NHL Week 22 Power Rankings: We’re in a New York State of Mind

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A new week, and a new face at the top of the rankings. The Rangers’ steady success throughout the season is culminating with consistent strong play in all facets of the game, and they really haven’t missed a beat since the troubling injury to King Henrik. We’re sold on them as threats to make it back to the Stanley Cup Finals as well. New York hockey is back in full force and I think we’re in… a New York state of mind.

 1:nyr New York Rangers (40-17-7: 87 Points)Ellipse 1 copy 31   Last Week: 2   

Along with their first appearance atop the power rankings, the Rangers goaltender Cam Talbot also makes his first appearance in “Who’s that handsome devil saying no to everyone” with a 2-0-1 record this week, a 0.99 GAA, and a .965 save percentage. Welcome to the club, Cam:

H/T: Hockey Hotties on Pinterest
H/T: Hockey Hotties on Pinterest

 2:tbl Tampa Bay Lightning (41-20-6: 88 Points)Ellipse 1 copy 35   Last Week: 7   

I’ve been skeptical about the Bolts lack of defensive structure and ability to limit goals against, but this need was actually somewhat addressed at the trade deadline. The Lightning probably won’t be the top defensive team any time soon, but the addition of 6’5″ Braydon Coburn gives them another intimidating presence on the blue line to add to Victor Hedman (6’6″ and VERY good), Andrej Sustr (6’8″. Hello?) in front of 6’6″ goalie Ben Bishop. Also worth noting, Brian Boyle is 6’7″. I would be scared to skate against some of those guys.

 3:mon Montreal Canadiens (42-18-6: 90 Points)Ellipse 1 copy 3 #22   Last Week: 1   

This is unfortunate, but the 1-2-1 week is probably just a minor slip-up for this team, a function of the treacherous California swing (0-2-1), before finally a respite against the crappy Coyotes. Carey Price is my hero…

4:stl St. Louis Blues (41-19-5: 87 Points)Ellipse 1 copy 3 #1     Last Week: 4   

The key to healing a slumping offense is playing against the Maple Leafs. A clinical 6-1 rout that included this beauty.

 5:ana Anaheim Ducks (42-18-7: 91 Points)Ellipse 1 copy 31   Last Week: 6   

Did you know that the Ducks are back in the lead for the President’s trophy? It didn’t seem like long ago they were completely out of the President’s trophy race with Frederik Andersen’s injury and the Bryzaster but are right back on top thanks to Nashville’s concerning slump.

 6:nsh Nashville Predators (41-19-7: 89 Points)Ellipse 1 copy 3 #23   Last Week: 3   

The Preds have quietly lost six straight games in regulation and are about to embark on the dangerous California trip. There’s a chance this starts to slip away a bit from the Predators. Hopefully all the good work up to this point doesn’t end up wasted.

 7:det Detroit Red Wings (36-17-11: 83 Points)     Ellipse 1 copy 3 #22   Last Week: 5   

Everything about the Red Wings right now turns me off because of the idea that the Wings will still look to deal for Captain Dion in the offseason. I wonder if they’ve ever seen him play a full 60 minutes or if they’re just rolling off of when he was actually decent (with the Flames) or just this:

 8:nyi New York Islanders (42-21-4: 88 Points)Ellipse 1 copy 3 #1     Last Week: 8   

The second contributor to our current New York state of mind, the Isles are finding ways to keep accumulating points towards the Metropolitan division title. It’s especially exciting given that the Islanders finished last in the Metropolitan last season (79 points).

 9:was Washington Capitals (36-21-10: 82 Points)Ellipse 1 copy 3 #1     Last Week: 9   

The Capitals poured on 45 shots and six goals on the helpless Sabres on, their most lopsided victory of the season on Saturday night. Important points of note here: Nicklas Backstrom moved into a tie for most assists in franchise history with 418, with Alex Ovechkin trailing him by just one in that department. Ovechkin also trails franchise leader Peter Bondra (472 goals) by six.

10: chiChicago Blackhawks (39-21-6: 84 Points)     Ellipse 1 copy 3 #1     Last Week: 10

I asked my friend for his opinion on the Blackhawks recently. He responded with “best team ever”. There you have it folks. He’s to blame for this lack of analysis. At least he still believes:

H/T: @TheSzar on Twitter
H/T: @TheSzar on Twitter

11:pit Pittsburgh Penguins (38-18-9: 85 Points) Ellipse 1 copy 3 #1     Last Week: 11

When you think of the Pittsburgh Penguins, usually the first thing that comes to mind is the offensive prowess of Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, and Kris Letang. Contrary to that, however, the Penguins are actually morphing into an elite defensive team as well. They have allowed 21 goals at even strength since the start of February (16 games), the second best mark in the league. Normally low scoring games against the Kings end in favor of the gritty Kings, but the Penguins flashed grit of their own in a 1-0 overtime win in Los Angeles.

12:min Minnesota Wild (36-23-7: 78 Points)Ellipse 1 copy 31   Last Week: 13

Sometimes when things are going right, you don’t even need to hold onto your stick the whole time to find the back of the net.

13:lak Los Angeles Kings (31-21-13: 75 Points)Ellipse 1 copy 32   Last Week: 15

It really was wrong to doubt the Kings, who have come back strong and look poised to make yet another strong playoff push. Not entirely related, but I thought Mike Richards futility in the AHL was interesting to note. I’m not exactly sure what’s wrong with him, given that he’s just 30 and was one of the top forwards for four or five years on a very good Philadelphia Flyers team in addition to being on Team Canada at the 2010 Olympic Games in Vancouver.

