You already know what time it is: it’s time for the NHL Power Rankings! With a big shakeup at the top this week, let’s get right into it.
Here are this week’s NHL Power Rankings, as of 8:00 A.M. on Tuesday, April 27, 2021.
NHL Power Rankings: #31-21
31. Buffalo Sabres (13-29-7), Last Week’s Ranking: 31
Goaltending prospect Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen (54th overall pick in 2017) made his NHL debut Friday night, making 36 saves in a 6-4 win over the Boston Bruins. Unfortunately, Linus Ullmark and Carter Hutton are injured, necessitating Luukkonen’s callup. A bright spot on the season, Sam Reinhart recorded his fifth multi-goal game of the season on Saturday. Only Auston Matthews (eight) has more multi-goal games this year than Reinhart.
30. New Jersey Devils (14-27-7), Last Week’s Ranking: 29
The Devils went eight straight games without having a lead, and they’ve lost their last 10 games (1-12-3 in their last 15). You know you’re in trouble when the Sabres set a record with an 18 game losing streak but you’re still just two points ahead in the standings. However, it’s not for lack of trying. Trailing 6-0 to the Pittsburgh Penguins entering the third period last Tuesday, New Jersey rallied in the third period but lost 7-6.
29. Anaheim Ducks (14-28-7), Last Week’s Ranking: 30
The Ducks were dealt a serious blow as Jakob Silfverberg announced he’d undergo hip surgery to repair a bone issue and for a torn labrum. While Anaheim wasn’t doing anything this season, the question now is whether he’ll be ready to for next season.
28. Columbus Blue Jackets (15-25-10), Last Week’s Ranking: 28
Joonas Korpisalo is day-to-day with a lower body injury, but it may be better for the Blue Jackets that he’s not on the ice. This season, Korpisalo has the second-worst Goals Saved Above Expected (GSAx) in the league at -15.8.
27. Ottawa Senators (18-27-4), Last Week’s Ranking: 26
Since claiming Victor Mete off waivers from Montreal, the Senators are 4-2-0 with two shutouts. They’ve also outscored opponents 17-11 in that stretch. Brady Tkachuk had a pair of assists in a 2-1 win over Vancouver on Monday, while rookie goaltender Magnus Högberg stopped 26-of-27 shots to lead the way to victory.
26. Detroit Red Wings (17-25-8), Last Week’s Ranking: 27
Detroit’s season can be best summed up by their game against the Dallas Stars on Saturday night. After two periods of play, Detroit was getting outshot 41-6… and they had a 1-0 lead. The Red Wings ultimately lost 2-1 in overtime despite a 50 save effort from Jonathan Bernier. While Detroit continues to rebuild the team, they have to wonder if they need to move on from the 32-year-old Bernier before the Wings are ready to compete for the playoffs. I’m still surprised he wasn’t moved at the trade deadline.
25. Los Angeles Kings (18-22-6), Last Week’s Ranking: 24
Kings captain Anze Kopitar is at 996 career points. With ten games to go, he should be able to get to 1,000 before the season is over. If he does, he will be the fourth King to score 1,000 points with the franchise, joining Marcel Dionne, Luc Robitaille, and Dave Taylor. Kopitar would also be the 91st player in NHL history to hit that mark.
24. Vancouver Canucks (19-20-3), Last Week’s Ranking: 23
The Canucks have the raw talent to be a playoff contender. Unfortunately, with many players still dealing with lingering COVID-19 effects and other injuries, Vancouver looks out of juice for the rest of this season. Losing two of their most recent three games against the last-place Senators has all but sealed their fate.
23. San Jose Sharks (19-24-5), Last Week’s Ranking: 22
San Jose snapped an eight-game losing streak with a 6-4 win over the Arizona Coyotes Monday.It was the first win of rookie goaltender Josef Korenar’s career. Alexander Barabanov scored his first career goal in the game as well. The Sharks have the high-end talent to be competitive on a nightly basis, but the depth scoring and goaltending haven’t been there.
22. Calgary Flames (21-24-3), Last Week’s Ranking: 26
Jacob Markstrom started his ninth straight contest for the Flames on Monday. This season, only Andre Vasilevskiy and Connor Hellebuyck have seen higher usage rates than Markstrom, who has started 75% of Flames games this year. It didn’t work out, as Calgary couldn’t get anything going offensively in a 2-1 loss to Montreal.
