Power Rankings: Bolts, Avs, Leafs all drop

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The 2021-22 NHL season isn't even two weeks old and we've had some major surprises. Some teams have exceeded expectations, but others haven't been able to meet expectations.

This week, the Tampa Bay Lightning, Colorado Avalanche and Toronto Maple Leafs all took serious hits in the overall rankings.

Will all three of those squads be able to get back on track?

Here are my latest rankings:

1 – Carolina Hurricanes (-):

Last week’s number one team did nothing to drop in the rankings over the last week. The ‘Canes have won all four of their games this year and three of those victories have come on the road. Starting tonight, they’ll begin a four-game homestand. Andrei Svechnikov already has four goals and seven points in 2021-22.

2 – Florida Panthers (Up 2):

Like the Hurricanes, the Panthers remain unbeaten this season. They’re a perfect 5-0-0. Four of the five teams they’ve beaten were in the playoffs last spring. The Panthers have six different players averaging a point per game and they’re getting saves from veteran Sergei Bobrovsky.

3 – Edmonton Oilers (Up 4):

Not many people expected the Oilers to be the first Western Conference team to five victories, but here they are with a 5-0-0 record. Do you want to hear a not-so-shocking stat? Connor McDavid is leading the NHL in scoring with 13 points. Oh, by the way, teammate Leon Draisaitl is second with 11 points.

4 – St. Louis Blues (Up 8):

The Blues made the playoffs last year, but they were swept by the Colorado Avalanche in the first round. St. Louis has looked good so far this year though. They’ve posted road wins over Colorado, Arizona and Vegas. They also managed to take down the Kings in their home-opener on Saturday night. Jordan Kyrou leads this team in scoring with eight points in four games.

5 – Pittsburgh Penguins (Down 2):

The Penguins haven’t lost a game in regulation so far this season and that’s pretty impressive considering they haven’t had Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby. Pittsburgh also didn’t have Jeff Carter, Bryan Rust and Kris Letang against Toronto on Saturday night. How did they manage without those guys? Well, they won, 7-1. Without looking it up, can you tell me who the top five leading scorers are for the Pens right now? Danton Heinen, Evan Rodrigues, Drew O’Connor, Brock McGinn and Marcus Pettersson (there’s no way you got all five correct answers).

6 – Washington Capitals (-):

The Caps have dropped two games in overtime, but they still haven’t suffered a regulation defeat. They have a chance to do some additional damage this week, as they’ll play in Ottawa before hosting Arizona and Detroit (all three of those teams missed the playoffs last year). If you expected Alex Ovechkin to slow down at 36 years old, well, you would be wrong. He has five goals and 10 points through five contests.

7 – Boston Bruins (Up 2):

The Bruins are 3-1-0 so far this season. Their only loss came in Philadelphia last week, but they found a way to beat an improved San Jose team yesterday. Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak are the top two scorers on the team and the duo of Linus Ullmark and Jeremy Swayman have stood tall in goal.

8 – San Jose Sharks (Up 16):

I didn’t expect the Sharks to move up 16 points after two weeks, but here we are. This group deserves credit. They’re four games into an early-season five-game road trip and they’ve managed to win three times. They didn’t have the best showing in Boston last night, but they’re still 4-1-0 to start the year. Is Erik Karlsson back? The Swedish defender has six points in five games to start the year.

9 – New York Rangers (Up 6):

The Rangers are one of nine teams that have played as many as six games this season and they have a 4-1-1 record. New York started the year with two losses to Washington and Dallas, but they’ve rattled off four wins in a row. Igor Shesterkin has a 3-0-0 record with a 1.48 goals-against-average and a .953 save percentage. Yes, it’s a small sample size, but it looks like he could become a star this year.

10 – Minnesota Wild (Up 1):

The Wild opened the season by winning four consecutive one-goal games, but they dropped a home date against the Predators on Sunday. They will now hit the road for three straight games in Vancouver, Seattle and Colorado. Believe it or not, Kirill Kaprizov hasn’t scored yet, but he does have five assists in five games.

