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Columnists

MORE From TSN'S Hockey COLUMNISTS

Dec 3, 2018

The 7-Eleven Power Rankings: Reloaded Maple Leafs back on top

Reloaded Maple Leafs back on top of 7-Eleven Power Rankings

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After finally signing William Nylander to a six-year deal on Saturday and with the return of star centre Auston Matthews to the lineup last week (four points in his first two games), the Toronto Maple Leafs are reloaded and ready to send shivers through the NHL with an even more lethal lineup.

Led by Mitch Marner’s 38 points – good enough for the No. 4 spot in the scoring race – and Frederik Andersen’s league-leading 15 wins in net, the Maple Leafs have won four straight as they continue a road swing that has them playing seven of their next eight on the road (they’re 10-3 away from Scotiabank Arena) following Saturday’s 5-3 win over the Wild in Minnesota.

Toronto, which our panel ranked first two weeks ago, moves up three spots to No. 1 in our weekly 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. The Leafs own the NHL’s third-best power play and are second in the overall NHL standings with 38 points, a point back of the No. 2 Tampa Bay Lightning.

The Lightning move up one spot after going 2-1-0 last week while the Nashville Predators drop one position to No. 3 after a 1-2-0 week. Last week’s No. 1 team, the Buffalo Sabres, slip to No. 4 after going 1-1-1 last week as their 10-game winning streak came to an end in Tampa. Rounding out our panel’s top five this week is the on-a-roll Colorado Avalanche at No. 5 after an impressive 3-0-1 record in their last four games.

The red-hot Anaheim Ducks make the biggest climb of the week, jumping 13 places after four straight wins, including rallying from a 5-1 deficit to edge the No. 7 Washington Capitals 6-5, to land in the No. 9 spot. The Minnesota Wild have the biggest drop of the week, falling seven places to No. 13 from No. 6 a week ago after losing three straight.

Aside from the top-ranked Leafs and the No. 6 Winnipeg Jets, the other top Canadian teams this week include the No. 8 Calgary Flames (rising two places from a week ago) and the surging Edmonton Oilers at No. 16, moving up five spots after going 3-0-0 last week under new head coach Ken Hitchcock, who is now 4-1-1 in Edmonton.

The Montreal Canadiens drop five spots to No. 18 this week while the Ottawa Senators rise six places to No. 22 after a 3-1-0 week. Canada’s worst team this week is the No. 29 Vancouver Canucks, who drop two spots after managing just one win in their last 12 games to sit among the NHL’s five worst teams this week. The Canucks acquired forward Josh Leivo from the Leafs on Monday and are hoping the winning pedigree he brings from Toronto will pay dividends on the West Coast.

The other struggling clubs this week include the New Jersey Devils at No. 27, the No. 28 Chicago Blackhawks, who have lost four straight and are just 3-8-2 under new coach Jeremy Colliton following the firing of Joel Quenneville last month, the Los Angeles Kings at No. 30, finally picking themselves off the basement floor after four straight weeks at No. 31, and the injury-riddled St. Louis Blues, who sit dead last this week after losing three of their last four.

 

Toronto Maple Leafs
1. Toronto Maple Leafs

  • RECORD
    19-8-0
  • LAST 10
    8-2-0
  • LAST WEEK
    4

A late goal in Minnesota gave the Maple Leafs their fourth consecutive win, outscoring their opponents 20-8 during the streak. William Nylander signed just before the deadline on the same night.

Tampa Bay Lightning
2. Tampa Bay Lightning

  • RECORD
    19-7-1
  • LAST 10
    7-3-0
  • LAST WEEK
    3

Louis Domingue has done the job filling in for Andrei Vasilevskiy, with a 7-3-0 record in his absence. It helps that the Lightning, winners of five of their last six, have averaged 5.2 goals per game in the wins.

Nashville Predators
3. Nashville Predators

  • RECORD
    18-8-1
  • LAST 10
    5-5-0
  • LAST WEEK
    2

Losing consecutive games at home is unusual for the Preds, although it should be noted they were sandwiched between seven wins. They’ve also had problems on the road, losing their last four (0-3-1).

Buffalo Sabres
4. Buffalo Sabres

  • RECORD
    17-7-3
  • LAST 10
    8-1-1
  • LAST WEEK
    1

A franchise-best tying 10-game winning streak finally ended with a 5-4 loss in Tampa Bay. Jeff Skinner led the way with 10 goals in the 10 games, and Jack Eichel led in helpers, also with 10.

