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Dec 29, 2015

NHL Power Rankings - December 29, 2014

The Chicago Blackhawks remain on top of the TSN.ca NHL Power Rankings, ahead of the Nashville Predators and Tampa Bay Lightning.

Patrick Kane Duncan Keith

 

The Chicago Blackhawks remain on top of the TSN.ca NHL Power Rankings, ahead of the Nashville Predators and Tampa Bay Lightning.

Chicago is 12-2-1 in the past 15 games, have the league's best goal-differential (+35) and possession stats (56.3% Score-Adjusted Corsi), so they're in the pole position, with the rest of the league chasing.

Among teams rising, the defending-champion Los Angeles Kings jump from 14 to five, with the power play clicking and boosting their top line production.

The Winnipeg Jets, continuing to win despite a rash of injuries, rise from 18 to 14.

Moving the other way, injuries are piling up in Pittsburgh, dropping the Penguins from three to seven, and goaltending woes knock the Minnesota Wild from 11 to 15.

As for other Canadian teams, the Montreal Canadiens are tops, at six, while the Vancouver Canucks slide to 17.

The Toronto Maple Leafs hold at 19, while the Ottawa Senators and Calgary Flames each lose one spot, to 22 and 23, respectively.

The steadiest of them all, though, is the Edmonton Oilers, who have been in the basement for the past month. 

 

 

 

 

 

Chicago Blackhawks

24-10-2 This Week: 1 Last Week: 1

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    3.00
  • GAPG
    2.03
  • S.A. CORSI
    56.3%
  • PP%
    18.7%
  • PK%
    91.0%

Times are so tough for the Blackhawks, who are 12-2-1 in the past 15 games, that they don't have room for Patrick Sharp in their top six forwards. The guy who ranks 20th in goals scored since the start of the 2010-2011 season? Yeah, that guy.

Key Injuries: None.

Nashville Predators

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

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    2.79
  • GAPG
    2.06
  • S.A. CORSI%
    53.3%
  • PP%
    13.5%
  • PK%
    79.6%

Pretty smart of the Predators to stock up on cheap help down the middle in the offseason. It helped them succeed despite the absence of Mike Fisher and now that Fisher is back and producing, they could afford to expose Derek Roy to waivers (and he somehow got through). Next question is how much longer Olli Jokinen holds a spot in the lineup.

Key Injuries: None.

Tampa Bay Lightning

22-11-4 This Week: 3 Last Week: 4

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    3.19
  • GAPG
    2.51
  • S.A. CORSI%
    54.3%
  • PP%
    18.5%
  • PK%
    81.7%

Having two number one lines really pays off when one line slows down. As Stamkos' group hits a bit of a slump, just look to Tyler Johnson, Nikita Kucherov and Ondrej Palat and keep on trucking.

Key Injuries: D Jason Garrison (undisclosed).

Detroit Red Wings

19-8-9 This Week: 4 Last Week: 7

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    2.83
  • GAPG
    2.28
  • S.A. CORSI%
    54.0%
  • PP%
    24.3%
  • PK%
    88.4%

Emerged from a six-game winless skid (which included four shootout losses) with back-to-back wins and, as long as Pavel Datsyuk remains healthy, they have lots of depth up front to be even more productive.

Key Injuries: None.

Los Angeles Kings

18-11-7 This Week: 5 Last Week: 14

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    2.75
  • GAPG
    2.36
  • S.A. CORSI%
    53.8%
  • PP%
    20.6%
  • PK%
    80.2%

The Kings have scored nine power play goals in the past four games, going 3-0-1 in that stretch. Anything to get the big guns firing and C Anze Kopitar has 15 points in 12 games this month, with 10 of those points coming on the power play.

Key Injuries: D Slava Voynov (suspension).

