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Jan 20, 2015

NHL Power Rankings - January 20, 2015

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

David Backes Patrik Berglund

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

Among teams climbing this week, the Lightning climb from five to two, as several top teams struggled, and then the biggest movers came further down the chart. The Calgary Flames rise, from 24 to 21, on the back of goaltender Joni Ortio, who has helped them to four straight wins, and the improving Carolina Hurricanes move from 28 to 24.

Heading the wrong way, the Nashville Predators are looking at life with Pekka Rinne for a while, and drop from two to nine. The Toronto Maple Leafs, making goal-scoring appear far more complicated than ever before, fall from 19 to 23.

As for the rest of the Canadian teams, the Montreal Canadiens are up one spot, to five, and the Winnipeg Jets continue their ascent, up a couple of spots to 10.

The Vancouver Canucks are up one, to 15, and the Ottawa Senators are up one, to 20.

That leaves the Edmonton Oilers, still hanging near the bottom, at 29 for the second straight week.

 

St. Louis Blues

29-13-4 This Week: 1 Last Week: 1

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    3.13
  • GAPG
    2.37
  • S.A. CORSI%
    52.3%
  • PP%
    25.5%
  • PK%
    81.2%

7-0-1 in the past eight games, the Blues continue to score, but are tightening up defensively, allowing 22.8 shots per game in those eight games, their 27.1 shots allowed per game for the season ranking fourth in the league.

Key Injuries: None.

Tampa Bay Lightning

29-14-4 This Week: 2 Last Week: 3

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    3.19
  • GAPG
    2.60
  • S.A. CORSI%
    54.2%
  • PP%
    18.9%
  • PK%
    81.2%

Missing a couple of regulars on the blueline could be a problem, though Nikita Nesterov has been a pleasant surprise (with a 61.0% Corsi) in his first six games.

Key Injuries: D Matt Carle (abdomen), D Radko Gudas (lower body).  

Chicago Blackhawks

28-15-2 This Week: 3 Last Week: 3

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    2.98
  • GAPG
    2.31
  • S.A. CORSI
    55.3%
  • PP%
    18.5%
  • PK%
    88.0%

It sure looks like the Blackhawks are getting loose defensively, allowing 33.9 shots on goal per game over the past nine, a stretch during which they are 4-5. A supremely talented team like the Blackhawks isn't afraid to trade chances because they can win anyway, but they do have more success when not allowing 34 shots per game.

Key Injuries: LW Kris Versteeg (hand).

New York Rangers

26-13-4 This Week: 4 Last Week: 4

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    3.00
  • GAPG
    2.33
  • S.A. CORSI%
    50.4%
  • PP%
    19.7%
  • PK%
    82.8%

Funny thing about LW Rick Nash, the league's leading goal-scorer with 28 in 43 games: his shots on goal per game (3.65) are his lowest since 2009-10. But, bury 17.8% of those shots and the totals keep climbing.

Key Injuries: None.

Montreal Canadiens

28-13-3 This Week: 5 Last Week: 6

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    2.64
  • GAPG
    2.36
  • S.A. CORSI%
    48.2%
  • PP%
    15.9%
  • PK%
    84.8%

RW Dale Weise has tied his career-high with 16 points (6 G, 10 A), set in 61 games last season, and 16 even-strength points is respectable (tied with Radim Vrbata, Paul Stastny and Chris Kunitz, among others), but is he really a long-term solution as the first-line right winger? 

Key Injuries: None.

New York Islanders

31-14-1 This Week: 6 Last Week: 7

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    3.15
  • GAPG
    2.78
  • S.A. CORSI%
    54.0%
  • PP%
    19.2%
  • PK%
    74.4%

Five wins in the past six games lifts the Islanders to the top spot in the Eastern Conference standings. It doesn't hurt to get the kind of goal-scoring they are receiving from complementary wingers Nikolay Kulemin (11) and Anders Lee (13).

