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MORE From TSN'S Hockey COLUMNISTS

Nov 19, 2018

The 7-Eleven Power Rankings: Deep Leafs rise back to top spot

At the one-quarter mark of the 2018-19 NHL season, the Toronto Maple Leafs remain one of the league’s elite teams and are this week's No. 1 team in TSN's weekly 7-Eleven Power Rankings.

Frederik Andersen and Morgan Rielly

At the one-quarter mark of the 2018-19 NHL season, the Toronto Maple Leafs remain one of the league’s elite teams.

Despite missing injured star centre Auston Matthews, the young and restless Leafs are deep, deep, deep: Mitch Marner is fifth in league scoring with 26 points; blueliner Morgan Rielly has nine goals and 16 assists to sit in eighth in NHL scoring; prized off-season acquisition John Tavares has 23 points, including 12 goals, to hold down 16th spot in the scoring race; and Frederik Andersen leads the league in wins (11), has a stellar save percentage (.934) and an impressive goals-against average (2.08).

Toronto is playing like a Stanley Cup contender and Mike Babcock’s charges are on track to top their franchise-best regular season from a year ago when they recorded 49 wins and 105 points. The Leafs, who swept their three-game West Coast road trip last week and were ranked first in our third 7-Eleven Power Rankings of the season, move up five places to No. 1 this week, according to consensus rankings formulated by the TSN Power Ranking panel of Ray Ferraro, Jeff O’Neill, Jamie McLennan, Craig Button and Darren Dreger.

The Nashville Predators drop out of top spot and into No. 2 following two straight weeks atop the rankings after going 1-2-1 last week. The Predators are tied with the Tampa Bay Lightning for the overall standings lead with 29 points apiece. The Lightning, who are missing star goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy (broken foot), move down one spot to No. 3 after going 2-1 last week.

Winners of three straight, the Columbus Blue Jackets leap nine spots to No. 4 following a 3-0 week. The Blue Jackets have earned a point in seven straight games and are just ahead of the sizzling Buffalo Sabres, who jump to No. 5 from No. 12 a week ago after five straight victories to round out our panel’s top five. Last season 20 games into the 2017-18 campaign, the Sabres were 5-11-4 and mired in a five-game losing skid.

Aside from the top-ranked Leafs, the best Canadian teams this week include the Winnipeg Jets at No. 6, the No. 9 Montreal Canadiens, the No. 13 Calgary Flames and the improving Ottawa Senators at No. 17. The Senators make the biggest jump of the week in our rankings, leaping 11 spots with two straight wins after sitting in the bottom five of last week’s rankings at No. 28.

Struggling teams north of the border this week include the Vancouver Canucks, who have lost five straight to plummet 13 spots - the most noteworthy decline of this week's rankings - to No. 20 after our panel ranked Elias Pettersson and company No. 7 a week ago, and the Edmonton Oilers, who were No. 6 two weeks ago but are 0-4 in their last four games on the road, have lost two in a row and six of their last seven to drop two spots to No. 26.

The five worst teams in the NHL this week include the Anaheim Ducks, stuck at the No. 27 spot as they continue to have major difficulties scoring; the No. 28 New Jersey Devils, who went 2-1-1 last week but are just 2-8 on the road this season; the St. Louis Blues at No. 29, falling five places after being shut out in two of their last three games, the No. 30 Pittsburgh Penguins, who drop 11 spots from No. 19 a week ago after losing three straight to sit dead last in the Eastern Conference, and the Los Angeles Kings at No. 31, missing in action with an offence that just can’t score this season, managing a league-worst 38 goals in 19 games.

The Kings were 11-6-2 after 19 games last season and captain Anze Kopitar had 14 points in October, 14 points in November and finished the season with 92. A struggling Kopitar has just eight points in 18 games this season. 

 

Toronto Maple Leafs
1. Toronto Maple Leafs

  • RECORD
    14-6-0
  • LAST 10
    7-3-0
  • LAST WEEK
    6

A three-game West Coast road trip couldn’t have gone better for the Leafs. They won all three games – Los Angeles, San Jose and Anaheim. Mitch Marner led the scoring with one goal and five assists.

Nashville Predators
2. Nashville Predators

  • RECORD
    14-5-1
  • LAST 10
    6-3-1
  • LAST WEEK
    1

After winning their first eight games on the road, the Predators lost three in a row (one by shootout). They also ended their streak of scoring at least three goals per road game with two one-goal games.

Tampa Bay Lightning
3. Tampa Bay Lightning

  • RECORD
    14-5-1
  • LAST 10
    7-3-0
  • LAST WEEK
    2

Andrei Vasilevskiy will be lost to the Lightning for four to six weeks with a broken foot. The power play, however, picked a good time to catch fire with seven goals in consecutive road victories.

