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NHL Power Rankings: Minnesota Wild move into top spot

Profile Picture: Robert Criscola

December 10th, 2021

We have some major shakeups in our newest NHL Power Rankings. Let’s dive straight in.

1. Minnesota Wild (19-6-1)

The way the Wild are playing right now, +1400 looks like a bargain price for them in the Stanley Cup futures market.

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Colorado Avalanche

+550

Vegas Golden Knights

+750

Florida Panthers

+800

Tampa Bay Lightning

+850

Toronto Maple Leafs

+900

Minnesota Wild

+1400

Carolina Hurricanes

+1500

Washington Capitals

+1600

Calgary Flames

+1700

Edmonton Oilers

+1700

Minnesota has reeled off eight straight victories, opening up a seven-point lead in the Central Division standings over the St. Louis Blues. They’ve outscored their opponents 37-15 during this run, aided by the brilliant play of Kirill Kaprizov, who’s gone for five goals and nine assists over his last eight games.

The Wild have also received great goaltending from Cam Talbot of late, as he’s posted a .950 save % over his last six outings.

2. Florida Panthers (17-4-4)

The Panthers recently played five games in the span of 11 days and went 3-1-1, but Spencer Knight (6-3-2, 2.98 GAA, .904 save %) starting in three of those tilts over Sergei Bobrovsky (11-1-2, 2.41 GAA, .920 save %) was puzzling.

While keeping Bobrovsky fresh for the playoffs is important, so is winning the division, and Florida is currently in a three-way dogfight with the Lightning and the Maple Leafs, all of whom now have 38 points.

3. Carolina Hurricanes (18-6-1)

Though the Hurricanes lost their grip on the Metropolitan Division lead to the Capitals, they’re just one point behind with a game in hand, and have three fewer straight-up losses.

Sebastian Aho has played inspired hockey for Carolina in his last four games, amassing three goals and six assists.

4. New York Rangers (17-5-3)

The Rangers suffered a “schedule loss” to the Avalanche on Wednesday, traveling from Chicago to New York overnight while turning to a rookie goalie in Adam Huska. That brought a seven-game win streak – in which the Blueshirts outscored their foes 28-12 – to an end.

New York is hoping to get Igor Shesterkin back in net on Sunday, but that’s not looking likely.

5. Washington Capitals (16-4-6)

John Carlson is once again playing like a Norris Trophy candidate for the Capitals, who have won seven of their last 10 overall to take the Metropolitan Division lead.

Carlson has 14 points in that span, and only two penalty minutes.

6. Calgary Flames (15-6-6)

Though they still have a gaudy +27 goal differential (tied for the NHL lead with the Wild and the Capitals), the Flames are trending in the wrong direction.

They’ve gone just 4-3-1 since recording their last shutout nine games ago, twice requiring a shootout for the victory. Andrew Mangiapane has slipped off the “Rocket” Richard pace, having scored only twice in that span.

7. Tampa Bay Lightning (17-5-4)

The Lightning get the nod over the Maple Leafs for seventh place following their heads-up 5-3 victory on Thursday night, in which Steven Stamkos had a four-point game.

Tampa has won eight of their last 10 overall, including the first four games of a five-game road trip, which concludes Saturday against the dreadful Ottawa Senators.

8. Toronto Maple Leafs (18-8-2)

The last two weeks have been a mixed bag for Toronto. The Maple Leafs have dropped three of their last four, and top netminder Jack Campbell has a 3.45 GAA and .891 save % in December (four starts).

But All-Star forward Auston Matthews is in the midst of an eight-game point streak, scoring 10 goals and notching four assists.

9. Colorado Avalanche (14-7-2)

The Avalanche are quickly catching up to the pack in the Central Division – gathering points in 11 of their last 13 games – and still have three games in hand on the Wild, Blues, and Nashville Predators.

Cale Makar has picked up where he left off after being a 2020-2021 Norris Trophy finalist, tallying 23 points through his first 20 games.

10. Edmonton Oilers (16-9-0)

The Oilers have dropped four straight contests, notching just seven total goals. Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl combined for nine points in that stretch; adequate production for the top two stars on some squads, but not for Edmonton.

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