Key Injuries: C Mikhail Grabovski (lower body).

Anaheim Ducks

30-10-6 This Week: 7 Last Week: 9

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    2.74
  • GAPG
    2.54
  • S.A. CORSI%
    51.5%
  • PP%
    17.9%
  • PK%
    80.1%

Seven wins in the past eight games for the Ducks, who have also gone 7-1 in their past eight overtime/shootout results. That's one way to be first overall in the standings despite ranking 15th in per-game goal differential.

Key Injuries: None.

Pittsburgh Penguins

26-12-6 This Week: 8 Last Week: 8

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    3.00
  • GAPG
    2.46
  • S.A. CORSI%
    53.0%
  • PP%
    23.4%
  • PK%
    87.7%

Getting thumped in back-to-back games against the New York teams was not ideal, as G Marc-Andre Fleury regresses before our eyes, but the good news for the Penguins in that the reported demise of C Sidney Crosby appears to be overblown -- he has 13 points (4 G, 9 A) in seven games this month.

Key Injuries: RW Pascal Dupuis (blood clot), D Olli Maatta (upper body), LW Blake Comeau (upper body), RW Patric Hornqvist (lower body).

Nashville Predators

30-10-4 This Week: 9 Last Week: 2

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    3.00
  • GAPG
    2.25
  • S.A. CORSI%
    52.3%
  • PP%
    15.9%
  • PK%
    79.4%

Saturday's loss at Detroit played on the worst fears of the Predators while Pekka Rinne is out. Carter Hutton allowed three goals on four shots and Nashville didn't have a real chance from the start. But, the Predators' Top 10 possession numbers should allow them to get by with even mediocre goaltending while Rinne is out.

Key Injuries: G Pekka Rinne (knee), D Ryan Ellis (lower body).

Winnipeg Jets

25-14-8 This Week: 10 Last Week: 12

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    2.70
  • GAPG
    2.40
  • S.A. CORSI%
    52.7%
  • PP%
    17.5%
  • PK%
    83.4%

5-0-1 in the past six, the Jets are healthy, and ultimately benefitting from the injuries that left them short on the blueline. Dustin Byfuglien has been great since returning to the blueline and Ben Chiarot has solidified his spot on the blueline, playing more than 20 minutes in four of those six games.

Key Injuries: D Jacob Trouba (upper body).

Detroit Red Wings

26-11-9 This Week: 11 Last Week: 10

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    2.89
  • GAPG
    2.35
  • S.A. CORSI%
    54.7%
  • PP%
    25.2%
  • PK%
    85.4%

The Wings have won six of seven, catching some soft opposition, but also earning wins over St. Louis and Nashville, but they are also questionable in goal while Jimmy Howard is out.

Key Injuries: LW Johan Franzen (upper body), RW Tomas Jurco (back), G Jimmy Howard (groin).

Washington Capitals

24-13-8 This Week: 12 Last Week: 11

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    2.93
  • GAPG
    2.49
  • S.A. CORSI%
    52.3%
  • PP%
    24.1%
  • PK%
    79.3%

Suffered back-to-back losses for the first time since the beginning of December. Perhaps not so coincidentally the most recent loss was Justin Peters' first appearance since November 29 as Braden Holtby has been on the play-every-day plan.

Key Injuries: None.

Dallas Stars

21-17-7 This Week: 13 Last Week: 15

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    3.13
  • GAPG
    3.27
  • S.A. CORSI%
    50.9%
  • PP%
    15.5%
  • PK%
    79.1%

11-4-2 in the past 17 games, the Stars are making up for a slow start, thanks in large part to improved production from the supporting cast. Case in point: veteran RW Erik Cole, who leads the Stars with 10 points ( 6 G, 4 A) in eight games this month. 

Key Injuries: RW Valeri Nichushkin (groin), D Trevor Daley (undisclosed), RW Brett Ritchie (undisclosed).

