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Nov 3, 2014

NHL Power Rankings - November 3, 2014

There's a new number one team, as the Pittsburgh Penguins have claimed top spot in the TSN.ca NHL Power Rankings.

Sidney Crosby

There's a new number one team, as the Pittsburgh Penguins have claimed top spot in the TSN.ca NHL Power Rankings.

Rocking a power play that is scoring on an absurd 41.9% of their man advantage opportunities, the Penguins also have received three shutouts in the last four starts by goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury.

Chasing the Penguins are the previous top team, Anaheim Ducks, the Minnesota Wild and Nashville Predators.

The Predators, continuing their strong start, jump from nine to four, with better-than-expected first line scoring.

Other clubs climbing include the Detroit Red Wings, up from 12 to five, and playing much better since the return of Pavel Datsyuk. It's probably just coincidence.

The St. Louis Blues go from 11 to six and the Tampa Bay Lightning jump from 21 to 12, while the San Jose Sharks and Calgary Flames both climb six spots to nine and ten, respectively.

Heading the other way, the Chicago Blackhawks and their goal-scoring woes slide from two to seven.

The Montreal Canadiens dip from four to 13 after a rough run through Western Canada and a goaltending collapse knocks the New York Islanders from eight to 19.

Among other Canadian teams, the Vancouver Canucks are up to 11, from 14, and the Toronto Maple Leafs rise from 24 to 17 after a fortunate week. The Winnipeg Jets, with suddenly strong goaltending, go from 25 to 18.

The Ottawa Senators are down a couple of spots, to 22, and the Edmonton Oilers hold steady at 27.

 

 

 

Pittsburgh Penguins

7-2-1 | This Week: 1 Last Week: 3

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    4.10
  • GAPG
    2.20
  • FENCLOSE%
    55.8%
  • PP%
    41.9%
  • PK%
    85.4%

G Marc-Andre Fleury has three shutouts in his last four starts, giving him a career-best .931 save percentage, and he's doing it behind a team that is controlling play to the tune of nearly 56%, second only to Minnesota in unblocked shot attempts in score-close situations.

Key Injuries: RW Beau Bennett (leg).

Anaheim Ducks

10-3 | This Week: 2 Last Week: 1

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    2.69
  • GAPG
    1.85
  • FENCLOSE%
    50.7%
  • PP%
    17.6%
  • PK%
    86.4%

The Ducks didn't do anything horribly wrong to lose the top ranking, but tough to match the Penguins, particularly with questions surrounding the health of goaltenders Frederik Andersen and John Gibson.

Key Injuries: LW Kyle Palmieri (ankle).

Minnesota Wild

7-3 | This Week: 3 Last Week: 6

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    3.40
  • GAPG
    1.80
  • FENCLOSE%
    61.6%
  • PP%
    6.4%
  • PK%
    89.3%

Crazy possession numbers provide a solid backbone for the Wild's start. What stands out is that the top defence pairing of Jonas Brodin and Ryan Suter is carrying play, with better than 60% of the even-strength shot attempts, despite facing the opposition's best lines every night.

Key Injuries: D Jared Spurgeon (shoulder).

Nashville Predators

7-2-2 | This Week: 4 Last Week: 9

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    2.54
  • GAPG
    1.91
  • FENCLOSE%
    52.7%
  • PP%
    12.5%
  • PK%
    72.7%

Seems that the Predators have found a bona fide first line, with LW Filip Forsberg (3 G, 8 A), C Mike Ribeiro (3 G, 6 A) and RW James Neal (7 G, 2 A) providing more punch than the Predators have been used to getting from a number one line.

Key Injuries: C Mike Fisher (Achilles).

Detroit Red Wings

6-2-3 | This Week: 5 Last Week: 12

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    2.64
  • GAPG
    2.00
  • FENCLOSE%
    51.6%
  • PP%
    11.6%
  • PK%
    94.7%

Since getting Pavel Datsyuk back in the lineup, the Wings have taken their game up a notch and their only regulation loss in the past eight games was a game in which they outshot Philadelpia 37-17.

Key Injuries: None.

St. Louis Blues

6-3-1 | This Week: 6 Last Week: 11

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    2.40
  • GAPG
    1.90
  • FENCLOSE%
    53.1%
  • PP%
    20.5%
  • PK%
    75.7%

Winners of four straight, the Blues have been battling through various injuries, but one reason they've been able to persevere is that they have given RW Vladimir Tarasenko a bigger role and he's run with it, putting up 11 points, with 45 shots on goal, in 10 games.

