NHL Power Rankings: Avalanche ascending
It’s been another eventful two weeks in the NHL, and our newest power rankings reflect that. We have a new team that cracked the Top 10, plus some risers and fallers. Let’s dive in.
1. Florida Panthers (27-8-5)
The Panthers managed to leapfrog the Hurricanes in this power ranking on the heels of a 4-3 overtime win over that foe on Jan. 8, running Florida’s head-to-head record with Carolina this year to 2-0. They also boast the NHL’s highest goal differential at +49.
The Panthers are 9-1-1 since the COVID pause thanks in no small part to goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky, who’s 7-0-0 in January with a 2.10 GAA and .941 save percentage.
2. Carolina Hurricanes (26-8-2)
Though they’ve yet to beat the Panthers this season, the Hurricanes still boast the NHL’s highest winning percentage, with 26 victories through 36 games.
Andrei Svechnikov leads all Carolina scorers with eight points through six games in January.
3. Colorado Avalanche (27-8-3)
The Avalanche have been the favorites in the Stanley Cup futures market all season, and they’re finally beginning to play like a true contender.
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Tampa Bay Lightning
Vegas Golden Knights
Toronto Maple Leafs
New York Rangers
Colorado is 10-0-1 this month, with Mikko Rantanen and All-Star captain Nathan MacKinnon each accounting for 18 points in that span. The Avs appear to have a soft slate coming up with dates against Montreal, Chicago twice, Buffalo, and Arizona all before Feb. 2.
Colorado may fall further from the +550 they were on Dec. 23 as they mow the opposition down; they’re already down to +500 as of Friday.
4. New York Rangers (26-10-4)
Adam Fox could be in the midst of a second straight Norris Trophy-winning season. The 23-year-old blueliner leads the Rangers in points (42), including a team-high 11 in January.
Fox’s exploits have guided the Blueshirts to a 7-2-0 record over their last nine games.
5. Tampa Bay Lightning (27-9-5)
The Lightning are tied with the Panthers for most points in the NHL with 59, but Florida has a game in hand. The Panthers also clubbed Tampa 9-3 in their most recent meeting on Dec. 30.
Nonetheless, the Bolts have gathered six wins in their last seven games. Nikita Kucherov has played a huge role in that, amassing 11 points in that stretch, including a hat-trick on Jan. 11 against the Sabres.
6. Vegas Golden Knights (24-15-2)
At a modest 4-3-2 over their last nine games, the Golden Knights are fortunate to be playing in the weak Pacific Division, where only two other teams are above the true .500 mark (more wins than combined losses).
Vegas’ upcoming four-game road trip – with stops at Washington, Carolina, Florida, and Tampa Bay – will be a serious litmus test for one of the preseason Stanley Cup favorites.
7. Toronto Maple Leafs (24-10-3)
The Maple Leafs may be hitting a rough patch, as they lost two of their last three games; one to dreadful Arizona, and one to the Rangers in which they allowed five unanswered goals, leading head coach Sheldon Keefe to call his club “soft and purposeless.”
Toronto is hoping to get some games back in their own building soon, as they’re 14-5 straight-up at Scotiabank Arena this year.
8. St. Louis Blues (23-11-5)
After being on the outside looking in at the Top 10 for most of the season, the Blues finally return at the No. 8 position.
St. Louis has won six of its last eight overall, getting contributions up and down their lineup. Brayden Schenn made a triumphant return to the ice with a four-point game in a 5-3 win over the Predators when last seen.
9. Pittsburgh Penguins (24-10-5)
Despite playing six of their first nine games in January on the road, the Penguins are 6-2 in that stretch.
Kris Letang has delivered some vintage performances in that span, amassing a team-high 14 points.
10. Minnesota Wild (22-10-3)
Despite playing only 35 games, the Wild still have a solid hold on a playoff spot in the Western Conference, where only the Avs boast a better points percentage (.750 compared to .671).
Linemates Kirill Kaprizov and Mats Zuccarello have been in lock-step with one another recently, as each is riding a six-game point-scoring streak.