Boston Bruins

24-16-6 This Week: 14 Last Week: 13

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    2.59
  • GAPG
    2.46
  • S.A. CORSI%
    53.2%
  • PP%
    17.4%
  • PK%
    81.5%

Had a five-game winning streak snapped Saturday by Columbus, but the Bruins are playing better and if rookie RW David Pastrnak can fill the right wing spot with David Krejci and Milan Lucic, suddenly there is some balance across the forward lines.

Key Injuries: None.

Vancouver Canucks

26-15-3 This Week: 15 Last Week: 16

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    2.75
  • GAPG
    2.48
  • S. A. CORSI%
    49.4%
  • PP%
    19.7%
  • PK%
    87.9%

G Ryan Miller is having his best stretch of the season (one goal allowed in the last three games) and D Dan Hamhuis is back from injury, so the Canucks are in a good spot - second in the Pacific Division with games in hand on all of the teams chasing them.

Key Injuries: None.

San Jose Sharks

24-17-6 This Week: 16 Last Week: 14

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    2.66
  • GAPG
    2.68
  • S.A. CORSI%
    51.2%
  • PP%
    20.5%
  • PK%
    81.5%

The Sharks' inconsistency has been par for the course this year, but one player who continues to bring it is C/RW Joe Pavelski, whose increased shot production (from 2.74 per game last year to 3.26 this year) has helped him stay at nearly a goal-every-two-games pace.

Key Injuries: Raffi Torres (knee).

Florida Panthers

20-14-10 This Week: 17 Last Week: 17

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    2.32
  • GAPG
    2.64
  • S.A. CORSI%
    51.6%
  • PP%
    12.8%
  • PK%
    81.5%

Winless in four, the Panthers may still be the best candidate to creep into the top eight in the Eastern Conference, but they need some offence. In a related story, their two big offseason free agent forward signings, Jussi Jokinen and Dave Bolland, have combined for five goals.

Key Injuries: None.

Minnesota Wild

20-20-5 This Week: 18 Last Week: 20

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    2.71
  • GAPG
    2.91
  • S.A. CORSI%
    51.9%
  • PP%
    14.9%
  • PK%
    83.6%

Is Devan Dubnyk the saviour the Wild need in net? If he can provide league-average goaltending, maybe he is, but that may not be enough to overcome an eight-point deficit to get into the playoffs.

Key Injuries: C Mikael Granlund (upper body).

Los Angeles Kings

20-14-12 This Week: 19 Last Week: 18

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    2.74
  • GAPG
    2.50
  • S.A. CORSI%
    54.2%
  • PP%
    19.2%
  • PK%
    78.7%

One win in the past seven games and it was a 2-0 decision at home against Toronto - a game that was played virtually even throughout. 

Key Injuries: D Slava Voynov (suspension), RW Tyler Toffoli (mono), LW Tanner Pearson (fibula).

Ottawa Senators

18-18-8 This Week: 20 Last Week: 21

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    2.66
  • GAPG
    2.68
  • S.A. CORSI%
    49.8%
  • PP%
    17.1%
  • PK%
    83.2%

The results haven't been there, with a 7-7-3 record under new coach Dave Cameron, but the Senators' puck possession has gone way up under the new coach.

Key Injuries: None.

Calgary Flames

25-18-3 This Week: 21 Last Week: 24

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    2.83
  • GAPG
    2.56
  • S.A. CORSI%
    44.3%
  • PP%
    16.8%
  • PK%
    76.6%

Rookie G Joni Ortio has been a find, stopping 116 of 120 shots in four games for the Flames since getting called up. How long does he keep the net?

Key Injuries: LW Curtis Glencross (lower body).

Colorado Avalanche

19-18-10 This Week: 22 Last Week: 22

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    2.49
  • GAPG
    2.79
  • S.A. CORSI%
    43.5%
  • PP%
    14.2%
  • PK%
    83.8%

One win on a five-game road trip makes it hard to gain ground on a playoff spot, even when the goaltending is good. If the Avs lose any further ground, a Ryan O'Reilly trade may become more likely.

