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Final power ranking has Oilers as Canada's best bet for Stanley Cup

Edmonton Oilers celebrate Edmonton Oilers celebrate - The Canadian Press

As the regular season winds down, we present the final edition of our NHL Power Rankings. The statistical model we use to rank teams has done well this season in forecasting which teams will climb or drop in the standings.

Now, with the playoffs on the horizon, it has a couple of things to say about the Canadian teams getting ready for the postseason. 

The Edmonton Oilers are Canada’s best bet to bring the Stanley Cup north of the border for the first time since 1993. Edmonton is fourth in goal differential, first in expected goal differential and second to only the Dallas Stars on our list.

The Oilers have a 36 per cent chance of catching the Vancouver Canucks for top spot in the Pacific Division. The most likely scenario is Edmonton finishing second, with their most likely first-round opponent being the Los Angeles Kings. The Oilers will enjoy some downtime early this week, with their next game coming Wednesday against Vegas as Connor McDavid sits one assist shy of 100 this season. 

The Toronto Maple Leafs finished last week with a 2-1-0 record and remain ninth on our list. The Leafs’ ranking is consistent with where they sit in our key performance metrics as Toronto sits 11th in goal differential, 10th in expected goal differential and 10th in points percentage.

A first-round date with the team that bounced them from the playoffs last spring seems inevitable at this point as there is an 86 per cent chance the Leafs will face the Panthers to open the postseason. The Maple Leafs have won two of three games against the Panthers this season and will face Florida one final time before the playoffs, April 16 in Sunrise Fla. 

Our biggest riser amongst Canadian teams this week is the Winnipeg Jets, up seven spots from 17th to 10th.

The Jets are a tough team to figure out. They lost six straight games to end March and have won their first three games in April. There is a better than 50 per cent chance the Jets finish third in the Central Division and a 96 per cent chance they meet the Colorado Avalanche in the first round.

The Jets have won both games against the Avs this season by a combined score of 10-4 but both of those games took place back in December. Since March 1, the Jets have a record of 10-8-1 while the Avs have the seventh-best record in the NHL at 11-5-1. 

The Vancouver Canucks dropped two of three games last week and our model is taking a firm stance that the Canucks do not belong among the elite teams in the NHL. The Canucks drop from fifth to 13th on our list in our final rankings of the season.

The absence of Thatcher Demko, who has been out of the lineup for almost a month, cannot be overstated. Before Demko’s injury, the Canucks ranked seventh in goals saved above expected. Since, Vancouver ranks 25th. A healthy Demko returning to form should give the Canucks a major boost as they get ready for the postseason. 

The Ottawa Senators snapped their three-game losing streak with an overtime win against the Washington Capitals on Sunday. However, the recent skid sees them fall from 18th to 24th in our rankings. This season has been a disappointing one for a team expected to challenge for a playoff spot this year.

There are many reasons why the Senators find themselves with the third worst record in the Eastern Conference, but the biggest one is goaltending. The new tandem of Joonas Korpisalo and Anton Forsberg proved to be a disappointing one as Ottawa’s goaltending has cost the team 26.6 goals relative to its expected goals against. That ranks the Senators dead last in the NHL in isolated goaltending impact as the 31st-ranked Flyers goaltending has cost them 13.5 goals. 

The Calgary Flames drop one spot from 25th to 26th after dropping all three of their games last week. One bright spot for the Flames is Yegor Sharangovich, who scored his team-leading 30th goal of the season against the Oilers Saturday night. Sharangovich passed Mikhail Grabovski for the most goals scored in a season by a Belarussian player. 

Lastly, the Montreal Canadiens hang tight in 28th on our list. The Canadiens showed progression in a few key areas this season. The first line of Juraj Slafkovsky, Nick Suzuki and Cole Caufield has shown great chemistry and looks to be a threat for years to come. Sam Montembeault and Cayden Primeau have also proved to be a terrific tandem in goal as the Canadiens rank second to the Carolina Hurricanes in goals saved above expected since the trade deadline.

We hope you have enjoyed our Power Rankings this season and thank you for following along. 


NHL Power Rankings - April 8

RK Team Last Week Record Avg. Goal Diff  xGoal Diff PT%
1 Dallas Stars 1 47-20-9 .79 .59 .686
2 Edmonton Oilers 4 47-24-5 .72 1.03 .651
3 Carolina Hurricanes 3 49-22-7 .78 .69 .673
4 New York Rangers 6 53-21-4 .68 .30 .705
5 Florida Panthers 7 48-24-6 .73 .71 .654
6 Pittsburgh Penguins 16 36-30-11 .08 .39 .539
7 Colorado Avalanche 2 48-24-6 .65 .60 .654
8 Boston Bruins 13 46-17-15 .60 .16 .686
9 Toronto Maple Leafs 9 44-23-9 .53 .30 .638
10 Winnipeg Jets 17 47-24-6 .61 .26 .649
11 Tampa Bay Lightning 8 43-27-7 .26 .21 .604
12 Vegas Golden Knights 10 42-26-8 .26 .23 .605
13 Vancouver Canucks 5 47-22-8 .71 .31 .662
14 Los Angeles Kings 11 41-25-11 .55 .30 .604
15 Minnesota Wild 14 37-31-9 -.12 .33 .539
16 Nashville Predators 12 45-29-4 .19 .37 .603
17 Seattle Kraken 24 32-31-13 -.21 -.23 .507
18 Detroit Red Wings 20 38-31-8 .03 -.32 .545
19 Arizona Coyotes 26 33-39-5 -.25 -.38 .461
20 New York Islanders 27 35-27-15 -.26 -.43 .552
21 St. Louis Blues 19 41-35-5 -.22 -.19 .558
22 New Jersey Devils 15 37-36-5 -.14 .17 .506
23 Buffalo Sabres 23 37-36-5 -.01 -.37 .506
24 Ottawa Senators 18 34-39-4 -.35 .03 .468
25 Philadelphia Flyers 21 36-31-11 -.31 .02 .532
26 Calgary Flames 25 34-37-5 -.22 -.11 .480
27 Washington Capitals 22 36-30-11 -.52 -.34 .539
28 Montreal Canadiens 28 29-36-12 -.69 -.77 .455
29 Columbus Blue Jackets 30 26-40-12 -.74 -.78 .410
30 Chicago Blackhawks 29 23-49-5 -1.29 -.87 .331
31 Anaheim Ducks 31 25-48-5 -1.15 -.85 .353
32 San Jose Sharks 32 18-51-8 -1.71 -1.37 .286