Colorado Avalanche
5. Colorado Avalanche

  • RECORD
    16-6-5
  • Last 10
    8-0-2
  • LAST WEEK
    5

Colorado’s current 11-game (9-0-2) point streak features a 6-0 record on the road and 4.0 average goals scored. Not once during the streak have they allowed more than three goals.

Winnipeg Jets
6. Winnipeg Jets

  • RECORD
    16-8-2
  • LAST 10
    6-3-1
  • LAST WEEK
    9

The Jets trailed 3-0 going into the third period against the New York Rangers on Sunday, but scored three times to tie it and then won in the shootout. They’ve won four of their last five games.

Washington Capitals
7. Washington Capitals

  • RECORD
    15-8-3
  • LAST 10
    8-2-0
  • LAST WEEK
    7

The Capitals ended their seven-game winning streak in a big way, blowing a 5-1 lead and losing 6-5 to Anaheim. During their winning streak the Capitals outscored their opponents 30-16.

Calgary Flames
8. Calgary Flames

  • RECORD
    16-9-2
  • LAST 10
    6-3-1
  • LAST WEEK
    10

The Flames are on a 6-1-1 run since the middle of November. In the six wins they’ve outscored their opponents 30-11. In November, five players averaged at least a point a game in their 13 contests.

Anaheim Ducks
9. Anaheim Ducks

  • RECORD
    14-10-5
  • LAST 10
    6-2-2
  • LAST WEEK
    22

Trailing 5-1 to Washington, the Ducks scored five consecutive goals to win 6-5 and extend their road winning streak to four games. Waiver wire pick-up Pontus Aberg leads with six points during the streak.

Columbus Blue Jackets
10. Columbus Blue Jackets

  • RECORD
    15-9-2
  • LAST 10
    6-3-1
  • LAST WEEK
    11

Cam Atkinson extended his point streak to 10 games (second to Ryan Johansen’s 13 in 2014-15) but they still lost their third game in their last four on the road. At home they’re on a 4-0-1 stretch.

Boston Bruins
11. Boston Bruins

  • RECORD
    14-8-4
  • LAST 10
    5-3-2
  • LAST WEEK
    8

Patrice Bergeron’s absence has had a negative effect on their goal scorers. In the six games he’s been out, David Pastrnak has two goals and Brad Marchand just one. The team has averaged 2.0 per game.

Dallas Stars
12. Dallas Stars

  • RECORD
    14-10-3
  • LAST 10
    5-4-1
  • LAST WEEK
    15

A stretch of seven of eight games on the road had a happy ending. After going 1-3 in the first four road games, they finished it off in Western Canada by going 2-0-1, with Ben Bishop returning for the win. 

Minnesota Wild
13. Minnesota Wild

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

A three-game losing streak featured some poor third period play. They allowed a goal with 3:20 remaining to lose to Toronto, and allowed three third period goals in 5:32 in a loss to Arizona.

New York Islanders
14. New York Islanders

  • RECORD
    13-9-3
  • LAST 10
    5-4-1
  • LAST WEEK
    14
The Islanders made a triumphant return to Nassau Coliseum with a third period goal to defeat Columbus in front of a sold-out crowd on Saturday. They are 3-1-1 in their last five games.
San Jose Sharks
15. San Jose Sharks

  • RECORD
    13-10-5
  • LAST 10
    4-4-2
  • LAST WEEK
    12

Erik Karlsson’s return to Ottawa did not go well in a 6-2 loss. The Sharks lost four in row (0-3-1) on the road before finally getting a win in Montreal, their seventh straight win over the Canadiens.

Edmonton Oilers
16. Edmonton Oilers

  • RECORD
    13-11-2
  • LAST 10
    5-4-1
  • LAST WEEK
    21

It’s not difficult to see the influence of Ken Hitchcock on the Oilers. They have a three-game winning streak with scores of 1-0 in overtime, 3-2 and 2-1. Overall, they’re 4-1-1 under Hitchcock.

Vegas Golden Knights
17. Vegas Golden Knights

  • RECORD
    14-13-1
  • LAST 10
    7-3-0
  • LAST WEEK
    17
A five-game winning streak ended with a 2-1 loss in Edmonton. The Golden Knights outscored their opponents 23-8 during the streak and were led by Max Pacioretty’s six goals.
Montreal Canadiens
18. Montreal Canadiens

  • RECORD
    12-10-5
  • LAST 10
    3-5-2
  • LAST WEEK
    13

Shea Weber made a triumphant return to the Canadiens lineup with two goals in just his second game back in nearly a year. It helped Montreal to their first win in six games. Carey Price is 8-8-4.