Key Injuries: LW Jamie McGinn (back).

Toronto Maple Leafs

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

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    2.89
  • GAPG
    3.08
  • S.A. CORSI%
    44.6%
  • PP%
    19.4%
  • PK%
    82.9%

What? Nothing to see here. Everything is fine.

Key Injuries: LW Joffrey Lupul (lower body), C Peter Holland (upper body), LW Leo Komarov (upper body).

Carolina Hurricanes

16-25-5 This Week: 24 Last Week: 28

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    2.06
  • GAPG
    2.52
  • S.A. CORSI%
    50.7%
  • PP%
    16.6%
  • PK%
    87.0%

Coming around after a rough start, the Hurricanes are 6-2-1 in the past nine and have made RW Alexander Semin a healthy scratch several times along the way.

Key Injuries: None.

New Jersey Devils

17-22-8 This Week: 25 Last Week: 24

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    2.23
  • GAPG
    2.72
  • S.A. CORSI%
    47.7%
  • PP%
    20.9%
  • PK%
    79.5%

As surprises go, Scott Gomez-as-productive-NHL-player has to be right near the top this year, right?

Key Injuries: LW Ryane Clowe (concussion), D Bryce Salvador (lower body), D Damon Severson (ankle), RW Jaromir Jagr (illness).

Columbus Blue Jackets

20-21-3 This Week: 26 Last Week: 25

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    2.48
  • GAPG
    3.11
  • S.A. CORSI%
    45.8%
  • PP%
    25.0%
  • PK%
    79.1%

Beyond the big line, of Ryan Johansen, Nick Foligno and Scott Hartnell, Columbus' fourth-highest scoring forward is Cam Atkinson, who has eight goals and 15 points. a big drop that reflects all the injuries they have endured throughout the lineup.

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

Philadelphia Flyers

18-22-7 This Week: 27 Last Week: 26

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    2.68
  • GAPG
    2.96
  • S.A. CORSI%
    48.7%
  • PP%
    23.3%
  • PK%
    73.4%

The Rob Zepp story is a wonderful tribute to perseverance, but him starting regularly over Ray Emery in the absence of Steve Mason does not reflect well on where Emery's game is this season.

Key Injuries: D Kimmo Timonen (blood clots), G Steve Mason (knee), D Nicklas Grossmann (upper body), D Braydon Coburn (lower body), C Scott Laughton (upper body).

Arizona Coyotes

16-24-5 This Week: 28 Last Week: 27

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    2.24
  • GAPG
    3.27
  • S.A. CORSI%
    48.1%
  • PP%
    21.8%
  • PK%
    75.8%

Moving out Devan Dubnyk, and thus starting Mike Smith regularly, sets the Coyotes sights for next season. Next up, moving out pending UFAs like Antoine Vermette and Zbynek Michalek.

Key Injuries: LW Mikkel Boedker (spleen).

Edmonton Oilers

11-26-9 This Week: 29 Last Week: 29

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    2.22
  • GAPG
    3.28
  • S.A. CORSI%
    47.9%
  • PP%
    13.9%
  • PK%
    79.8%

Benoit Pouliot has been a valuable addition to the Oilers, only it doesn't much matter for this season. But, an opportunity to prove himself as a top-six forward could bode well for the future.

Key Injuries: None.

Buffalo Sabres

14-30-3 This Week: 30 Last Week: 30

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    1.77
  • GAPG
    3.53
  • S.A. CORSI%
    35.8%
  • PP%
    9.9%
  • PK%
    73.8%

11 straight losses, 18 without a win in regulation; it's pretty much set in stone the team that will be in 30th the rest of the way.

Key Injuries: RW Brian Gionta (head), LW Marcus Foligno (hand).

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.