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Columnists

MORE From TSN'S Hockey COLUMNISTS

Apr 9, 2018

The 7-Eleven Power Rankings: Predators hunger for more

Ducks the biggest movers this week in 7-Eleven Power Rankings

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Bring it on. The NHL’s 1,271-game, six-month-long regular season is over. The Stanley Cup playoffs return with 16 teams – including six entries that failed to reach the postseason last year (Tampa Bay, Winnipeg, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, New Jersey and Colorado) and one expansion franchise (Vegas) that many picked to finish last – meeting in eight first-round series starting with three games on Wednesday night and five matchups on Thursday.

The Nashville Predators edged out the soaring Winnipeg Jets to win their first Presidents’ Trophy, giving last season’s wild-card entry and eventual Cup finalist home-ice advantage throughout the playoffs. The Preds finished with 117 points despite not having a single player in the NHL’s top-50 points leaders. Filip Forsberg’s 64 points in 67 games earned the winger the No. 54 spot.

The Predators remain the NHL’s best team for the second straight week in TSN’s 7-Eleven Power Rankings, according to consensus rankings formulated by the TSN Power Ranking panel of Ray Ferraro, Jeff O’Neill, Jamie McLennan, Craig Button and Darren Dreger.

With five straight wins to end their season and the second-highest points total (114) in the league, the Jets climb a spot to No. 2 in the rankings after sitting in third place last week behind the Boston Bruins, who drop one spot to No. 3 after losing to both the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Florida Panthers.

The Eastern Conference champion Lightning, with their league-high 54 victories, stay at No. 4 this week while the Toronto Maple Leafs, who set a franchise points record (105) this season, round out our panel’s top five in the No. 5 spot for a second consecutive week.

The Vegas Golden Knights, the most successful expansion franchise in NHL history with 51 wins and 109 points, finish the regular season in the No. 7 spot from last week’s No. 6 placing, the position held by the Washington Capitals this week.

Winnipeg remains the top Canadian team, with Toronto the second-best team in the country. Canada’s other five teams, who all failed to qualify for the playoffs this year, rank in the following order: Edmonton Oilers (No. 21), Calgary Flames (No. 23), Vancouver  Canucks (No. 27), Montreal Canadiens (No. 28) and the Ottawa Senators (No. 30).

The Anaheim Ducks had an outstanding week, jumping four spots to No. 9 in the rankings after a 3-0 record last week, edging out San Jose for the second spot in the Pacific Division and home-ice advantage against the Sharks in the first round. On the other hand, the St. Louis Blues had a terrible week, going 1-3 to drop three spots to No. 18 after losing last Saturday’s winner-takes-all season finale to the Avalanche to miss the playoffs. Colorado, the NHL’s worst team last season with just 48 points, gained 47 points in the standings to take the final wild-card spot in the West.

In the East, Taylor Hall and his Devils went on a 10-2-1 run to nail down the last wild-card spot after finishing dead last in their conference last season.

Ending 2017-18 in the NHL’s basement to sit among the bottom-five teams are the Canucks, Canadiens, the No. 29 Detroit Red Wings, Senators and the No. 31 Buffalo Sabres, who drop two spots this week after losing their final four games but, on the positive side, gain the best draft lottery odds by finishing worst overall.

 

Nashville Predators
3. Nashville Predators

  • 2017-18
    53-18-11
  • Playoff Record
    2-0
  • LAST WEEK
    1

Going back to the previous two playoffs, the Predators have won eight straight first-round games. They won all four last year against Chicago and the final two in 2016 (a 4-3 defeat of Anaheim).

Winnipeg Jets
Winnipeg Jets

  • 2017-18 Record
    52-20-10
  • Playoffs
    Lost 3rd Round
  • Final Power Ranking
    2
Boston Bruins
3. Boston Bruins

  • 2017-18
    50-20-12
  • Week
    1-3
  • LAST WEEK
    2

For the 10th time in team history the Bruins reached the 50-win mark, more than any other team. They also had three players with at least 30 goals and 30 assists this season – tops in the league.

Tampa Bay Lightning
4. Tampa Bay Lightning

  • 2017-18
    54-23-5
  • Week
    2-0-1
  • LAST WEEK
    4

A franchise-high 113 points and a league-high 54 wins were impressive, but it was a 4-0 win over Boston that allowed the Lightning to finish first in both their division and conference.

