As the calendar turns to February, we’re now through Week 3 of the NHL season. If you haven’t followed along with the first two weeks of power rankings, teams are ranked on both recent performance and full body of work. Other factors like injury reports, opponent qualities, suspensions, etc., all come into play as well.
Here are the rankings through Monday night’s slate of games, featuring yet another new No. 1 team!
NHL Power Rankings #31-21
31. Ottawa Senators (1-7-1), Last Week’s Ranking: 31
Last week, I mentioned the Senators might not move from the bottom spot of the rankings for the remainder of the season. So far, they’ve proved me right. With three losses last week, all by at least three goals, and no wins since the season opener, the Senators are the bottom of the barrel.
It’s been ugly, and it’s going to get worse. Keep an eye on Cédric Paquette, Alex Galchenyuk, and Erik Gudbranson as the trade deadline approaches. All three are on affordable, expiring contracts, and Ottawa may look to stock up on picks for a talented 2021 Draft Class.
30. New York Rangers (3-4-2), Last Week’s Ranking: 30
Despite having a more talented team than the Red Wings, I’m keeping the Rangers at Number 30 this week because of the way they’ve handled the K’Andre Miller and Tony DeAngelo situation. While many of the details surrounding DeAngelo are still murky, including rumors of DeAngelo stealing the puck after Miller scored his first NHL goal, what has been made clear is that DeAngelo has played his last game for the Rangers, according to General Manager Jeff Gorton.
GM Jeff Gorton says Tony DeAngelo has played his last game for the Rangers
— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) February 1, 2021
After clearing waivers Monday, it’s possible no team is willing to take on the 25-year-old defenseman, especially after his defensive zone struggles and off-ice behavior and image, including a history of racist, sexist, and homophobic slurs. I’m extremely interested in how both the Rangers and the NHL handle the situation going forward.
29. Detroit Red Wings (2-6-2), Last Week’s Ranking: 29
Detroit picked up two points last week in overtime losses to the Stars and the Panthers. Anthony Mantha has points in three straight games. Filip Zadina is seeing increased ice time but needs to shoot the puck more (two shots in four games). The Red Wings are very much in a rebuild, but properly developing young players like Zadina will be critical to a successful rebuild.
28. San Jose Sharks (3-5-0), Last Week’s Ranking: 23
San Jose was outscored 10-3 in their most recent two games, a pair of losses to the Avalanche, then had their games against Vegas postponed while the Golden Knights were in COVID protocol. It’s a good time for the Sharks to regroup, as they don’t play again until Friday. Devan Dubnyk got his save percentage up over the .900 mark, so things are moving in the right direction there.
27. Anaheim Ducks (3-5-2), Last Week’s Ranking: 25
Anaheim’s anemic offense is here to stay. The Ducks average a league-worst 1.60 goals per game, and until they find a way to get Sam Steel, Max Jones, and Troy Terry to shoot the puck more (they have a combined one goal on 20 shots through 10 games), their scoring woes will continue. At least next season, they’ll have [Trevor Zegras with the Big Club and can look forward to goals like this](https://twitter.com/usahockey/status/1356280208052011009).
26. Arizona Coyotes (3-4-1), Last Week’s Ranking: 27
Another team that struggles to generate offense, the Coyotes scoring has dipped from a year ago. They averaged 2.71 goals per game last year but are down to 2.50 this season. If they could get more of an offensive push, goaltender Darcy Kuemper would be held in much higher esteem around the league. Phil Kessel leads the team in goals (four) but has just one assist and no goals in his last four games.
25. Columbus Blue Jackets (4-3-3), Last Week’s Ranking: 22
Patrik Laine is eligible to make his Blue Jackets debut Tuesday, and Columbus could sure use the scoring touch Laine brings to the table. The Blue Jackets are scoring the fourth-fewest goals per game in the league this season. However, their stingy defense allows the third-fewest goals per game. When the offense matches their defensive efforts, Columbus will be a scary team to face down the stretch.
24. Chicago Blackhawks (3-4-3), Last Week’s Ranking: 28
The Blackhawks’ laundry list of injuries saw two more names added as Alex DeBrincat and Adam Boqvist have both been ruled out under COVID-19 protocol. They found a way to beat the Columbus Blue Jackets, thanks in large part to Kevin Lankinen. The 25-year-old rookie is playing his way into the Calder Trophy conversation with a 3-1-2 record, a 1.97 GAA, and a .937 save percentage.
23. Buffalo Sabres (4-4-2), Last Week’s Ranking: 26
Taylor Hall is contributing offensively with eight assists, but he’s still only at one goal this season. Buffalo needs Hall to be the go-to shooter, and once he gets going, you can expect the Sabres to have a serious scoring punch. Getting Sam Reinhart back from an upper-body injury should help as well.
22. Los Angeles Kings (3-3-2), Last Week’s Ranking: 21
The Kings split their two games last week with a win and a loss against the Minnesota Wild. Anze Kopitar has been excellent this season with twice as many points as any other Kings skater. He’s been a shut-down player defensively as well, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he finds himself in the conversation to win his third Selke trophy at the end of the year.