Montreal Canadiens

22-11-2 This Week: 6 Last Week: 5

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    2.60
  • GAPG
    2.37
  • S.A. CORSI%
    48.6%
  • PP%
    15.2%
  • PK%
    86.3%

The Habs have won five of the past six games, but they are really pushing it in terms of leaning on G Carey Price. The Toronto Maple Leafs are the only team in a playoff spot with worse puck-possession numbers than the Canadiens (using score-adjusted Corsi) and defying the underlying numbers is a hard way to sustain a winning record.

Key Injuries: None.

Pittsburgh Penguins

22-8-5 This Week: 7 Last Week: 3

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    3.03
  • GAPG
    2.29
  • S.A. CORSI%
    52.6%
  • PP%
    23.1%
  • PK%
    87.3%

The Penguins' brutal run of injuries is compounded by a slump for superstar C Sidney Crosby, who has three goals in the past 24 games, after scoring seven in eight games to start the season.

Key Injuries: RW Pascal Dupuis (blood clot), D Olli Maatta (upper body), D Christian Ehrhoff (lower body), D Paul Martin (undisclosed), RW Steve Downie (illness), LW Blake Comeau (upper body), RW Patric Hornqvist (lower body).

St. Louis Blues

21-11-3 This Week: 8 Last Week: 6

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    2.86
  • GAPG
    2.51
  • S.A. CORSI%
    51.4%
  • PP%
    24.8%
  • PK%
    77.5%

Winless in four, the Blues can't get G Brian Elliott back soon enough, though it appears that his return from injury is imminent. They could also use more production from their non-Tarasenko forwards.

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

New York Islanders

23-11-1 This Week: 9 Last Week: 8

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    2.91
  • GAPG
    2.77
  • S.A. CORSI%
    53.3%
  • PP%
    17.9%
  • PK%
    74.0%

Came out of last week winless in two games (against Montreal and at Buffalo), but outshot the opposition 74-47. If you're going to drive play like that, the losing streaks shouldn't last long and that's a refreshing change for this franchise.

Key Injuries: RW Michael Grabner (lower body).

New York Rangers

19-10-4 This Week: 10 Last Week: 12

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    2.97
  • GAPG
    2.42
  • S.A. CORSI%
    50.5%
  • PP%
    17.1%
  • PK%
    82.9%

The Blueshirts have won eight straight, allowing a total of 11 goals and it's pretty good to turn to Cam Talbot (.928 SV%) when Henrik Lundqvist needs a break.

Key Injuries: None.

San Jose Sharks

19-12-5 This Week: 11 Last Week: 9

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    2.72
  • GAPG
    2.47
  • S.A. CORSI%
    52.4%
  • PP%
    24.5%
  • PK%
    83.0%

Since coming over from Dallas, D Brenden Dillon has 56.1% Corsi while starting more shifts in the defensive zone (42.6% o-zone starts). Nice addition to the San Jose blueline.

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

Washington Capitals

18-11-6 This Week: 13 Last Week: 15

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    2.89
  • GAPG
    2.49
  • S.A. CORSI%
    52.5%
  • PP%
    23.8%
  • PK%
    78.2%

One regulation loss in the past 11 games for the Capitals, who have been leaning on G Braden Holtby. He's been great, with a .933 save percentage in December, but there also may be a reluctance to use backup Justin Peters, who has an .872 save percentage in seven games this season.

Key Injuries: None.

Anaheim Ducks

24-8-6 This Week: 12 Last Week: 10

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    2.71
  • GAPG
    2.55
  • S.A. CORSI%
    50.9%
  • PP%
    16.0%
  • PK%
    79.8%

One regulation win in the past six games -- also one regulation loss in the past five -- so the Ducks aren't quite flying as they had been earlier. More like treading water while they wait for Corey Perry to return. In the meantime, C Ryan Getzlaf has been pretty great, compiling 23 points (6 G, 17 A) in the past 14 games despite a rotating cast of characters on his wings.

