RW Eric Fehr, with seven, has one more point this month than LW Alex Ovechkin.

Key Injuries: None.

Boston Bruins

17-14-3 This Week: 16 Last Week: 19

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    2.47
  • GAPG
    2.53
  • S.A. CORSI%
    52.6%
  • PP%
    16.7%
  • PK%
    79.4%

The Bruins have one regulation win in their past 14 games, but they are finally healthy. With C David Krejci and D Zdeno Chara healthy, it's the first time in a long time that Boston has their core healthy.

Key Injuries: None.

Florida Panthers

14-9-8 This Week: 17 Last Week: 14

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    2.10
  • GAPG
    2.42
  • S.A. CORSI%
    51.8%
  • PP%
    13.4%
  • PK%
    81.5%

Six straight without a regulation win for the Panthers, though three shootout wins in that stretch has made for rather comfortable mediocrity.

Key Injuries: None.

Winnipeg Jets

17-10-7 This Week: 18 Last Week: 20

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    2.38
  • GAPG
    2.26
  • S.A. CORSI%
    53.3%
  • PP%
    15.0%
  • PK%
    84.8%

That the Jets are holding their own -- one regulation loss in the past dozen games -- despite missing their top four defencemen, is really an achievement. It also makes matters easier for GM Kevin Cheveldayoff, who doesn't face as much pressure with the patchwork defence performing better than expected.

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

Toronto Maple Leafs

19-12-3 This Week: 19 Last Week: 12

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    3.29
  • GAPG
    2.97
  • S.A. CORSI%
    44.7%
  • PP%
    20.3%
  • PK%
    83.3%

How quickly those positive vibes can change. The Leafs were on a percentage-fueled run, going 10-1-1, but then lost three straight, getting outscored 15-5, and they have just kicked off a brutal road trip that could break their season if they don't tighten up their game. 

Key Injuries: LW Leo Komarov (concussion).

Dallas Stars

14-13-5 This Week: 20 Last Week: 22

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    2.91
  • GAPG
    3.38
  • S.A. CORSI%
    50.8%
  • PP%
    15.4%
  • PK%
    79.3%

Winners of four straight, the Stars rolled through Western Canada and could be building a little momentum. As one of the early disappointments this year, they could use something -- specifically better goaltending -- if they are going to make a second-half charge.

Key Injuries: RW Valeri Nichushkin (groin).

Ottawa Senators

14-13-6 This Week: 21 Last Week: 24

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    2.61
  • GAPG
    2.70
  • S.A. CORSI%
    47.5%
  • PP%
    19.7%
  • PK%
    82.9%

Mika Zibanejad is emerging in a bigger role (11 points in 10 games this month) and it's the development of young forwards that ought to be a priority for the Senators if they are going to somehow improve their sagging possession numbers.

Key Injuries: C Marc Methot (back).

Calgary Flames

17-15-3 This Week: 22 Last Week: 15

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    2.77
  • GAPG
    2.69
  • S.A. CORSI%
    44.4%
  • PP%
    19.2%
  • PK%
    77.3%

The Flames were rocking the PDO early in the season, but they're crashing to earth, winless in eight and on the outside looking in at a playoff spot.

Key Injuries: C Mikael Backlund (abdomen).

Philadelphia Flyers

13-14-6 This Week: 23 Last Week: 23

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    2.79
  • GAPG
    2.85
  • S.A. CORSI%
    48.3%
  • PP%
    22.5%
  • PK%
    75.7%

Only one regulation loss in the past nine games, but losing their starting goaltender (for however long it may be) does cost the Flyers a chance to move up. Even so, the story of 33-year-old journeyman Rob Zepp, who started in goal Sunday against Winnipeg, is one of the better ones for this NHL season. 

Key Injuries: D Kimmo Timonen (blood clots), G Steve Mason (back).

Columbus Blue Jackets

14-15-3 This Week: 24 Last Week: 25

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    2.34
  • GAPG
    3.16
  • S.A. CORSI%
    45.5%
  • PP%
    23.1%
  • PK%
    79.1%

The injuries never stop, but the Blue Jackets have also gone nine straight without a loss in regulation, with seven of those games going beyond 60 minutes.

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

New Jersey Devils

12-17-6 This Week: 25 Last Week: 21

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    2.14
  • GAPG
    2.77
  • S.A. CORSI%
    48.7%
  • PP%
    21.6%
  • PK%
    78.1%

Two regulation wins in the past 15 games, with the wins coming against Toronto and Carolina, suggest that the Devils' offensive woes (and massive drop in possession) are undermining their efforts this season.

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

Colorado Avalanche

12-13-8 This Week: 26 Last Week: 27

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    2.46
  • GAPG
    3.00
  • S.A. CORSI%
    44.0%
  • PP%
    14.0%
  • PK%
    85.8%

Five straight without a regulation loss (though it comes with only one regulation win) could be progress, but as long as the Avalanche are sitting around 44% possession, they are going to need miraculous goaltending to be competitive.

Key Injuries: G Semyon Varlamov (groin), LW Jamie McGinn (back).

Buffalo Sabres

13-18-3 This Week: 27 Last Week: 26

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    1.79
  • GAPG
    3.18
  • S.A. CORSI%
    36.0%
  • PP%
    9.3%
  • PK%
    78.4%

The Sabres are quite likely the worst team in the league, but they have been bailed out from time to time by their goaltenders and that's lifted them out of the pole position in the Connor McDavid Sweepstakes. They are still the favourites to end up last, but it would really be fascinating if Buffalo couldn't lose enough during a season in which they appeared to be miles behind the competition.

Key Injuries: D Tyler Myers (lower body), RW Brian Gionta (head).

Arizona Coyotes

11-17-4 This Week: 28 Last Week: 28

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    2.25
  • GAPG
    3.19
  • S.A. CORSI%
    47.8%
  • PP%
    19.8%
  • PK%
    75.2%

The Coyotes' only regulation win in the past 14 games was a game at Edmonton. Lean times in the desert.

Key Injuries: LW Lauri Korpikoski (lower body).

Carolina Hurricanes

9-20-4 This Week: 29 Last Week: 29

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    2.06
  • GAPG
    2.70
  • S.A. CORSI%
    50.2%
  • PP%
    17.9%
  • PK%
    83.2%

The Hurricanes have one win in the past nine games, scoring one or zero goals in seven of those nine.

Key Injuries: C Jordan Staal (fibula), LW Jiri Tlusty (undisclosed).

Edmonton Oilers

7-20-7 This Week: 30 Last Week: 30

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    2.18
  • GAPG
    3.35
  • S.A. CORSI%
    48.4%
  • PP%
    13.4%
  • PK%
    79.4%

1-12-6 in the past 19 games, the Oilers are all about finding ways to lose, but going 0-6 in overtime/shootout games in that span has been particularly painful. Each one pushing them further down, when an oasis -- some kind of reprieve -- would do the team a ton of good.

Key Injuries: LW Benoit Pouliot (foot), 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.