21. New York Islanders (3-4-2), Last Week’s Ranking: 12
Things went from bad to worse on the Island. New York has now lost five straight games, most recently a pair of overtime losses to the Flyers. The Islanders had a 3-0 lead against Washington on Thursday but allowed six unanswered goals over the rest of the game to collapse in dramatic fashion.
Rookie Ilya Sorokin has underwhelmed so far, still looking for his first win, while his save percentage (.871) and goals against average (3.65) continue to head in the wrong direction. Perhaps a series with the Buffalo Sabres will reverse their fortunes.
NHL Power Rankings #20-11
20. Nashville Predators (4-5-0), Last Week’s Ranking: 19
Nashville dropped back-to-back games against the Lightning, falling behind 4-0 early on Monday before losing 5-2. The frustrating part for Nashville fans is that the issues aren’t the same from night to night. Some nights it’s goaltending and defense; other nights, it’s the offense struggling to score despite outshooting an opponent. Filip Forsberg’s six points lead the team.
19. Vancouver Canucks (6-6-0), Last Week’s Ranking: 24
In my season preview, I had the Canucks finishing fourth in the division, right on the fringe of the playoffs. The alarm bells are starting to sound that I overestimated Vancouver. While Brock Boeser is tied for the league lead in goals (eight) and the team is finding a ton of ways to score (3.42 goals per game, 10th in the league), they’re also giving up 3.58 goals per game, the fifth-highest total.
Their schedule isn’t getting any easier, with another game against Montreal Tuesday, then three in a row against Toronto, and four consecutive against Calgary.
18. Edmonton Oilers (5-6-0), Last Week’s Ranking: 20
Edmonton picked up a pair of wins and a pair of losses last week, and once again, Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl did the heavy lifting for the team. McDavid leads the league in points (eight goals, 14 assists) and is one point ahead of Draisaitl (six goals, 15 assists). They have 43 combined points; the rest of the roster put together has 59.
Third on the team in points is Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, with five goals and five assists. With McDavid and Draisaitl signed to long-term deals, Edmonton cannot continue to put together a mediocre roster around them.
17. Winnipeg Jets (5-3-1), Last Week’s Ranking: 14
Winnipeg scored the game-tying goal with less than two minutes to go to force overtime Monday night but lost in a shootout with Calgary. They’ve now dropped three of their last four games. Sixty percent of their wins have come against the last-place Senators. Pierre-Luc Dubois likely won’t get to play for the Jets until next week, but if he can play like what we saw last year in the playoffs, Winnipeg will have a scary one-two punch with Scheifele and Dubois up the middle.
16. Pittsburgh Penguins (5-3-1), Last Week’s Ranking: 18
Man, oh man, are the Penguins a tough team to get a read on this year. They’ve twice defeated the Division-leading Capitals, but they’ve also been swept by the Flyers and Bruins so far. Monday night’s loss to the lowly New York Rangers was the latest head-scratcher. The Penguins dominated the faceoff dot (34 wins to 14 for the Rangers) but couldn’t capitalize on opportunities, going 0-for-6 on the power play as well. They’re still in the bottom five of goals allowed per game.
15. New Jersey Devils (4-3-2), Last Week’s Ranking: 10
The Devils announced Monday 10 players are on the COVID-19 protocol absence list. While not all of them have tested positive for COVID-19, their next three games have already been postponed. New Jersey was off to an impressive start relative to their expected performance this year. If there’s a silver lining, it’s that Nico Hischier should finally be ready to play once the Devils return to the ice.
14. Calgary Flames (4-3-1), Last Week’s Ranking: 16
Calgary picked up a plucky shootout win against Winnipeg Monday night, putting together a pair of wins after a tough stretch against the Maple Leafs and Canadiens. They still sit sixth in the North Division, but looking deeper, they’ve got a star goaltender in Jacob Markström and two solid forward lines that are a threat to light the lamp every night. Johnny Gaudreau has scored at least one point in every game this season.
13. Minnesota Wild (6-4-0), Last Week’s Ranking: 15
Minnesota responded well from a flat effort Saturday night to beat the Colorado Avalanche in overtime on Sunday, even without several players with injuries and suspensions. The bad news is 2020 first round draft pick Marco Rossi has returned to his native Austria to recover from complications from COVID-19.
Minnesota’s center depth (or lack thereof) has been a problem for several years, and they’re now even thinner down the middle. With a pair of first round draft picks in 2021 (their own and Pittsburgh’s from the Jason Zucker trade), expect a center-heavy draft class.
12. Florida Panthers (5-0-1)
Florida is off to a great start, but I fear they’ve been padding their stats against inferior opponents. Four of their five wins came against Chicago and Detroit, who are sixth and eighth in the Central Division, respectively. They split with Columbus, who is currently second in the division by point total but fifth by point percentage (Chicago and Detroit are seventh and eighth in point percentage).
They play Nashville twice and Detroit once this upcoming week, then get three straight games against the Lightning. The Tampa Bay series will be a measuring stick moment for the Panthers, and I’m hoping they rise to the occasion.