Key Injuries: C Paul Stastny (wrist), RW T.J. Oshie (concussion).

Chicago Blackhawks

6-5-1 | This Week: 7 Last Week: 2

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    2.25
  • GAPG
    1.92
  • FENCLOSE
    55.7%
  • PP%
    18.4%
  • PK%
    91.9%

Goals have been slow to come for a Blackhawks team shooting just 5.9% for the season, but is there really reason to worry about Chicago's offence? They're still a dominant possession team with highly-skilled forwards, so it's entirely reasonable to expect those percentages to pick up.

Key Injuries: None.

Los Angeles Kings

6-4-2 | This Week: 8 Last Week: 5

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    2.25
  • GAPG
    2.17
  • FENCLOSE%
    47.5%
  • PP%
    15.8%
  • PK%
    80.0%

Winless through the first four games of their current five-game road trip, the Kings are saved from dropping further by the returns of C Anze Kopitar and LW Marian Gaborik to the lineup. Kopitar has managed just three points in nine games, but continues to drive play (57.6% of even-strength shot attempts), so production out to improve soon.

Key Injuries: D Slava Voynov (suspension).

San Jose Sharks

7-4-2 | This Week: 9 Last Week: 15

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    3.00
  • GAPG
    2.54
  • FENCLOSE%
    48.5%
  • PP%
    25.0%
  • PK%
    82.5%

After starting the year in a goaltending timeshare, the Sharks have turned to Antti Niemi and gone without a regulation loss in four straight. It's something, but would be more encouraged if the Sharks returned to their typically-strong puck possession play.

Key Injuries: Raffi Torres (knee).

Calgary Flames

7-4-2 | This Week: 10 Last Week: 16

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    2.77
  • GAPG
    2.15
  • FENCLOSE%
    46.2%
  • PP%
    20.0%
  • PK%
    75.7%

While the Flames have been asking a lot of their goaltenders, they've been getting better in that respect. Since getting outshot 50-18 in a 2-1 overtime win against Chicago on October 15, the Flames have carried 55.6% of the unblocked shot attempts in score close situations. Small samples and all that, but if it's any kind of relief for Jonas Hiller and Karri Ramo, then maybe the Flames can sustain some of this success.

Key Injuries: LW Mason Raymond (upper body), C Joe Colborne (upper body), C Matt Stajan (knee), C Mikael Backlund (abdomen).

Vancouver Canucks

8-4 | This Week: 11 Last Week: 11

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    3.08
  • GAPG
    2.83
  • FENCLOSE%
    53.2%
  • PP%
    22.7%
  • PK%
    87.0%

Had a four-game winning streak snapped by Nashville Sunday, and while the Canucks have been playing at a level that suggests it can continue, matters would be easier if they could get G Eddie Lack on track and receive some contribution when they have to rest starter Ryan Miller.

Key Injuries: None.

Tampa Bay Lightning

8-3-1 | This Week: 12 Last Week: 21

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    3.50
  • GAPG
    2.58
  • FENCLOSE%
    53.3%
  • PP%
    25.0%
  • PK%
    84.8%

Five wins in the past six games for the Lightning, who started giving RW Nikita Kucherov more ice five games ago and he has responded with five goals and nine points in those five games.

Key Injuries: D Victor Hedman (hand), LW Alex Killorn (upper body).

Montreal Canadiens

8-3-1 | This Week: 13 Last Week: 4

2013-14 TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    2.33
  • GAPG
    2.92
  • FENCLOSE%
    47.9%
  • PP%
    9.1%
  • PK%
    86.3%

Tough sledding through Western Canada was punctuated by Sunday's lopsided home-ice loss to Calgary. A power play that hasn't scored in six games is part of the problem, but losing the territorial battle at even-strength is a bigger problem.

Key Injuries: None.

New Jersey Devils

6-3-2 | This Week: 14 Last Week: 13

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    2.91
  • GAPG
    3.18
  • FENCLOSE%
    51.1%
  • PP%
    26.3%
  • PK%
    68.8%

On a team that has seen a number of young defencemen, including Jon Merrill, Adam Larsson and Eric Gelinas, battling for a regular spot, rookie Damon Severson has surpassed the bunch, ranking second on the Devils in ice time per game (21:59) and second in scoring with eight points in 11 games.

