NHL Power Rankings: Penguins looking like a powerhouse again

Sidney Crosby has been scorching hot over the last 10 games. (Adam Pantozzi/NHLI via Getty Images)

Hey everyone, we here at Puck Daddy are doing real power rankings for teams Nos. 1-31. Here they are, based on only how I am feeling about these teams, meaning you can’t tell me I’m wrong because these are my feelings and feelings can’t be wrong. Please enjoy the Power Feelings.

31. Ottawa Senators (Last week: 27)

It’s right back to the bottom for the Sens. Not just for the fact that Erik Karlsson seems to already be drafting an email titled “Trade me to Tampa right [expletive]ing now,” but because the Sens also lost their three games before the All-Star break, with an average goal difference of minus-2 and an average shot difference of nearly minus-12 a game.

This is a team with No Future. I’ll spare you the dissertation on Titus Andronicus.

30. Detroit Red Wings (LW: 29)

29. Vancouver Canucks (LW: 30)

28. Arizona Coyotes (LW: 28)

27. Buffalo Sabres (LW: 31)

Listen, I feel like even bringing it up is a bit of a dangerous game, but the Sabres won all three of their games last week and gave up just one goal in doing so. Their goal difference for the week (plus-10) blew their shot difference (minus-3) out of the water. You don’t see that every day.
And sure, the wins were on a Western Canada swing and it can be easy to get points out of a trip like that these days, but you gotta give ’em bonus points for a couple things here: a) winning despite being the Buffalo Sabres, and b) causing the Oilers to go into a full-on existential crisis.

It doesn’t get much better than that.

26. Florida Panthers (LW: 24)

25. Edmonton Oilers (LW: 23)

And speaking of the Oilers having a meltdown, what a joy.

Questions are now swirling as to the future direction of the franchise, because if you lose 5-0 to the Sabres at home, you probably need to fire someone. And it probably needs to be the guy who traded a bunch of borderline-elite wingers for defensemen and forwards who kinda suck.

Put another way, you can’t let Peter Chiarelli try to dig himself out of the hole he put this team in, because it’s the same kinda thinking that put the Bruins out of Cup contention a little prematurely (though they’re back now all of a sudden, weird) and sank what should have been an era of dominance for the Oilers. This guy, like most GMs, doesn’t learn many lessons from the mistakes he makes. He can’t be trusted to have learned anything this time either.

24. Carolina Hurricanes (LW: 25)

23. Montreal Canadiens (LW: 26)

22. Chicago Blackhawks (LW: 21)

I know all the Chicago guys were talking about how they could turn the season around as we head into February, and while they’re still plugging away at a relatively high level in comparison with most last-in-their-division teams in the league, also: Forget it. They’re 10 points back of a divisional playoff spot, and, yes, only four back of a wild card. But between them and that last wild-card spot? Four teams with four more points than them.

It’s obviously possible, in theory, for Chicago to make up that gap against any one or two of those teams, but against four? Seems like pretty slim odds.

21. Los Angeles Kings (LW: 20)

The Kings are one team I think looks pretty good to not-keep-it-up down the stretch, as I’ve said before, so Chicago overtaking them? Yeah, I’d buy that. But they’re not there now, or rather, yet.

For the record, the other three teams tied with L.A. for that spot are Colorado (surging), Anaheim (mostly middling) and Minnesota (same).

20. New York Rangers (LW: 22)

Like the Kings and a bunch of those other teams, the Rangers are perilously close to the playoffs. They’re a point back of Philly and Jersey, though both of those teams have played fewer games, and tied with the Islanders. You could tell me any combination of those four teams end up in a wild-card spot and I’d go, “Yeah that sounds about right to me.” Whatever. None of them are particularly good but they’re all passable I guess.

19. New Jersey Devils (LW: 15)

The thing with the Devils, though, is that they’re living off all those banked points. They lost all three games in regulation last week (they and the Senators are the only teams in the league to go 0-fer on points, which isn’t great company). They’ve won just two games in January, and one of them was an OT win, so they gave up a point in that one, too, and it was to a division rival.

Remember when offense was gonna be the Devils’ problem? They have three goals in the last four games, and just two in the review period we’re talking about here (from Jan. 22-29).

18. New York Islanders (LW: 14)

17. Anaheim Ducks (LW: 17)

16. Philadelphia Flyers (LW: 18)

15. Minnesota Wild (LW: 16)

14. Calgary Flames (LW: 11)

I felt kinda bad dropping the Flames like this because I obviously think they’re good, but they lost three games in OT last week, and they’re now just a point up on that cluster of teams in spots Nos. 8-11 in the West.

Plus they’re basically forcing Jagr out of the NHL. I hate them for it!

13. Colorado Avalanche (LW: 13)

The Avs saw their winning streak snapped in Montreal (haha) and then lost in regulation to St. Louis. The big move up the standings is probably over at this point but given the competition around them, they can probably just tread water and at least give themselves a shot at a playoff appearance. What a world.

12. Pittsburgh Penguins (LW: 19)

The Pens keep winning, man. All that “I still think they’re good” talk I did earlier in the year when they didn’t seem to be playing that well? It’s paying off, baby! Sid Crosby is scoring like Sid Crosby again. The goaltending is mostly coming together.

This is a club that lost just three games out of 11 in January so far (they have one more tonight against the Sharks), and must be feeling powerful.

How about this one: Despite starting the season limply and being in a competitive division, they’re third in the Metro right now. Pretty good!

11. Toronto Maple Leafs (LW: 12)

10. Dallas Stars (LW: 9)

9. St. Louis Blues (LW: 10)

Starting to feel like I’m gonna have Dallas and St. Louis flip-flopping this spot for the entire rest of the season. They’re both pretty good with some obvious deficiencies, but I think long-term I like Dallas just a little bit better.

‘Course, the Blues went 2-0 this past week and Dallas was only 1-1, so there ya go! We’re really splitting hairs but that’s life.

8. Columbus Blue Jackets (LW: 8)

The Blue Jackets are just kinda quietly tied with the Pens, though with two games in hand, so that all feels about right for them, doesn’t it?

7. San Jose Sharks (LW: 6)

6. Vegas Golden Knights (LW: 4)

The Knights went into the break with a home loss to the Islanders, which as their official Twitter account points out, was their first regulation home loss since late November.

What few wanted to point out (because of how it doesn’t help the narrative that we should be collectively losing it over this club) was that it was also Vegas’s fourth loss of any kind in seven games and fifth in nine.

Something to watch.

5. Washington Capitals (LW: 7)

The Caps won their only game last week and they’re starting to look really good to sew up the top spot in their division. Few if any saw that one coming.

But they’re six points up on Columbus and Pittsburgh, with two more games left on the schedule than the Pens have, and I dunno. I don’t love this team or anything but you gotta give ’em a lot of credit. They’ve done more than anyone would have expected.

4. Winnipeg Jets (LW: 5)

3. Boston Bruins (LW: 3)

Charlie McAvoy being out for a week or two should be a point of concern, but the Bruins have built themselves a nice little cushion here so no big deal.

2. Nashville Predators (LW: 1)

1. Tampa Bay Lightning (LW: 2)

After one week out of the top spot, the Lightning won three straight. They’re the best of the best in this league for a reason. Plus they’re gonna trade for Karlsson.

Ryan Lambert is a Puck Daddy columnist. His email is here and his Twitter is here.

(All stats via Corsica unless otherwise noted.)