21. Arizona Coyotes (21-23-5), Last Week’s Ranking: 21
As bad as the Coyotes have been this season, they’re one point out of a playoff spot. Losing 6-4 against the Sharks on Monday tells me this team is checked out. That’s a game they needed to win if they were serious about playoff contention. Defenseman Jacob Chychrun scored twice to extend his league lead to 16 goals on the season, and he’s one back of Phil Kessel for the team lead.
Check out who Rodney is taking in today’s NHL action with the Free Picks of the Day.
NHL Power Rankings: #20-11
20. Chicago Blackhawks (22-21-5), Last Week’s Ranking: 19
Bad news for the Blackhawks as yet another player is retiring early due to injury. Andrew Shaw is retiring at 29 years of age due to his concussion history. Shaw joins Brent Seabrook and Corey Crawford as fellow members of the Blackhawks dynasty to retire due to injuries in the last four months.
19. Philadelphia Flyers (22-19-7), Last Week’s Ranking: 18
I mentioned Detroit’s Jonathan Bernier had the second-worst GSAx in the league this season, and if you’re a Flyers fan, you probably know why – it’s because Carter Hart is the worst in the league this season. Hart’s abysmal -17.3 GSAx is made even worse when you consider he was sixth in the league in GSAx a year ago. He’s improved his play over the last few weeks, but the offseason can’t get here soon enough. I’m predicting a significant bounce-back for the 22-year-old next season.
18. St. Louis Blues (21-19-6), Last Week’s Ranking: 20
St. Louis showed remarkable resiliency with a pair of wins over the Colorado Avalanche and have climbed back into fourth in the West Division standings. Ryan O’Reilly has six points in his last two games, which is exactly the kind of leadership the Blues need going forward.
17. Montreal Canadiens (21-17-9), Last Week’s Ranking: 16
Cole Caufield finally made his long-awaited NHL debut Monday night against the Flames. He did not find the points column but did register four shots to lead the team in nearly 16 minutes of ice time. Now that he’s got a game under his belt, I expect his scoring to take off for Montreal’s playoff push.
16. Nashville Predators (27-21-2), Last Week’s Ranking: 17
Nashville is two points up on Dallas for the final playoff spot in the Central Division, but the Stars have two games in hand. Given how bad this season started, whether or not the Predators make the playoffs, there’s plenty to be proud of this season. At 3-0-1 over their last four games, Nashville will be a tough team to beat as the season carries on. Juuse Saros has started eight straight though, so his stamina may be tested down the stretch.
15 .Winnipeg Jets (27-18-3), Last Week’s Ranking: 13
Losers of four straight, the Jets are playing their worst hockey of the season at a bad time. Connor Hellebuyck needs a break, leading the league with 39 starts this season. Winnipeg will not advance in the playoffs unless Hellebuyck is well-rested and ready to go, so expect more of Laurent Brossoit as the season continues.
14. New York Rangers (25-18-6), Last Week’s Ranking: 14
Even without Jacob Trouba in the lineup, the Rangers keep shutting things down defensively and coming away with wins. Adam Fox has my vote for the Norris Trophy this season. His 41 assists are tied for fifth-most in the league with Nathan MacKinnon, but his defensive metrics are equally impressive. He’s quickly becoming one of the best all-around defensemen in the league.
13. Dallas Stars (21-15-12), Last Week’s Ranking: 15
Those pesky Stars keep hanging around. Dallas has won six of its last seven games and has points in 10 of its last 11. Rookie Jason Robertson has played his way into the Calder Trophy conversation with 14 goals and 25 assists. He leads all rookies with .91 points per game.
12. Edmonton Oilers (28-16-2), Last Week’s Ranking: 12
The Oilers entries in the NHL power rankings each week are a chance to comment on how well Connor McDavid is playing this season. McDavid recorded his third hat trick of the season Monday night, and he is on track to put up 99 points in a 56 game season. Last year, he finished with 97 points in 64 games. If you haven’t been paying attention to Edmonton this year, take a moment and appreciate the best player in the world right now. One last stat on his effectiveness: With McDavid on the ice, the Oilers are +88 in 5-on-5 scoring chances. Without McDavid, Edmonton is -183.
11. Boston Bruins (27-14-6), Last Week’s Ranking: 9
Boston is limping towards the finish line, with back-to-back losses against Buffalo and Pittsburgh on Friday and Sunday, respectively. Jeremy Swayman has played well in net, but Tuukka Rask and Jaroslav Halak will be 1A and 1B headed into the playoffs, should Boston hang on to get there. They have a relatively easy path with two more games each against the Sabres and Devils, but Boston has already shown this year those games aren’t as sure a thing as they should be.