11. St. Louis Blues (6-2-1), Last Week’s Ranking: 17
Last week, I wrote that the Blues needed to prove they were a better team than their point total indicated, having a talented roster but struggling to close out games. St. Louis has won three consecutive contests, including a dramatic shootout win over Vegas. They’re now tied with Colorado on top of the West Division with a game in hand. The Blues also play the Avalanche on Saturday and Sunday. Get your popcorn ready for those two games.
NHL Power Rankings #10-1
10. Dallas Stars (4-1-1), Last Week’s Ranking: 6
Dallas picked up a pair of losses to the Carolina Hurricanes last week, losing Sunday’s game in a shootout. Even after the losses, the Stars rank second in the league in goals per game (3.83) and allow the third-fewest goals against per game (2.17). Expect them to put a winning streak together in their four games against the Blue Jackets and Blackhawks this week.
9. Montreal Canadiens (6-1-2), Last Week’s Ranking: 3
Montreal picked up two wins and a regulation loss last week, but they rolled past the Vancouver Canucks with a 6-2 win on Monday. Jeff Petry is tied for the league lead among defensemen with 11 points (four goals, seven assists). Jake Allen has played well in relief of Carey Price, whose numbers have dipped a bit recently. They’re right on Toronto’s heels in the North Division race.
8. Philadelphia Flyers (7-2-1), Last Week’s Ranking: 11
Four straight Flyers wins have Philadelphia back on top of the East Division, tied with the Washington Capitals. While they’re still awaiting Sean Couturier’s return to the ice, Kevin Hayes (five goals, five assists) has continued to spark the team, as has James van Riemsdyk (five goals, eight assists). Carter Hart has pulled his save percentage back up to .900, and as he continues to improve that number, the standings point total will rise as well.
7. Colorado Avalanche (6-3-1), Last Week’s Ranking: 9
The Avalanche hit a few bumps in the road early this year, but they appear to be back on track. While they lost in overtime Sunday night, Colorado was the better team throughout the game. Picking up seven points in a four-game stretch is much more to the level of Colorado’s expectations, and they play the Wild twice more this week before a rematch with the Blues.
6. Boston Bruins (6-1-2), Last Week’s Ranking: 7
After Boston’s 1-1-1 start, I thought we were seeing the beginning of the end of the Bruins’ Cup window. However, Boston has gone 5-0-1 since then, and I’ll admit it, I may have misread this Bruins team. David Pastrnak has scored two goals and an assist since rejoining the club Saturday. I’m still not sold on their defensive depth, but they have the best goaltending tandem in the league, and with Pastrnak back, the offensive potency is there once again.
5. Tampa Bay Lightning (4-1-1), Last Week’s Ranking: 2
Tampa Bay flexed their scoring muscle Monday with a 5-2 win over the Predators. They’re now tied with Florida for the lead in the Central Division and are getting great production throughout their lineup. Leading by example, captain Steven Stamkos has the most points among Tampa Bay players with four goals and five assists. The Lightning have two more games this week, both against Detroit, and should come out on top in each contest.
4. Carolina Hurricanes (5-1-0), Last Week’s Ranking: 8
The Hurricanes returned from their COVID-19 pause with a shutout win over the Tampa Bay Lightning, then a pair of wins over the Dallas Stars. Petr Mrazek (2-1-0, 0.99 GAA, .955 save percentage, two shutouts) is playing some of the best hockey of his career. The only knock on Carolina’s roster this season was their goaltending. If Mrazek continues to play at this level, the Hurricanes are about to take the league by storm.
3. Toronto Maple Leafs (7-2-1), Last Week’s Ranking: 4
Even after the overtime loss to the Edmonton Oilers, the Leafs are alone at the top of the North Division, where they were projected to be throughout the offseason. Mitch Marner is tied for third in the league in points (five goals, nine assists), and Auston Matthews is tied for third in the league in goals with six. Next up is three straight games against the Canucks before next week’s ratings drop.
2. Vegas Golden Knights (5-1-1), Last Week’s Ranking: 1
Vegas’ lone game last week was an overtime loss to the St. Louis Blues. They’ve had three games canceled since then, bumping them out of the top spot for now. However, Vegas is still looking like the most complete team in the West Division and will be strong Cup contenders when they return to full health. After being named the first full-time captain in Vegas history, Mark Stone leads the team in points with two goals and nine assists.
1. Washington Capitals (6-1-3), Last Week’s Ranking: 5
The Capitals take over the top spot this week, even with the loss Monday, for their resiliency while missing several of their stars, including Alex Ovechkin, Evgeny Kuznetsov, and Ilya Samsonov. They were unable to play under COVID-19 protocol. Rookie Vítek Vaněček has dazzled in net, going 5-0-2 for the Caps with a 2.78 GAA and a .918 save percentage.
However, they are the third different team to hold the top spot in these ranking each of the past three weeks. How long will they hold on to the top spot? Will there be a new Number 1 next week? Stay tuned to find out.