11 – Vancouver Canucks (Up 8):

Context is everything when it comes to the Canucks season. They opened the year with a six-game road trip and they managed to go 3-2-1 on the trip. They’re coming off back-to-back wins over the Blackhawks and Kraken. Conor Garland, who was acquired from Arizona during the off-season, is tied for the team lead in scoring with eight points in six contests.

12 – Dallas Stars (Up 15):

like the Canucks, the Stars hit the road to start the year, as they played four in a row away from home. They dropped two games to Boston and Ottawa, but they’ve come away with back-to-back wins over in Pittsburgh (shootout) and at home against Los Angeles (overtime). Miro Heiskanen has amassed two goals and four assists in five games. He’s one of the best young defensemen in the game.

13 – Tampa Bay Lightning (Down 11):

The Bolts are very low on the list by their standards and putting them at number 13 might even be generous. Tampa lost several key pieces during the off-season and they’ve been without Nikita Kucherov now. In their defense, they’ve had a pretty tough schedule, as they’ve played Washington, Florida and Colorado. They have a 2-2-1 record in 2021-22. On a positive note, Steven Stamkos has picked up nine points in just five games.

14 – Philadelphia Flyers (Up 6):

The Flyers have the eighth best goal-differential at plus-5, but that stat is a little misleading. The offense came through for them in 6-1 and 6-3 wins over Seattle and Boston, but they’ve also dropped closer games to Vancouver (shootout) and Florida. Of all the skaters that have played in all four of their games, only Nate Thompson and Nicolas Aube-Kubel have failed to register a point.

15 – New Jersey Devils (Up 10):

We’ve been waiting for the Devils to improve for a couple of seasons now and it looks like they might be on track to do that. They have a 3-1-0 record through four games, but they haven’t played away from home yet. New Jersey has taken down Chicago, Seattle and Buffalo. There’s a chance they could drop down the list in a hurry, but we’ll give them the benefit of the doubt for now. Not having Jack Hughes for an extended period of time will hurt.

16 – New York Islanders (Up 6):

The Islanders are starting to come around. After dropping three of their first four games, the Isles found a way to win back-to-back games against Arizona and Vegas over the weekend. They also picked up a shutout in each of those two wins. New York is about to get five days between games, as they’ll only be back in action on Saturday in Nashville. Their first home game is scheduled for Nov. 20. When that date hits, they’ll have played 13 straight away from home. That’s the second-longest road trip in NHL history and it was necessary because of a delay in the construction of UBS Arena.

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17 – Buffalo Sabres (Up 4):

The Sabres have moved up in the power rankings for the second week in a row. At the beginning of the season, I expected them to finish either 31st or 32nd in the NHL. I still don’t think they’ll be a playoff team, but they’re a lot better than I gave them credit for (they play hard). They’ve dropped back-to-back games to the Bruins and Devils (overtime) though. Colin Miller (!!!) leads the team in scoring with five points in five games. He’s the only point-per-game player on the roster.

18 – Winnipeg Jets (Up 5):

After opening the season with back-to-back losses to Anaheim and San Jose, the Jets have picked up at least one point in three straight contests (2-0-1). They’ve also found a way to score 16 times in those three outings. Kyle Connor leads the way with six goals and nine points in five games. The Jets have six players with at least five points already (Connor, Pierre-Luc Dubois, Nate Schmidt, Andrew Copp, Paul Stastny and Neal Pionk).

19 – Colorado Avalanche (Down 14):

Colorado started the year in the top spot on my power rankings and they were fifth last week. This is a serious drop for them, but they’re too talented to stay here. They’ve had a tough schedule to open the year, but they should be one of the elite teams in the league. Nathan MacKinnon, who missed the start of the season because he was in COVID protocol, will round in to form. That’s weird to say because he’s picked up five points in three outings.

20 - Calgary Flames (Up 8):

The Flames started the season with a loss to the Oilers, but like the Jets, they’ve collected points in three consecutive contests. They’re in the middle of a five-game road trip that will see them face the Rangers, Devils and Flyers this week. Elias Lindholm is tied for the NHL lead in goals, with six.

