Week six of the NHL season is in the books and the two teams I expected to run the tables last year lead their conferences this year coming into Thanksgiving weekend. Tampa Bay and Nashville have both been impressive to this point, especially the Lightning considering Stamkos got off to a slow start. This list was made after the early afternoon games on Saturday, November 17th. As a reminder, there will be a grades piece coming on Thanksgiving and then power rankings the following day.
1. Tampa Bay Lightning
Despite a slow start the Lightning look like contenders moving forward. Steven Stamkos is coming along nicely.
2. Nashville Predators
Nashville is a strong team from top to bottom. Add in strong goaltending from Pekka Rinne and they look unstoppable.
3. Toronto Maple Leafs
Toronto has a winning recipe here. They are in the top three in scoring and the top ten in goals against. A big reason for their continued success.
4. Minnesota Wild
Minnesota is getting top-notch goaltending and some solid offense to turn their season around to what it has become now.
5. Winnipeg Jets
Winnipeg is using home ice to their advantage to the tune of an 8-2-2 record. Their road record is okay at 3-3. If they can keep this pace up the Jets will be in great shape.
6. Buffalo Sabres
Carter Hutton has been solid for the Sabres in net, a large part of their success. Their young players score and veterans are getting it done also.
7. Columbus Blues Jackets
The Blue Jackets can score eh? Unfortunately, their D isn’t looking too hot right now. It will be fun to see if Columbus tries to fix the defense before the trade deadline or not.
8. Montreal Canadiens
The Canadiens have slowed down a bit which was to be expected because they got off to a ridiculous start. Carey Price is coming off of a tremendous start the other night stopping 43 of 45.
9. Boston Bruins
The Bruins are high on this list this week but could tumble with both Patrice Bergeron (Out at least 2 games) and Zdeno Chara (4 to 6 weeks) out of the line up with injuries. And the offense could be a mess without Bergeron who is an anchor for their top line.
10. New York Islanders
The Islanders continue to be a nice surprise this season because they are getting great goaltending this season. If you are willing to excuse a sloppy 7-5 win the other night over the Rangers.
11. San Jose Sharks
The Sharks are inconsistent but they are fun to watch. They have good games and bad games. But they also have a points percentage over .500 despite the fact. They are doing something right. But a little consistency goes a long way.
12. Dallas Stars
Coming off of a stunning 1-0 overtime win over Boston. The stunning part isn’t that the Stars won really, it has more to do with the fact that they only managed one goal against a Bruins defense core that is riddled with injuries and had two players making their NHL debuts last night.
13. Colorado Avalanche
This team has a seriously good offense. Unfortunately, I do think their defense might hurt them in the playoffs if or when they make it.
14. Washington Capitals
They are getting points and some wins but as the defending Stanley Cup Champions, they are not impressing anyone to this point. I don’t like what I see out of the Caps so far.
15. Edmonton Oilers
The Oilers go into the first battle of Alberta playing decent hockey up to this point. And they have, in my opinion, the best player in the NHL so they should be a decent shape moving forward.
16. Calgary Flames
David Rittich has been a quality backup to Mike Smith who continues to hurt the Flames. Honestly, I am not sold on Rittich right now but he can’t be much worse than Smith at this point. Smith is ruining what has been a great season by the Calgary offense to this point. Though even that has slowed down a bit.
17. Vancouver Canucks
The Canucks have fallen on hard times. They are allowing goals and Elias Petterson has not gotten a point in four straight games. The Canucks need Petterson to get going against but it may be hard with Brock Boeser being injured.
18. New York Rangers
The Rangers traded Ryan Spooner to Edmonton for Ryan Strome. I think the Rangers got the better of the deal here but time will tell. It is an important trade to get right for their future since this should be a rebuilding year or two for the Rangers.
19. Arizona Coyotes
Arizona cracks the top twenty and it is well deserved with their recent play. This is what I envisioned for the Coyotes this season. With the way it started I thought it might be yet another bottom five finish but they have gotten things on track.
20. Philadelphia Flyers
The Flyers will play in some pretty entertaining hockey games, that is for sure. But can games like today versus Tampa (a 6-5 overtime loss to Tampa) be sustainable for them making the playoffs, and the answer there is no. The Flyers defense needs to be much better.
21. Detroit Red Wings
The goaltending is not the issue in Detroit these days and that is why they are 8-2 in their last ten. Jimmy Howard has been amazing lately.
22. Anaheim Ducks
The Ducks offense is stuck in the mud and it doesn’t look like it will get any better anytime soon. Which is to the misfortune of John Gibson because he has been great.
23. Carolina Hurricanes
Carolina’s offense has slowed down quite a bit and part of the reason could be is that only 6.5% of their shots on net actually go into the net. And because of their lack of offense, they have fallen sharply in the standings. The goaltending has been pretty decent which is the shocking part.
24. New Jersey Devils
Another team hurt by their offense. Kinkaid has been impressive for the Devils in net but he is not getting the goal support he needs.
25. Chicago Blackhawks
The Blackhawks have just one win in their last ten games. Coach Q was fired last week but nothing has changed. Something needs to be done before it is too late to rebound.
26. Ottawa Senators
Ottawa is learning that being outshot every game by an average of 8.6 shots per game is not a winning recipe.
27. Florida Panthers
You won’t win much when your shooting percentage is only nine percent. Ironically Florida averages the third most shots on net per game. You would think they would have more than 52 goals this season.
28. St. Louis Blues
It looks like St. Louis is finally starting to come around a little bit but at this point they may need to make a major run like winning 7 of 10 to get back into the picture. The good thing is that they have sixty-five games remaining.
29. Pittsburgh Penguins
The Penguins are in an unfamiliar spot, towards the bottom of the standings and Sidney Crosby is out for about a week with an injury. It is stunning to see the Penguins this far down, but they have too much talent to remain here. Right?
30. Vegas Golden Knights
The offense is struggling and one player that has fallen off this season is William Karlsson which is both stunning and not stunning. Stunning because he had a ton of goals last season. It isn’t stunning at the same time because before last season he had not done much of anything in his career. The Golden Knights need Karlsson to get back to the form he had last season if they want their offense to get back on track.
31. Los Angeles Kings
LA, do you want the good news? It is still early in the season. The bad news however is that the Kings have been terrible on offense. The Kings have the fewest goals scored in the league by nine goals. That is absurd. Especially for a team that had a decent offense last year and was only supposed to get better with the Ilya Kovalchuk signing.
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