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Leafs plummet hard in this week's NHL Power Ranking

Boston Bruins Charlie Coyle and Toronto Maple Leafs Auston Matthews Charlie Coyle and Auston Matthews - Getty Images

Lose once in regulation and get bounced from the top spot in our Power Rankings. That’s the tough break facing the Vegas Golden Knights, who drop to second despite their 11-1-1 record.

In top spot on our list are the Los Angeles Kings. The 7-2-2 Kings rank third in goal differential, while Vegas ranks second. But here’s where we think the Kings are every bit the contender the Knights are: Los Angeles sits third in expected goal differential, while Vegas ranks 10th. The Kings and Golden Knights are two teams with excellent results, but one’s process is more in line with those results and that’s why the Kings sit on top of our list for now.

The Vancouver Canucks sit third in our rankings, which value the process every bit as much as results. The good news for Canucks fans is this team looks to be a real threat in the Western Conference. The Canucks trounced the lowly San Jose Sharks 10-1 Thursday but proved they are the real deal with an impressive 2-0 win over the Dallas Stars Saturday night. 

Defensively, Vancouver is top 10 in goals and expected goals against. Factor in a Vezina-worthy goaltender in Thatcher Demko and it won’t be easy to score on this team. One thing to watch is whether regression sets in offensively. The Canucks lead the league in goals per game but rank 17th in expected goals. Either way, there’s more optimism in Vancouver than there has been in years, so let’s enjoy the moment.

As for the rest of the teams in Canada - proceed with caution. 

The Winnipeg Jets move up one spot to 16th and are our second-ranked Canadian team this week. The Jets finished last week with a 1-1-1 record. The good news for the Jets is they’re getting big offensive contributions from players like Mason Appleton and Nino Niederreiter - both tied with Kyle Connor and Mark Scheifele for the team lead in scoring. Niederreiter is coming off a hat trick against the Coyotes.

But Winnipeg is struggling to keep the puck out of their net, ranking 26th in goals against and 29th on the penalty kill. Uncharacteristically, this has more to do with goaltending than team defence, as the Jets rank 13th in expected goals against. Stability in net, which should be expected given Connor Hellebuyck’s resume, will likely lead to success in the near future. We expect the Jets to move up this list before long. 

No Canadian team dropped farther this week than the Toronto Maple Leafs, down to 21st from 11th. The Leafs are winless in four straight games and have shown cracks in their defensive game. An injury to Timothy Liljegren has left an already thin blueline looking stretched out as John Klingberg has been forced into second-pair duty. The fourth line continues to struggle, most notably Ryan Reaves who has zero points in 11 games and has been on the ice for eight goals against at five-on-five, zero goals for. 

Things aren’t going much better down the 401 in the nation's capital as the Ottawa Senators are down nine spots from 13th to 22nd. The Sens have lost five of their past six games, not to mention the headaches they’ve been dealing with off the ice.

The quickest fix will come if the team can get a decent run of games from its goalies. Ottawa sits 10th in expected goals against but 27th in goals against average. Ottawa’s next game is Wednesday against Toronto, so at least one Ontario fan base will go to sleep happy when that game ends.

We had the Montreal Canadiens 20th in our Power Rankings last week and Habs fans were a little salty about that considering the team was 5-2-1 and ninth in points percentage. Well, one week later the Canadiens are 5-4-2 and sit 19th in points percentage. We apologize as we shortchanged the Habs by one spot from where they should have been.

Despite Montreal's recent loss to the Blues, former first-overall pick Juraj Slafkovsky scored his first goal of the season. If he can start to produce that will be a boon for the Habs. Goaltending continues to impress and will keep the Canadiens competitive for an organization that still has its eyes on the future. 

Now we shift our eyes to Alberta, where the sky seems to be falling in both Calgary and Edmonton.

The Oilers dropped from 27th to 29th on our list after losing both of their games last week. Connor McDavid has appeared to be human as he works his way back to top form from injury. Depth scoring continues to be a talking point, as does the team’s defensive play. The Oilers don’t give up a lot in terms of the volume of shots against, but they do give up quality.

Overall, the Oilers sit ninth in expected goals against but 30th in goals against. Edmonton has the worst goals saved above expected of any team in the NHL, so its goaltenders have performed worse than any other team. There’s a lot to fix, but a few more saves will go a long way to stringing a couple of wins together. 

Finally, the Calgary Flames, who recently snapped a six-game losing streak with a win over the Seattle Kraken, sit 30th in our rankings.

Calgary played well in a 4-3 loss to Dallas before that, so it would be fair to suggest the team might be trending in the right direction. No. 1 goalie Jacob Markstrom has been brilliant this season, which Calgary needs more than anything following a disappointing 2022-23 campaign.

Offensively, the Flames sit 28th in scoring and, like last year, are all volume with little quality. Different coaching, same result. For the Flames to score at an above-average rate they will need to improve on their bottom-10 rankings in slot shots, inner-slot shots and cycle scoring chances.


NHL Power Ranking - November 6

RK Team Last Week Record Avg. Goal Diff  xGoal Diff PT%
1 Los Angeles Kings 5 7-2-2 1.45 .82 727
2 Vegas Golden Knights 1 11-1-1 1.62 .35 .885
3 Vancouver Canucks 8 8-2-1 2.36 .09 .773
4 Boston Bruins 2 9-1-1 1.27 -.19 .864
5 New Jersey Devils 6 7-3-1 .45 .61 .682
6 New York Rangers 4 8-2-1 1.00 -.18 .773
7 Carolina Hurricanes 15 7-5-0 -.08 .85 .583
8 Tampa Bay Lightning 7 5-3-3 .36 .18 .591
9 Pittsburgh Penguins 25 4-6-0 .50 1.03 .400
10 Colorado Avalanche 3 7-3-0 .30 .79 .700
11 Anaheim Ducks 19 7-4-0 .45 -.63 .636
12 Dallas Stars 14 7-2-1 .40 -.38 .750
13 Detroit Red Wings 9 7-4-1 .67 .30 .625
14 Florida Panthers 10 5-4-1 -.20 .55 .550
15 Arizona Coyotes 23 5-5-1 .36 .37 .500
16 Winnipeg Jets 17 5-4-2 -.18 -.02 .545
17 Buffalo Sabres 18 6-6-0 .08 -.24 .500
18 New York Islanders 22 5-2-3 0 -1.01 .650
19 Philadelphia Flyers 12 5-6-1 -.17 .57 .458
20 Nashville Predators 16 5-6-0 0 .31 .455
21 Toronto Maple Leafs 11 5-4-2 -.09 0 .545
22 Ottawa Senators 13 4-6-0 .30 .34 .400
23 Washington Capitals 21 5-4-1 -1.10 .12 .550
24 Minnesota Wild 24 4-5-2 -.64 .27 .455
25 St. Louis Blues 28 5-4-1 -.30 -.49 .550
26 Montreal Canadiens 20 5-4-2 -.45 -.79 .545
27 Columbus Blue Jackets 26 4-5-2 -.55 -.35 .455
28 Seattle Kraken 30 4-6-2 -.83 -.48 .417
29 Edmonton Oilers 27 2-7-1 -1.40 .42 .250
30 Calgary Flames 31 3-7-1 -1.09 -.11 .318
31 Chicago Blackhawks 29 4-7-0 -1.09 -1.04 .364
32 San Jose Sharks 32 0-10-1 -3.82 -2.10 .045