Toronto Maple Leafs
5. Toronto Maple Leafs

  • 2017-18
    49-26-7
  • Week
    2-1-0
  • LAST WEEK
    5

In their long and storied history, the 105 points this season were the most the Maple Leafs have ever earned, and Frederik Andersen won a team-record 38 games.

Washington Capitals
6. Washington Capitals

  • 2017-18
    49-26-7
  • Week
    2-1-0
  • LAST WEEK
    7

Alex Ovechkin fell one shy of the 50-goal mark, but will take home the Rocket Richard Trophy anyway for the seventh time in his career. Nobody else has won it more than twice.

Vegas Golden Knights
7. Vegas Golden Knights

  • 2017-18
    51-24-7
  • Week
    0-2-1
  • LAST WEEK
    6

There are so many superlatives from their inaugural season, but let’s just say they’re the first North American expansion team from the four major sports to finish in the top five in the league.

Pittsburgh Penguins
8. Pittsburgh Penguins

  • 2017-18
    47-29-6
  • LAST 10
    2-0-0
  • LAST WEEK
    8

Wins in their final two games earned the Pens their third straight 100-point season. Since Sidney Crosby’s second season (2006-07), the fewest points they’ve had in a full season is 98.

Anaheim Ducks
9. Anaheim Ducks

  • 2017-18
    44-25-13
  • Week
    3-0-0
  • LAST WEEK
    13

The Ducks will be happy to start the playoffs at home, where they were 10-1-0 since March 2. But they did lose both home games this season to San Jose, the team they face in Round 1.

Minnesota Wild
10. Minnesota Wild

  • 2017-18
    45-26-11
  • Week
    2-1-1
  • LAST WEEK
    11

The good news for the Wild is that they made the playoffs for the sixth straight year behind Eric Staal’s surprising 42 goals. The bad news is that they have to play Winnipeg.

Columbus Blue Jackets
11. Columbus Blue Jackets

  • 2017-18
    45-30-7
  • Week
    0-1-2
  • LAST WEEK
    11

No team had a better stretch run than the Blue Jackets in their successful effort to make the playoffs. Before losing the final game of the season, they went 13-1-2 since March 4.

San Jose Sharks
12. San Jose Sharks

  • 2017-18
    45-27-10
  • Week
    1-2-0
  • LAST WEEK
    10

They’re not the Golden Knights, but the Sharks have still been a very successful franchise, making the playoffs for the 13th time in the last 14 years and reaching the Cup final in 2016.

Philadelphia Flyers
13. Philadelphia Flyers

  • 2017-18
    42-26-14
  • Week
    2-1-0
  • LAST WEEK
    12

The Flyers, the fourth team in NHL history to have a winless streak of 10-plus games during a season and still make the playoffs, poured it on down the stretch, going 7-1-3 since March 17.

Los Angeles Kings
14. Los Angeles Kings

  • 2017-18
    45-29-8
  • Week
    2-1-0
  • LAST WEEK
    16

The Kings fired their defensive-style coach Darryl Sutter last year, but still allowed the fewest goals in the league under John Stevens. However, they scored 38 more goals than last season.

New Jersey Devils
15. New Jersey Devils

  • 2017-18
    44-29-9
  • Week
    2-1-0
  • LAST WEEK
    14

Before losing a nothing game to end the season, the Devils went on a 10-2-1 run to earn a playoff spot. Also impressive is Taylor Hall’s 93 points, 41 more than any other New Jersey player.

Colorado Avalanche
13. Colorado Avalanche

  • 2017-18
    43-30-9
  • Playoff Record
    0-2
  • LAST WEEK
    16

The Avalanche, who really miss Semyon Varlamov, have allowed five goals in each of their first two games. They allowed five goals in regulation just twice in their final 22 regular-season games.

Florida Panthers
17. Florida Panthers

  • 2017-18
    44-30-8
  • Week
    5-0-0
  • LAST WEEK
    18

Five straight wins, including Sunday’s victory over the Bruins to deny Boston the Eastern Conference title, still wasn’t enough for the Panthers, who fell just short of a playoff spot.

