Not a whole lot of change this week at the top, which is a bit surprising considering how good some of the top five teams are playing lately. I'm certain that these rankings are going to ruffle the feathers of a couple of fanbases, but it's important to remember that these rankings are not just indicators of the past week of play, but the overall ranking of a where a team stands at this point in the season.
Think of this as a transition week, as it's certain that there will be a shakeup next week if the current pattern of play continues.
Disclaimer: Voting performed by SB Nation hockey bloggers.
The Power 16
1. Chicago Blackhawks: 31-11-4 overall, 1-1-1 last week
Last week: No. 1
SBN Blog: Second City Hockey
The reigning No.1 ranked team in the NHL built a five-game winning streak before losing two straight over the weekend. It was a surprising two games for a team that was rolling along, especially when the goaltending that had been so good fell apart to allow five goals in Minnesota. Coincidentally, the Blackhawks have fallen behind another team on our list in both wins and points percentage. But we'll get to that in a bit.
2. San Jose Sharks: 30-10-7 overall, 3-1-0 last week.
Last week: No. 2
SBN Blog: Fear The Fin
The Sharks remain steady and just keep rolling along, 8-2-0 in their last ten and are building an increasing lead in the Pacific Division. Yet there is some concern brewing about this team's chances, once again, for longevity in the playoffs. The concern comes from the Sharks' lack of secondary scoring, with their top two goal scorers accounting for nearly 40% of the team's offense:
In order for the Sharks to be successful, Setoguchi, Clowe, and Pavelski need to get the engines going. Big time. Although they have looked better lately, it's essential they convert that energy into tangible scoring results. Breaking up HTML will help that considerably. And yes, as I've asserted for nearly a year now, I don't think Staubitz and Shelley are a better fit for this team compared to other options, this year's being Frazer McLaren.
3. New Jersey Devils: 32-11-1 overall, 2-1-0 last week
Last week: No. 3
SBN Blog: In Lou We trust
The Devils can't get no respect. To be fair to the voters for this week's rankings, most votes had been counted before Tuesday night's save-o-rama against the New York Rangers. If this team is still the tops in the league in overall wins and points percentage next week, I'm willing to bet they'd be higher. For now let's just admire what was one of the most entertaining games from the last few years:
4. Washington Capitals: 28-12-6 overall, 3-1-0 last week
Last week: No. 4
SBN Blog Japers' Rink
Defenseman Jeff Shultz currently leads the NHL in +/-, with a plus-26. That's impressive. What's even more impressive is that he has just 13 points this season. There are only two other players in the top 30 in the NHL in +/- that have less points than their actual rating; they both play for Vancouver coincidentally. I guess it plays to play most minutes with Ovechkin (2nd in the NHL in +/-).
5. Buffalo Sabres: 28-11-5 overall, 2-0-1 last week.
Last week: No. 5
SBN Blog: Die By the Blade
The Sabres were riding a nice six-game winning streak before falling victim to a shootout loss against Colorado on Saturday night. How disappointing. Like many other of the top tams the NHL, this is the time where we start to look for the chinks in their armor and try to determine their staying power for when the playoffs finally come. Buffalo should be worried about it's power play.
6. Calgary Flames: 26-15-6 overall, 1-3-1 last week
Last week: No. 6
SBN Blog: Matchsticks And Gasoline
Not a great week for the Flames, as they need the shootout to get their one win in their last five games. Want to hear something funny to cheer up the down and out Flames fan? Calgary has lost four straight to Colorado, and all have been with a score of 3-2. See? Funny.
7. Vancouver Canucks: 27-18-2 overall, 1-2-1 last week
Last week: No. 11
SBN Blog: Nucks Misconduct
I thought this picture was very.....apropos.
8. Colorado Avalanche: 26-15-6 overall, 2-2-0 last week
Last week: No. 7
SBN Blog: Mile High Hockey
The Avs are another team that's had a rough week, needing to go to the shootout to get two wins. Craig Anderson continues to be the horse this team is riding, who put up 44 saves in their win over Colorado:
9. Phoenix Coyotes: 26-16-5 overall, 0-2-1 last week
Last week: No. 8
SBN Blog: Five For Howling
Ok, I get it. The Coyotes are the feel-good story of the season so far. Dave Tippett is in the running for the Jack Adams. But the Coyotoes have not won a game in regulation since December 26 (even the Stars have won since then!) and are 2-3-3 in their last eight games. The goaltending, which has been so steady all season long, has declined recently as Phoenix has allowed an average of 3.75 goals per game in January. Let's get it together, boys.
10. Pittsburgh Penguins: 29-18-1, 2-2-0 last week
Last week: No. 10
SBN Blog: Pensburgh
We all know it's a conspiracy. The NHL wants it's golden boy and his Penguins to win because it looks good for the league. How else can you explain the bad calls in the Finals last year? Hell, even the television networks are in on it:
Here's the video:
What's funny is that Flyers fans didn't really care anyway.
11. Nashville Predators: 28-16-3 overall, 3-1-0 last week
Last week: No. 9
SBN Blog: On The Forecheck
So let me get this straight. Vancouver has a horrible week, yet moves up four spots. Nashville goes on a tear, and falls in the standings. I'm going to guess Preds fans won't be happy with this one. In the meantime, OTF ponders whether the team is in need of a trade:
The Nashville Predators, fighting for a playoff spot in the ultra competitive Western Conference, could be one lineup piece short of a potential postseason run. Usually considered to be set on the top line and on David Legwand's highly effective shutdown line, the Predators could be in the market for a secondary scoring center to boost depth and the power play, as Dirk elaborated on in his great piece on Marcel Goc.
12. Detroit Red Wings: 23-16-6 overall, 2-1-0 last week
Last week: No. 14
SBN Blog: Winging It In Motown
You know things aren't going well in Detroit when it's postulated that the Eurotwins be split up.
13. Los Angeles Kings: 25-18-3 overall, 0-3-0 last week
Last week: No 12
SBN Blog: Battle Of California
Even Anze Kopitar can't save them right now. The Kings might be moving into "pretenders" territory, after starting off the season so, so strong. There was even a point where Los Angeles held the top spot in the Western Conference (for about a day). Now they've fallen to the 8th spot and are in danger of being overtaken by Detroit and Minnesota. Guess that's what a 3-7-0 run will do for ya.
14. Boston Bruins: 22-16-7 overall, 0-3-0 last week.
Last week: No. 13
SBN Blog: Stanley Cup of Chowder
Ever since that big win on New Year's Day, the Bruins are 1-4-0 and sliding. And they didn't look all that great at Fenway either. The teams are starting to bunch up in the Eastern Conference, as just five points separate 5th place Boston and 12th place Tampa Bay. The Bruins make one of their rare trips out of their own time zone this week to take on a couple of California teams; this could be a critical stretch of must-win games.
15. New York Rangers: 22-17-7 overall, 1-0-2 last week
Last week: Not ranked
SBN Blog: Blueshirt Banter
Two shutout losses sandwiched around a nice win over floundering Boston. Here's what's pretty damn funny though: ever since his career high four-point night against Dallas, Sean Avery has no points, seven shots and just two penalty minutes. So much for that big spark, huh?
16. Philadelphia Flyers: 23-19-3 overall, 3-0-0 last week
Last week: Not ranked
SBN Blog: Broad Street Hockey
While the win at Fenway sent the bruins into a funk, the loss in the Winter Classic has revitalized the Flyers. They are averaging 5.75 goals a game in four straight wins. Could this be another instance of a midseason coaching change propelling an underachieving team into the playoffs?