Columbus Blue Jackets
4. Columbus Blue Jackets

  • RECORD
    12-6-2
  • LAST 10
    6-2-2
  • LAST WEEK
    13

Cam Atkinson earned his franchise tying (Rick Nash) fifth career hat trick to lead the Blue Jackets to a 7-3 win over Florida. They’ve won three in a row and have earned a point in seven straight games.

Buffalo Sabres
5. Buffalo Sabres

  • RECORD
    12-6-2
  • LAST 10
    6-2-2
  • LAST WEEK
    12

A current five-game winning streak is the longest for the Sabres since five in a row in the 2011-12 season. Rasmus Dahlin’s five points (1-4-5) is tied for the streak’s point lead with three other players.

Winnipeg Jets
6. Winnipeg Jets

  • RECORD
    11-5-2
  • LAST 10
    6-3-1
  • LAST WEEK
    5

The Jets continue to lead the NHL in power play percentage by a wide margin with a 33.3 rating. If they can keep that up it will be the best in NHL history – the current record is 31.9 (1977-78, Montreal).

Boston Bruins
7. Boston Bruins

  • RECORD
    11-6-3
  • LAST 10
    5-4-1
  • LAST WEEK
    4

A 1-0 OT loss in Dallas was the third time this season that they have been shut out on the road. They lead the league with 4.11 goals per game at home, but are 29th with 1.91 goals per game on the road.

Minnesota Wild
8. Minnesota Wild

  • RECORD
    12-7-2
  • LAST 10
    6-4-0
  • LAST WEEK
    3

The Wild returned home after a successful road trip (5-0-2) and then lost three of their next four, two of those at home. Despite that, they still have the second-most points in the Western Conference.

 

Montreal Canadiens
9. Montreal Canadiens

  • RECORD
    11-6-3
  • LAST 10
    5-4-1
  • LAST WEEK
    8

The Canadiens came out of Alberta with two 3-2 wins that featured two third-period goals in each game. Team scoring leader Max Domi (11th in NHL scoring) has 10 goals, one more than all of last season.

Dallas Stars
10. Dallas Stars

  • RECORD
    11-7-2
  • LAST 10
    6-4-0
  • LAST WEEK
    14

It’s rare when a team can shut down Boston’s top line but Ben Bishop and the Stars managed to do it in a 1-0 overtime victory and Jason Dickinson scored his second OT winner of the season.

San Jose Sharks
11. San Jose Sharks

  • RECORD
    11-7-3
  • LAST 10
    5-4-1
  • LAST WEEK
    10

The Sharks have allowed just one power play goal in their last 16 games, Joe Pavelski has scored a goal in four straight games, and Erik Karlsson scored his first goal as a Shark.

Colorado Avalanche
12. Colorado Avalanche

  • RECORD
    10-6-4
  • Last 10
    4-4-2
  • LAST WEEK
    18

Goals against has been a problem for the Avs in November as they’re averaging 4.00 goals against, second worst in the league. Their save percentage of .869 is the worst for the month so far.

Calgary Flames
13. Calgary Flames

  • RECORD
    11-8-1
  • LAST 10
    6-3-1
  • LAST WEEK
    22

The Flames are averaging 4.00 goals per game at home, second best in the league. The bad news is that they’re also allowing 4.00 goals against per game at home.

New York Rangers
14. New York Rangers

  • RECORD
    10-8-2
  • LAST 10
    7-2-1
  • LAST WEEK
    20

All good news for the Rangers who have won five straight at home, are 7-1-1 in their last nine and Henrik Lundqvist moved into seventh place all-time with his 438th career victory.

New York Islanders
15. New York Islanders

  • RECORD
    10-7-2
  • LAST 10
    6-3-1
  • LAST WEEK
    21

The Islanders exploded for 12 goals in a two-game home winning streak before collapsing 6-2 to Dallas on Sunday. Since losing their opening home game the Islanders are 5-1-2 at home.

Washington Capitals
16. Washington Capitals

  • RECORD
    9-7-3
  • LAST 10
    5-4-1
  • LAST WEEK
    16

Pheonix Copley has filled in admirably for Braden Holtby during his injury. The Caps went to three tough places to play and won in Minnesota and Colorado, while losing 3-1 (one empty-net goal) in Winnipeg.

Ottawa Senators
17. Ottawa Senators

  • RECORD
    9-8-3
  • LAST 10
    5-4-1
  • LAST WEEK
    28

Craig Anderson stopped two third period penalty shots to defeat Detroit 2-1. The Senators are 4-3-1 in November and Mark Stone leads all league scorers with 5-10-15 for the month in nine games.