21 – Columbus Blue Jackets (Down 8):

The Jackets surprised many by winning three of their first four games, but they’re coming off a 5-1 loss to Carolina on Saturday. I don’t expect the Jackets to make the postseason, but they won’t be an easy out either. Oliver Bjorkstrand is having a nice season, as he’s already up to 7 points in five outings.

22 – Toronto Maple Leafs (Down 12):

Things aren’t going well for the Leafs, but they are one of the few teams that won’t be judged by their regular-season performance. For them, it’s all about winning a playoff series. Of course, you have to make the playoffs to win a round, but they should be able to do that. They didn’t have a good weekend, as they dropped games to San Jose (5-3) and Pittsburgh (7-1).

23 – Detroit Red Wings (Down 7):

The Wings took down the Blackhawks by a score of 6-3 last night, but they were awful in Montreal on Saturday night. It’ll be interesting to follow Tyler Bertuzzi’s season. He has six goals and three assists in five games, but he isn’t vaccinated. Because of that, he wasn’t able to cross the border into Montreal without quarantining.

24 – Ottawa Senators (Down 10):

The Sens won two of their first three contests, but they’ve dropped back-to-back home dates to San Jose and the Rangers since then. Sophomore forward Tim Stützle has picked up just two assists through five games, but he’s looked relatively dynamic at times. Once these young players start gaining more experience, Ottawa will be a pretty good team.

25 – Nashville Predators (Up 4):

The Preds managed to come away with a big 5-2 road win over the Minnesota Wild on Sunday. They’ll now play back-to-back games at home against San Jose and the Islanders, but they’ll follow that up by playing nine of their following 10 games away from Bridgestone Arena. Roman Josi has been a bright spot, as the defender has seven points in six games. He’s tied for the team lead in goals, with three.

26 – Vegas Golden Knights (Down 18):

Vegas beat Seattle on opening night, but they haven’t won a game since then. Their losing streak hit four games when they lost to the Isles on Sunday night. To make matters worse, they continue to be without top forwards Mark Stone and Max Pacioretty.

27 – Los Angeles Kings (Down 9)

It’s been a difficult start to the year out in LA. The Kings have a nice blend of young and older players, but they have just one win through five games and it came in their opener against the Vegas Golden Knights. Drew Doughty was off to a very nice start, but he suffered an injury over the weekend.

28 – Anaheim Ducks (Down 2):

Anaheim won their regular-season opener against the Jets, but they’ve dropped three games in a row to Edmonton, Winnipeg and Minnesota (all on the road). On a positive note, the Ducks will get to play six of their next seven outings at home. Kevin Shattenkirk, Troy Terry and Jakob Silfverberg are tied for the team lead in points, with six (Terry has played in one fewer game).

29 – Montreal Canadiens (Up 1):

The Habs opened the season with five consecutive losses, but they were able to put a beat-down on the Red Wings on Saturday night thanks to a Mathieu Perreault hat-trick. Montreal will now go out west for a four-game road trip that will see them play in Seattle, San Jose, Los Angeles and Anaheim.

30 – Seattle Kraken (Down 13):

The Kraken won their second game by beating Nashville, but they’ve dropped every game since then. They even lost their home opener to Vancouver over the weekend. They’ll play three consecutive home games next week, so it’ll be interesting to see if they can build a bit of momentum. Jared McCann leads the team in scoring, with six points through six games.

31 – Chicago Blackhawks (-):

The Blackhawks made a splash this off-season when they traded for Seth Jones and Marc-Andre Fleury. They also got captain Jonathan Toews back. Unfortunately for them, that hasn’t translated into victories. They’re 0-5-1 and they have the second-worst goal-differential in the league at minus-15. Patrick Kane leads the team in scoring, but he missed Sunday’s game because he’s in COVID protocol.

32 – Arizona Coyotes (-):

The Coyotes are in the basement of my power rankings for the second week in a row (they were 31st in Week 1). They have an 0-4-1 record and a minus-17 goal-differential. To make matters worse, they’re about to begin a six-game road trip. I take no joy in saying that Coyotes fans will be going through a lot of pain over the next few seasons.

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source https://sports.yahoo.com/power-rankings-bolts-avs-leafs-130000601.html?src=rss