Key Injuries: LW Mike Cammalleri (jaw), RW Martin Havlat (face).

Washington Capitals

4-5-2 | This Week: 15 Last Week: 10

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    3.09
  • GAPG
    2.82
  • FENCLOSE%
    54.5%
  • PP%
    29.0%
  • PK%
    78.6%

Their feel-good 4-1-2 start is quickly in the rearview mirror now that the Capitals have dropped four straight, but the underlying numbers remain solid. They could use goaltending better than the .892 save percentage they are getting from Braden Holtby and Justin Peters.

Key Injuries: D Dmitri Orlov (wrist).

Dallas Stars

4-3-4 | This Week: 16 Last Week: 7

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    3.00
  • GAPG
    3.46
  • FENCLOSE%
    51.6%
  • PP%
    19.0%
  • PK%
    77.5%

Winless in four, the Stars are finding out that the fun and frivolity of run-and-gun hockey has a downside, especially if the defence can't hold its own and, right now, the Stars' defence -- particularly big-minute guys Trevor Daleyand Alex Goligoski, who are on the wrong end of the possession meter -- aren't doing their part.

Key Injuries: RW Valeri Nichushkin (groin).

Toronto Maple Leafs

6-4-1 | This Week: 17 Last Week: 24

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    2.91
  • GAPG
    2.54
  • FENCLOSE%
    50.3%
  • PP%
    16.7%
  • PK%
    81.0%

A kind schedule (Buffalo and injury-ravaged Columbus) and a stellar performance by James Reimer against Chicago Saturday resulted in a three-win week for the Leafs. So, mitigating factors and all that, but this team isn't in position to hand back wins based on aesthetic value, so count them in the standings and see if the new line combos can continue producing.

Key Injuries: LW David Booth (foot), LW Joffrey Lupul (hand).

Winnipeg Jets

6-5-1 | This Week: 18 Last Week: 25

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    1.75
  • GAPG
    2.08
  • FENCLOSE%
    50.4%
  • PP%
    7.7%
  • PK%
    87.2%

No regulation losses in the past five, with back-to-back shutouts in the last two, gives the Jets some upward mobility, though now that LW Evander Kane has returned to the lineup, they could use a boost to their goal scoring.

Key Injuries: None.

New York Islanders

6-5 | This Week: 19 Last Week: 8

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    3.18
  • GAPG
    3.54
  • FENCLOSE%
    53.4%
  • PP%
    20.4%
  • PK%
    64.7%

Outscored 12-4 in three losses last week, the Islanders might be wondering what happened to that alleged offseason goaltending improvement, as Jaroslav Halak and Chad Johnson have combined for an .883 save percentage.

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

Boston Bruins

7-6 | This Week: 20 Last Week: 20

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    2.69
  • GAPG
    2.46
  • FENCLOSE%
    54.5%
  • PP%
    18.9%
  • PK%
    80.5%

Injuries have forced the Bruins to using a patchwork blueline, but they're surviving and while a 7-6 record is nothing to get excited about, with the Bruins' possession running above 54%, they should be fine in the long run.

Key Injuries: D Zdeno Chara (knee), D Torey Krug (finger).

Ottawa Senators

5-3-2 | This Week: 21 Last Week: 19

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    2.70
  • GAPG
    2.50
  • FENCLOSE%
    41.5%
  • PP%
    20.0%
  • PK%
    83.3%

Four losses in the past five games, and the bigger concern is that the Senators' possession stats portend more problems. When Buffalo is the only team trailing the Senators in score-close unblocked shot attempts, there had better be change or Craig Anderson and Robin Lehner will have to be superhuman.

Key Injuries: C Marc Methot (back).

New York Rangers

5-4-1 | This Week: 22 Last Week: 21

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    2.60
  • GAPG
    3.00
  • FENCLOSE%
    52.0%
  • PP%
    7.1%
  • PK%
    83.3%

The Rangers have one regulation loss in the past six games but, missing four regulars on the blueline, they're going to have to do some Bruins-like patchwork on the back end. Conor Allen and Dylan McIlrath have been recalled, joining a defence that already has room for Matt Hunwick and Mike Kostka. 

Key Injuries: C Derek Stepan (leg), D Dan Boyle (hand), Ryan McDonagh (shoulder), D Kevin Klein (foot), D John Moore (suspension).