Detroit Red Wings
18. Detroit Red Wings

  • RECORD
    9-9-2
  • LAST 10
    8-2-0
  • LAST WEEK
    25

A very good 8-2-0 run for the Red Wings over their last 10 is largely the result of cutting goals against. Jimmy Howard is 5-1 with a .934 save percentage over that span, and Jonathan Bernier is 3-1, .933.

Carolina Hurricanes
19. Carolina Hurricanes

  • RECORD
    9-8-3
  • LAST 10
    3-5-2
  • LAST WEEK
    23

The Hurricanes scored two goals in the first 30 seconds of their game against New Jersey and that’s all they needed for the 2-1 win. The record is 24 seconds from the start of a game (Edmonton, 1981-82).

Vancouver Canucks
20. Vancouver Canucks

  • RECORD
    10-10-2
  • LAST 10
    4-4-2
  • LAST WEEK
    7

Vancouver’s season has taken a turn with five losses in a row (one in a shootout). Over that span they’ve been outscored 19-10. Elias Pettersson hit a dry spell with no points in the first four losses.

Philadelphia Flyers
21. Philadelphia Flyers

  • RECORD
    9-9-2
  • LAST 10
    5-3-2
  • LAST WEEK
    9

A fierce comeback against Tampa Bay that included four goals in 6:04 of the third period still resulted in Philadelphia’s third consecutive home loss, but they did earn a point when they forced it to overtime.

Chicago Blackhawks
22. Chicago Blackhawks

  • RECORD
    8-8-5
  • LAST 10
    2-5-3
  • LAST WEEK
    30

Corey Crawford took it upon himself to get the first win for Chicago’s new coach Jeremy Colliton in a 1-0 shutout of St. Louis. They’re now on a four-game point streak (2-0-2).

Florida Panthers
23. Florida Panthers

  • RECORD
    7-7-3
  • LAST 10
    6-4-0
  • LAST WEEK
    15

The Panthers ended a five-game winning streak with consecutive losses, but Mike Hoffman continues to score no matter the outcome. He has points in 15 consecutive games (8-10-18).

Vegas Golden Knights
24. Vegas Golden Knights

  • RECORD
    9-11-1
  • LAST 10
    4-6-0
  • LAST WEEK
    26

Marc-Andre Fleury earned his third shutout of the season (5-0 over Anaheim) but overall the team continues to struggle. When Fleury doesn’t shut out the opponent the Golden Knights are 6-11-1.

Arizona Coyotes
25. Arizona Coyotes

  • RECORD
    9-9-1
  • LAST 10
    5-4-1
  • LAST WEEK
    17

The Coyotes are having scoring troubles again, managing one or zero goals in three of their last five games. They have no problems scoring shorthanded, however, with 10, led by Michael Grabner’s four.

Edmonton Oilers
26. Edmonton Oilers

  • RECORD
    9-10-1
  • LAST 10
    3-7-0
  • LAST WEEK
    22

The Oilers started off the season 5-2-0 on the road, but since then they are 0-4 and have been outscored 17-7. Home hasn’t been great lately either, with losses in two of their last three.

Anaheim Ducks
27. Anaheim Ducks

  • RECORD
    8-9-5
  • LAST 10
    3-4-3
  • LAST WEEK
    27

Goal scoring continues to be a problem for the Ducks. They’ve scored just one or zero goals in five of their last seven games, and their 2.09 overall goals per game ranks 30th in the league.

New Jersey Devils
28. New Jersey Devils

  • RECORD
    8-9-2
  • LAST 10
    3-6-1
  • LAST WEEK
    29

Keith Kinkaid’s third shutout of the season gave the Devils their first two-game winning streak since mid-October and just their second road win of the season. They’re 6-1-2 at home and 2-8-0 on the road.

 

St. Louis Blues
29. St. Louis Blues

  • RECORD
    7-8-3
  • LAST 10
    5-5-0
  • LAST WEEK
    24

The Blues have been shut out in two of their last three games. Even with that, Ryan O’Reilly has seven goals in eight games in the month of November, one shy of the league leaders.

Pittsburgh Penguins
30. Pittsburgh Penguins

  • RECORD
    7-8-3
  • LAST 10
    2-7-1
  • LAST WEEK
    19

One win in their last nine games (1-7-1) and three consecutive losses have led the Penguins below the .500 mark. They haven’t finished a season below that mark since the 2005-06 campaign.

Los Angeles Kings
31. Los Angeles Kings

  • RECORD
    6-12-1
  • LAST 10
    4-6-0
  • LAST WEEK
    31

At 2.00 goals per game, the Kings are on a record pace for scoring futility. They’re projected to score 164 goals, the fewest they’ve had in a full season. The previous low was 168 in 1969-70.