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

Winnipeg Jets

19-10-7 This Week: 14 Last Week: 18

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    2.50
  • GAPG
    2.25
  • S.A. CORSI%
    53.2%
  • PP%
    15.2%
  • PK%
    84.9%

WIth one regulation loss in the past 14 games, the Jets continue to thrive despite a crushing series of injuries. There are contributions being made throughout the lineup, but the standout may be G Michael Hutchinson, whose .939 save percentage is starting to earn him a greater share of the starts in goal.

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

Minnesota Wild

16-13-4 This Week: 15 Last Week: 11

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    2.85
  • GAPG
    2.79
  • S.A. CORSI%
    52.6%
  • PP%
    14.4%
  • PK%
    87.0%

No regulation wins in the past seven games, with goaltending causing the Wild problems as Niklas Backstrom is sidelined, Darcy Kuemper is struggling and John Curry is a 30-year-old journeyman who has played seven NHL games. Josh Harding hasn't played since December 6th in the AHL either, so this issue isn't easily solved in-house.

Key Injuries: C Mikael Granlund (upper body), G Niklas Backstrom (illness).

Florida Panthers

16-9-8 This Week: 16 Last Week: 17

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    2.24
  • GAPG
    2.48
  • S.A. CORSI%
    51.9%
  • PP%
    13.6%
  • PK%
    81.0%

One regulation loss in the past seven games puts the Panthers in a playoff spot, if calculating by points percentage. They just needed to find a spot for RW Jimmy Hayes in the lineup on a regular basis, which shouldn't be too hard for a guy scoring at an elite level.

Key Injuries: None.

Vancouver Canucks

20-11-3 This Week: 17 Last Week: 13

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    2.88
  • GAPG
    2.71
  • S. A. CORSI%
    49.5%
  • PP%
    19.3%
  • PK%
    86.8%

With Ryan Miller continuing to struggle, with a .907 save percentage, Eddie Lack (.938 save percentage in his past eight appearances) is looking like a more viable option.

Key Injuries: D Dan Hamhuis (lower body).

Boston Bruins

18-15-3 This Week: 18 Last Week: 16

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    2.53
  • GAPG
    2.64
  • S.A. CORSI%
    52.6%
  • PP%
    16.5%
  • PK%
    79.3%

Two regulation wins in the past 16 games has the Bruins on the outside looking in at a playoff spot and the natives are restless. Their puck possession stats remain strong, but  have to find a way to generate more offensively.

Key Injuries: None.

Toronto Maple Leafs

20-13-3 This Week: 19 Last Week: 19

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    3.33
  • GAPG
    2.97
  • S.A. CORSI%
    44.7%
  • PP%
    20.4%
  • PK%
    83.5%

Four losses in the past five games and the next four games are on the road. Then, after a pair at home, they head to California, so this is a daunting stretch that will either require a percentage-fueled run or a miraculous change in puck possession -- neither of which is the most likely scenario -- for the Leafs to survive. 

Key Injuries: LW Leo Komarov (concussion).

Dallas Stars

15-14-5 This Week: 20 Last Week: 20

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    2.85
  • GAPG
    3.38
  • S.A. CORSI%
    50.8%
  • PP%
    16.0%
  • PK%
    79.2%

Five wins in six games gets the Stars closer to respectability, but they really have to get more consistent play from G Kari Lehtonen, who was solid from most shot locations last season, but has not been so steady this year, with more shots from distance finding the back of the net.

Key Injuries: RW Valeri Nichushkin (groin).

Philadelphia Flyers

14-15-6 This Week: 21 Last Week: 23

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    2.80
  • GAPG
    2.86
  • S.A. CORSI%
    48.4%
  • PP%
    21.6%
  • PK%
    74.4%

Two regulation losses in the past 11 games keeps the Flyers in the realm of competing for a playoff spot, even if they are currently eight points out. If they're going to gain ground, figuring out their blueline, in terms of personnel and deployment, should be a priority.

Key Injuries: D Kimmo Timonen (blood clots).