Carolina Hurricanes
19. Carolina Hurricanes

  • RECORD
    12-10-4
  • LAST 10
    5-3-2
  • LAST WEEK
    18

A 4-2-1 current stretch can be traced to the goaltending of Curtis McElhinney. The waiver wire pickup (Leafs) won all four and has a 7-2-1 season mark to go with a .930 save percentage and 2.10 GAA.

 

Detroit Red Wings
20. Detroit Red Wings

  • RECORD
    12-12-3
  • LAST 10
    5-4-1
  • LAST WEEK
    20

The Red Wings are quietly putting together a decent season after a horrible start. After getting out of the gate with a 1-7-2 mark they’ve gone 11-5-1. They’re 8-4-1 in their last 12 and Jimmy Howard is 9-6-3.

Arizona Coyotes
21. Arizona Coyotes

  • RECORD
    12-11-2
  • LAST 10
    5-4-1
  • LAST WEEK
    29
The trade for Nick Schmaltz (1-3-4) appears to have helped their offence. They’re 3-0 since acquiring him from Chicago and have scored 13 goals. Adin Hill earned his first career shutout and is 3-0-0.
Ottawa Senators
22. Ottawa Senators

  • RECORD
    12-12-3
  • LAST 10
    5-5-0
  • LAST WEEK
    28

After allowing 23 goals in a four-game losing streak, the Senators are on a three-game winning streak, which includes a 6-2 welcome home win over former captain Erik Karlsson and the Sharks.

New York Rangers
23. New York Rangers

  • RECORD
    13-12-3
  • LAST 10
    4-5-1
  • LAST WEEK
    16

The Rangers have just one win in their last six games and were shut out twice. At home they’re 8-1-1 in their last 10, but on the road they’ve lost four in a row including their first shootout loss of the season.

Pittsburgh Penguins
24. Pittsburgh Penguins

  • RECORD
    10-10-5
  • LAST 10
    3-5-2
  • LAST WEEK
    19

A 4-2 home loss to Philadelphia gave them one of just two losing records at home in the Eastern Conference (the Flyers are the other). Their average of 3.67 home goals against ranks last in the NHL.

Florida Panthers
25. Florida Panthers

  • RECORD
    10-10-5
  • LAST 10
    3-5-2
  • LAST WEEK
    26

It’s been iffy in OT for the Panthers. In four of their last five games they've gone to extra time, winning two and losing two. Not iffy has been their power play with goals in 15 of their last 16 games.

Philadelphia Flyers
26. Philadelphia Flyers

  • RECORD
    11-12-2
  • LAST 10
    4-5-1
  • LAST WEEK
    24

Anthony Stolarz, the Flyers’ fifth goalie to start this year, got just their second win in their last eight games. Carter Hart, the team’s goalie of the future, has a .893 save percentage in the AHL.

New Jersey Devils
27. New Jersey Devils

  • RECORD
    9-11-5
  • LAST 10
    3-3-4
  • LAST WEEK
    25

The current five-game losing skid doesn’t look quite as bad when you factor in that three of the losses came in OT. On the season they have a record of 0-5 in extra time. Cory Schneider is 0-5 this season.

Chicago Blackhawks
28. Chicago Blackhawks

  • RECORD
    9-14-5
  • LAST 10
    3-6-1
  • LAST WEEK
    23

Firing Joel Quenneville hasn’t worked out so far for the Blackhawks. They have a record of 3-8-2 and have lost six of their last seven, allowing 32 goals in the losses, under new coach Jeremy Colliton.

Vancouver Canucks
29. Vancouver Canucks

  • RECORD
    11-15-3
  • LAST 10
    1-8-1
  • LAST WEEK
    27

The Canucks have just one win in their last 12 games (1-9-2) and that was over lowly Los Angeles. Their bad stretch includes five straight losses at home (0-4-1) in which they were outscored 18-10.

Los Angeles Kings
30. Los Angeles Kings

  • RECORD
    10-16-1
  • LAST 10
    5-5-0
  • LAST WEEK
    31

Problems galore for the Kings this season, including the fact that Jonathan Quick didn’t have a win until Sunday’s 2-0 shutout (50th of his career) of Carolina as he’s missed 18 games due to injuries.

St. Louis Blues
31. St. Louis Blues

  • RECORD
    9-13-3
  • LAST 10
    3-7-0
  • LAST WEEK
    30

The Blues have had some impressive wins lately, defeating Nashville and Colorado, but it doesn’t make up for the six losses in their last eight games. In those losses they’ve been outscored 26-9.