 14:cal Calgary Flames (36-25-5: 77 Points)Ellipse 1 copy 32   Last Week: 16

The Flames have shocked the NHL all season by sustaining what seems like unsustainable production from their roster. A prime example once again this week in a 3-0-1 week, where Jiri Hudler led all skaters in scoring with eight points in their four games. Hudler is on pace for by far his best NHL season at the age of 31 and the Flames look to be postseason-bound.

15:van Vancouver Canucks (37-24-4: 78 Points)Ellipse 1 copy 3 #23   Last Week: 12

For the first time in many years, getting routed by the Sharks is an unexpected and poor result. Also, losing to the Coyotes is generally not allowed. In other news:

16:bos Boston Bruins (33-22-10: 76 Points)Ellipse 1 copy 31   Last Week: 17

Brad Marchand is the definition of a pest, and his work against the Flyers might go a long way down the stretch given the aggressive pursuit for the coveted final playoff spot by the Panthers, Flyers, and now the Senators.

17:wpg Winnipeg Jets (33-21-12: 78 Points)Ellipse 1 copy 3 #23   Last Week: 14

Injuries are a part of the sport, but the crippling losses of both Dustin Byfuglien and Bryan Little will be difficult to overcome for a team with visits to St. Louis, Miami, and Tampa upcoming.

18:ott Ottawa Senators (30-23-11: 71 Points)Ellipse 1 copy 31   Last Week: 19

Andrew Hammond, the “Hamburglar” (Terrible name. I don’t condone this.) is the talk of the NHL right now, with a 7-0-1 record in the NHL, and the Senators are streaking towards a very unprecedented playoff berth. Erik Karlsson and this photographer’s awkward finger approve.

H/T: senators.nhl.com
H/T: senators.nhl.com

19:col Colorado Avalanche (30-25-11: 71 Points)     Ellipse 1 copy 31   Last Week: 20

Semyon Varlamov was the snub of the week in”Who’s that handsome devil saying no to everyone” after posting a perfect week and a 0.69 GAA. Unfortunately, overall team success swayed the committee in the direction of Cam Talbot. Also, this is a shame.

20:fla Florida Panthers (29-23-14: 72 Points)Ellipse 1 copy 3 #21   Last Week: 19

Recent news in Panthers hockey: The team struggled in their most recent outing, a 4-2 loss, and are now officially eliminated from championship contention. We’d like to thank everyone for their support this season and the boys bid you farewell and look forward to your support next season.

ourada_family4303o_fallon_vs_belleville_playoff
H/T: www.ofallonhockey.com

… Oh shit… wrong team entirely. Let’s start over.

The FLORIDA Panthers are still very much in contention, with season-defining games upcoming in the next couple weeks (two against Montreal, a visit to Madison Square Garden and Tampa Bay, and home tilts against Detroit and Boston.)

21:sjs San Jose Sharks (32-26-8: 72 Points)Ellipse 1 copy 3 #1     Last Week: 21

Week three of the “Shark Watch”: Still pissing their way out of playoffs. Almost accidentally had a great week but rallied to maintain mediocrity.

22: dalDallas Stars (29-27-10: 68 Points)Ellipse 1 copy 31   Last Week: 23

He’s backkkkkkkk!

23:phi Philadelphia Flyers (28-26-13: 69 Points)Ellipse 1 copy 3 #21   Last Week: 22

I think it’s almost safe to return to the #freeclaude bandwagon. They got routed by New Jersey but also rallied to beat the Blues. We’re confused.

24:njd New Jersey Devils (28-28-10: 66 Points)Ellipse 1 copy 31   Last Week: 25

This might be the highlight of the Devils season.

25:car Carolina Hurricanes (25-32-7: 57 Points)Ellipse 1 copy 3 #21   Last Week: 24

Who said bad hockey can’t be good! There’s a saying in fantasy hockey circles that when two bad teams are facing each other you never trust either goalie. The 7-4 win over Edmonton was a prime example.

26:tor Toronto Maple Leafs (26-35-5: 57 Points)Ellipse 1 copy 3 #1     Last Week: 26

These Toronto Maple Leafs fans have apparently gotten their dream wedding. Their dream is to get married at the Air Canada Centre. That’s all well and good, but I think most other Maple Leafs fans just dream of playoff hockey.

27:cls Columbus Blue Jackets (27-34-4: 58 Points)     Ellipse 1 copy 31   Last Week: 28

The Jackets traded away Nathan Horton to at least get a body in the lineup for that high cap hit. As a budget team, the Jackets need as much bang for their buck as they can get, so losing David Clarkson puts them right back where they started.

28:edm Edmonton Oilers (18-37-11: 47 Points)Ellipse 1 copy 3 #21   Last Week: 27

 

There is a dream. I’m sold. #wewillrise

29:buf Buffalo Sabres (19-42-5: 43 Points)Ellipse 1 copy 3 #1     Last Week: 29

The sad reality is that the Sabres are the first team officially eliminated from playoff contention and should probably return to their post as the lowest ranked team in our power rankings, but the controversial rush of having them out of last place is too much to pass up.

30:arz Arizona Coyotes (21-38-7: 49 Points)Ellipse 1 copy 3 #1     Last Week: 30

This team is not cute, especially without Keith Yandle’s offensive skill. Baby coyotes, though, are quite cute.

H/T: armedwithvisions.com
H/T: armedwithvisions.com

 

Featured Image: espn.go.com

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Souriyo is a recent graduate of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, an aspiring writer with a passion for just about every sport ever played. He's a tears-level fan of the San Jose Sharks, but follows the NBA, NFL, MLB, tennis, and college sports, in addition to the NHL. He is determined to continue contributing to sports coverage until he usurps Bill Simmons at Grantland as the new Sports Guy (RIP Grantland Bill 2007-2015)

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