St. Louis Blues
18. St. Louis Blues

  • 2017-18
    44-32-6
  • Week
    1-3-0
  • LAST WEEK
    15

A valiant effort to get back in the playoff race was spoiled when they won just one of their final six, most notably coming up short in their winner-take-all season finale, a 5-2 loss to Colorado.

Dallas Stars
19. Dallas Stars

  • 2017-18
    42-32-8
  • Week
    2-1-0
  • LAST WEEK
    22

The Stars won their final game of the season, finishing just three points behind the final playoff spot. But it was their failure on the road (two wins in their last 13) that cost them dearly this season.

Carolina Hurricanes
20. Carolina Hurricanes

  • 2017-18
    36-35-11
  • Week
    1-2-0
  • LAST WEEK
    19

When they’re handing out the blame for this season, they can omit Cam Ward, who despite backup status to begin the year posted a 23-14-4 record, compared to 13-21-7 for Scott Darling.

Edmonton Oilers
21. Edmonton Oilers

  • 2017-18
    36-40-6
  • Week
    2-1-0
  • LAST WEEK
    23

Not a lot to be happy about in Edmonton, apart from the fact that Connor McDavid won the scoring championship for the second year in a row with 41 goals and 108 points.

Arizona Coyotes
22. Arizona Coyotes

  • 2017-18
    29-41-12
  • Week
    1-1-1
  • LAST WEEK
    22

The two biggest positives for the Coyotes this season were Clayton Keller’s franchise rookie scoring record, and Antti Raanta in net, who posted a .930 save percentage and 2.24 GAA.

Calgary Flames
23. Calgary Flames

  • 2017-18
    37-35-10
  • Week
    1-2-0
  • LAST WEEK
    24

Mark Jankowski scored four goals in a meaningless season finale. The seven goals the Flames scored in that game compare to the 10 in total they scored in their previous nine games.

Chicago Blackhawks
24. Chicago Blackhawks

  • 2017-18
    33-39-10
  • Week
    1-2-0
  • LAST WEEK
    25

Mercifully, it’s over. After last season’s 109 points, most in the West and third-best in the league, the Blackhawks, without Corey Crawford for much of the year, dropped 33 points to 76.

New York Islanders
New York Islanders

  • 2017-18 Record
    35-37-10
  • Playoffs
    -
  • Final Power Ranking
    25
New York Rangers
26. New York Rangers

  • 2017-18
    34-39-9
  • Week
    0-3-0
  • LAST WEEK
    20

Two wins in their final nine games did little for the Rangers except ensure they’d stay below the .500 mark for the first time since 2003-04 and get coach Alain Vigneault fired.

Vancouver Canucks
27. Vancouver Canucks

  • 2017-18
    31-40-11
  • Week
    1-2-0
  • LAST WEEK
    26

The Sedins went out in style, with Daniel scoring the overtime winner and Henrik assisting in the last home game of their careers. They are 1-2 in all-time Vancouver scoring by a wide margin.

Montreal Canadiens
28. Montreal Canadiens

  • 2017-18
    29-40-13
  • Week
    1-1-1
  • LAST WEEK
    28

The Canadiens managed a 32-point drop from last season’s 103 points for their lowest point percentage since 2000-01. Apart from that season, it’s their worst since 1947-48.

Detroit Red Wings
29. Detroit Red Wings

  • 2017-18
    30-39-13
  • Week
    0-2-1
  • LAST WEEK
    27

Since the trade deadline the Red Wings compiled a record of 4-13-3, worst in the NHL. The 72 points they earned on the season were their lowest in a full season since they had 70 in 1989-90.

Ottawa Senators
30. Ottawa Senators

  • 2017-18
    28-43-11
  • Week
    1-3-0
  • LAST WEEK
    31

Just two wins in their final 12 games for the Senators, averaging 1.7 goals for and 4.1 against. Their 67 points represented a whopping 31-point decrease from last season.

Buffalo Sabres
31. Buffalo Sabres

  • 2017-18
    25-45-12
  • Week
    0-4-0
  • LAST WEEK
    29

The Sabres lost when they needed to, including their final four games, to ensure they had the NHL’s worst record and the best chance of selecting Rasmus Dahlin in the draft.