NHL Power Rankings: The Top 10
10. Toronto Maple Leafs (30-13-5), Last Week’s Ranking: 10
The longer Frederik Andersen’s knee injury lingers, the worst I feel about Toronto’s playoff odds. While they certainly have the star power to score goals, as Auston Matthews is running away with the league lead (36 this season), I wonder about their defensive depth and ability to keep their opponents off the scoreboard.
9. Pittsburgh Penguins (32-14-3), Last Week’s Ranking: 11
Sidney Crosby is so good, his success this season has barely garnered national conversation. For the 16th time in his career, Crosby has secured averaging at least a point-per-game for the year. Only two players in history have more: Gordie Howe (17 times) and Wayne Gretzky (19 times). Any time you’re on a short list with Gretzky and Howe, you’re doing something right.
8. New York Islanders (29-14-5), Last Week’s Ranking: 7
Anthony Beauvillier had his best game of the season with a goal and three assists last Tuesday against the New York Rangers. Unfortunately, the Islanders have lost both games since then. The losses have slid the Isles to third in the East Division standings and bumps them down a spot in the NHL power rankings this week.
7. Minnesota Wild (31-13-3), Last Week’s Ranking: 8
The Wild are on a seven-game win streak, the second-longest active streak in the league, and they have a chance to chase down the Avalanche for home ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs. Kirill Kaprizov has six goals in his last five games and leads all rookies with 22 this year.
6. Florida Panthers (31-14-5), Last Week’s Ranking: 5
Spencer Knight made his NHL debut Tuesday in a 5-1 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets. He is the first goalie born in the 2000’s to appear in the NHL. The 13th overall pick in the 2019 draft, Knight had a spectacular season at Boston College, posting a 16-4-1 record with a 2.18 GAA, a .932 save percentage, and three shutouts. Florida’s goaltending pipeline has never been deeper.
5. Washington Capitals (31-13-4), Last Week’s Ranking: 6
Alex Ovechkin needs one more goal to tie Marcel Dionne for fifth place on the NHL’s all-time scoring leaderboard. He did not play Saturday against the Islanders while dealing with a lower body injury. His status for Tuesday’s game is still in question, but I’m predicting he hits the mark later this week against the rival Pittsburgh Penguins. Hockey is poetic like that.
4. Colorado Avalanche (31-10-4), Last Week’s Ranking: 1
This drop may surprise people, but Colorado is not at full strength right now. When healthy, they are one of the top teams, if not the best team, in the league. But with Philipp Grubauer, Mikko Rantanen, Brandon Saad, Bowen Byram, Joonas Donskoi, Matt Calvert, Jacob MacDonald, Logan O’Connor, and Erik Johnson all out, the Avs are not the imposing team they usually are.
3. Tampa Bay Lightning (32-14-2), Last Week’s Ranking: 2
The sooner the Lightning clinch their playoff spot, the sooner they can give Andrei Vasilevskiy a break. Since the 2017-18 season, only one goaltender has more regular season starts than Vasilevskiy: the aforementioned Connor Hellebuyck, who has 15 more starts. However, Vasilevskiy has 19 more playoff starts than Hellebuyck, so it’s safe to call him the most-utilized goaltender in the league. Rest before the playoffs is essential, as the Bolts have looked tired over the last few weeks.
2. Carolina Hurricanes (31-10-7), Last Week’s Ranking: 3
Carolina clinched their playoff spot in an overtime loss Monday night, but the amazing thing is they’re still playing this well without Teuvo Teravainen in the lineup. The Hurricanes are rolling through the Central Division with some of their best players on the injured list, including Petr Mrazek, Brady Skjei, and alternate captain Jordan Martinook.
1. Vegas Golden Knights (34-11-2), Last Week’s Ranking: 4
A nine-game winning streak has the Golden Knights on top of the league, three wins clear of everyone else. With a league-best +57 goal differential, Vegas is taking care of business at both ends of the ice. Being able to roll with both Marc-André Fleury and Robin Lehner is paying off in spades.
How do your NHL power rankings look? Do you agree with these rankings? Let me know on Twitter @HockeyVoxDB and tell me what you think. As always, thank you for reading, and I’ll see you next week!