Ottawa Senators

14-14-7 This Week: 22 Last Week: 21

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    2.54
  • GAPG
    2.69
  • S.A. CORSI%
    47.6%
  • PP%
    18.4%
  • PK%
    82.3%

The Senators need to get LW Clarke MacArthur out of his slump. Kyle Turris is the only Sens forward getting more ice time per game, yet MacArthur has four points (2 G, 2 A) in his past 16 games. 

Key Injuries: C Marc Methot (back).

Calgary Flames

19-15-3 This Week: 23 Last Week: 22

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    2.84
  • GAPG
    2.65
  • S.A. CORSI%
    44.4%
  • PP%
    19.2%
  • PK%
    76.8%

Broke out of an eight-game winless slide to win back-to-back games, with rookie LW Johnny Gaudreau tallying five goals in those two victories. 

Key Injuries: C Mikael Backlund (abdomen).

Colorado Avalanche

13-14-8 This Week: 24 Last Week: 26

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    2.51
  • GAPG
    2.97
  • S.A. CORSI%
    44.3%
  • PP%
    14.7%
  • PK%
    85.0%

Had a 4-0-2 run before Saturday's home loss to Chicago, but the bulk of that came with rookie Calvin Pickard in net and he's since been returned to the AHL. 

Key Injuries: LW Jamie McGinn (back).

Columbus Blue Jackets

15-16-3 This Week: 25 Last Week: 25

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    2.41
  • GAPG
    3.18
  • S.A. CORSI%
    45.5%
  • PP%
    24.0%
  • PK%
    80.3%

The Blue Jackets' top scoring players in December: Nick Foligno, Jack Johnson and Kevin Connauton. Obviously.

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

New Jersey Devils

12-18-7 This Week: 26 Last Week: 25

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    2.08
  • GAPG
    2.73
  • S.A. CORSI%
    48.4%
  • PP%
    20.2%
  • PK%
    78.2%

How hard has it been for the Devils to find the net? Their top two goal-scorers in 13 December games are C Adam Henrique and fourth-line LW Stephen Gionta, both with three.

Key Injuries: LW Ryane Clowe (concussion), D Bryce Salvador (lower body), LW Patrik Elias (mumps), RW Michael Ryder (mumps), RW Martin Havlat (illness).

Carolina Hurricanes

10-21-4 This Week: 27 Last Week: 29

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    2.00
  • GAPG
    2.63
  • S.A. CORSI%
    49.8%
  • PP%
    17.1%
  • PK%
    84.7%

2-2-1 in the past five is okay and, more importantly, the Hurricanes are getting Jordan Staal back from his broken leg. If Staal can play at his usual level, the Hurricanes ought to be at least a little better than they've shown through the first half of this season.

Key Injuries: LW Jiri Tlusty (upper body), RW Alexander Semin (upper body).

Arizona Coyotes

13-18-4 This Week: 28 Last Week: 28

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    2.26
  • GAPG
    3.17
  • S.A. CORSI%
    48.5%
  • PP%
    19.8%
  • PK%
    75.2%

One regulation win in the past 10 (and it was at Edmonton, which barely counts), and it looks like Devan Dubnyk is becoming their best option in goal.

Key Injuries: None.

Buffalo Sabres

14-19-3 This Week: 29 Last Week: 27

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    1.86
  • GAPG
    3.25
  • S.A. CORSI%
    35.9%
  • PP%
    8.9%
  • PK%
    76.6%

For as much ground as the Sabres have been gaining in the standings, they haven't had a regulation win in the past seven, so there is still more than a decent chance that they will start sliding back.

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

Edmonton Oilers

7-22-7 This Week: 30 Last Week: 30

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    2.11
  • GAPG
    3.42
  • S.A. CORSI%
    48.1%
  • PP%
    12.0%
  • PK%
    80.4%

One regulation win in the past 21 games and they barely had a chance Saturday, after G Viktor Fasth gave up three goals on six shots. Pretty much the story of the season.

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.