Colorado Avalanche

2-4-3 | This Week: 23 Last Week: 25

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    2.38
  • GAPG
    2.77
  • FENCLOSE%
    43.4%
  • PP%
    17.0%
  • PK%
    92.4%

What a mess. Putting up possession numbers in the lower end of the league, the Avalanche added veterans like Daniel Briere and Jarome Iginla in the offseason, under the guise that they would be veteran leaders for this young team. Briere has been a healthy scratch for the past couple games and Iginla, who has two goals in 13 games, is getting called out by head coach Patrick Roy for defensive miscues.

Key Injuries: None.

Philadelphia Flyers

4-5-2 | This Week: 24 Last Week: 17

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    3.00
  • GAPG
    3.27
  • FENCLOSE%
    43.5%
  • PP%
    19.5%
  • PK%
    75.8%

 

The Flyers have been good enough, some nights, to have wins over quality opposition, but possession woes coupled with a depleted blueline leave a lot on the shoulders of Steve Mason and Ray Emery in net. So far, Emery is the one that has been up to the task.

Key Injuries: D Kimmo Timonen (blood clots), D Braydon Coburn (lower body), D Andrew MacDonald (lower body).

Florida Panthers

4-2-3 | This Week: 25 Last Week: 28

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    1.56
  • GAPG
    1.89
  • FENCLOSE%
    53.2%
  • PP%
    14.7%
  • PK%
    76.6%

The Panthers have gone six straight without a regulation loss and have solid possession numbers, but they're practically playing soccer -- an average of 3.45 goals per game total for both teams in Florida's games.

Key Injuries: C Dave Bolland (lower body).

Arizona Coyotes

4-6-1 | This Week: 26 Last Week: 24

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    2.54
  • GAPG
    3.73
  • FENCLOSE%
    49.0%
  • PP%
    25.6%
  • PK%
    74.3%

Had gone seven games without a regulation win before a 6-5 win at Washington Sunday. With the goaltending they are getting from Mike Smith and Devan Dubnyk (875 SV%), it's hard to produce any kind of decent results.

Key Injuries: RW David Moss (upper body).

Edmonton Oilers

4-6-1 | This Week: 27 Last Week: 27

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    2.64
  • GAPG
    3.46
  • FENCLOSE%
    47.3%
  • PP%
    14.7%
  • PK%
    81.2%

The Oilers would have had a decent shot to move up this week if not for Taylor Hall's injury, and being without a couple of regulars on the blueline is no peach, either. Basically, there have been signs of progress, even if the rankings aren't really reflecting it today.

Key Injuries: LW Taylor Hall (knee), D Nikita Nikitin (undisclosed), D Andrew Ference (suspension).

Columbus Blue Jackets

4-7 | This Week: 28 Last Week: 18

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    2.54
  • GAPG
    3.36
  • FENCLOSE%
    48.8%
  • PP%
    19.6%
  • PK%
    75.0%

This is a circumstantial ranking, as the Blue Jackets are certainly closer to a playoff team than this would indicate but, right now, their lineup is as ravaged by injury as any in recent memory.

Key Injuries: LW Boone Jenner (hand), RW Nathan Horton (back), C Brandon Dubinsky (abdominal), LW Matt Calvert (upper body), G Sergei Bobrovsky (finger), D James Wisniewski (finger), C Artem Anisimov (concussion).

Carolina Hurricanes

2-6-2 | This Week: 29 Last Week: 30

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    2.10
  • GAPG
    3.30
  • FENCLOSE%
    47.9%
  • PP%
    21.9%
  • PK%
    80.0%

Getting healthier, the Hurricanes are starting to perform a little more respectably, with a couple of strong games for G Cam Ward while RW Alexander Semin got to watch the proceedings from the press box.

Key Injuries: C Jordan Staal (fibula).

Buffalo Sabres

3-9-1 | This Week: 30 Last Week: 29

TEAM STATS

  • GPG
    1.08
  • GAPG
    3.31
  • FENCLOSE%
    36.7%
  • PP%
    2.4%
  • PK%
    82.0%

The Sabres have recorded points in three of the past five games, yet nearly every game that they do so feels like some small miracle

Key Injuries: None.

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

FENCLOSE% - Fenwick Close Percentage. The percentage of unblocked shot attempts, during 5-on-5 play, relative to the opposition. 

PP% - Power Play%

PK% - Penalty Kill%

Much of the data included comes from 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.