Hey everyone, we here at Yahoo! Sports are doing real power rankings for teams Nos. 1-31. Here they are, based on only how I am feeling about these teams and their chances to win the Cup, meaning you can’t tell me I’m wrong because these are my feelings and feelings can’t be wrong. Please enjoy the Power Feelings.
31. Detroit Red Wings (Last week: 31)
Things are grim. After snapping a 12-game losing streak, they won two in a row, but have now lost four straight again. They’re on Christmas break now.
Before 2020 starts, they’re at Florida and Tampa on back-to-back nights then host San Jose on New Year’s Eve. They have nine wins and I honestly wonder if they can get to double digits before the calendar flips. I know the Sharks are in a bad place and seem to only be getting worse, but man, these Wings are on pace for 45 points.
30. New Jersey Devils (LW: 29)
Incredible that Cory Schneider is an AHLer right now and Mackenzie Blackwood was earlier and the big club is using Louis Domingue and something called Gilles Senn at the NHL level. The coach had to go, but uh… yikes.
29. Ottawa Senators (LW: 28)
28. Los Angeles Kings (LW: 27)
I’ve seen a bit of talk about “The Kings look like they’re improving.” It’s true enough insofar as they have one regulation loss since Dec. 10 (4-1-2), but at some point you gotta buy it with the roster. I look at it, and just can’t buy it with this group. Especially because the sell-off is gonna come within the next several weeks.
27. Columbus Blue Jackets (LW: 30)
26. Anaheim Ducks (LW: 24)
Tough to think of two weirder back-to-back results than squeaking out a high-scoring shootout win on the road against the Islanders then not even getting off the bus against the Rangers the next night.
25. New York Rangers (LW: 26)
That win over Anaheim snapped a three-game losing streak in which they gave up three, five, and six goals on 42, 24, and 40 shots. You wonder what this team could look like with consistent outfield play, but it seems like they’re not gonna get it for too long at any given stretch. Coaching? Roster? Both? You figure it out.
24. Buffalo Sabres (LW: 23)
Hard not to notice how awful this team is on the road. They ended last week 6-10-4 away, 11-3-3 in Buffalo. They don’t have a regulation win in a road game since Nov. 24. The fact they’re ninth in the East with these numbers says more about the East than them.
23. Edmonton Oilers (LW: 22)
One of only two teams in the league to be holding a playoff spot despite a negative goal difference. And honestly, they’re holding on real tight. The other team? Their provincial auld enemy Calgary Flames, one point behind them with a game in hand.
And now I’ll give you two guesses which team made a big change recently that’s resulted in a run of strong play.
22. Chicago (LW: 25)
I loved Stan Bowman’s interview with The Athletic last week where he just said “consistency” over and over again. I think it was a glitch or something. It’s the old thing of “when pucks are going in, it’s because we’re playing well, and when they’re not, it’s because we’re not playing well.” Can you imagine how bad this team would be if Lehner hadn’t dropped into Bowman’s lap and/or Crawford didn’t have a bounce-back year? Woof.
21. Montreal Canadiens (LW: 21)
20. San Jose Sharks (LW: 14)
Something has to change, like, tomorrow. Well, maybe not tomorrow because that’s Christmas, but certainly before New Year’s. I know they fired the coach already, but since they brought Boughner aboard, they have one win in five games, all of them at home.
And they’re not just losing, they’re losing spectacularly. A team this talented shouldn’t have a minus-33 goal difference on a minus-42 shot difference. It shouldn’t have a negative shot difference at all, but even if it does, 79 percent of that negative shot difference shouldn’t be going in the back of the net.
19. Vancouver Canucks (LW: 19)
The Canucks are the only team the Sharks beat since the coaching change by the way.
18. Minnesota Wild (LW: 17)
Reality has once again returned for the Wild, who are 1-3-0 in the last four. Previous to that, they went 10-4-1 to get back into the playoff convo, and now they’re out here getting clowned by goaltending again. They’d have lost that game at Arizona, too, except they scored eight goals to win 8-5.
Much like the Sharks, you gotta ask where this team could be if they didn’t have two way-below-average goalies.
17. Philadelphia Flyers (LW: 20)
Two home games against Anaheim and Buffalo then a trip to Ottawa really is a cure for what ails ya. Can’t really figure this team out except to say they seem to be really good at beating bad teams, which is a valuable skill, but they’re a mixed bag at best against even reasonably good ones.
16. Arizona Coyotes (LW: 16)
This team is 4-4-0 in the last eight, 6-5-1 in the last 12, and 8-6-2 in the last 16. They’ve settled into a nice groove of being very slightly better than .500 in December and you do have to respect that.
15. Dallas Stars (LW: 11)
Okay so is giving up 15 goals in your last three games good, or…?
14. Florida Panthers (LW: 18)
Let’s not all look at the same time, because we don’t want to scare him, but Bobrovsky’s up to .902 for the season because he went .943 in December. If he can get back to being his old self — adjustment period, new team, new coaches, whatever — for the long haul, look out for these guys, man.
13. Winnipeg Jets (LW: 13)
If you score 17 goals in four games, you probably expect to come out a little better than 2-2-0. But that’s the thing with having this D corps, I guess. Given the roster so far this year, they have to be more than thrilled to be third in that division.
12. Nashville Predators (LW: 15)
The problem with that division is that if Nashville powers up — which it seems to be doing now, despite being ninth in the West — things get real tough real fast. Especially if you’re Dallas.
11. Calgary Flames (LW: 12)
They’re 7-2-1 under Geoff Ward but certainly living on narrow margins (and getting badly outshot). How much of this is talent figuring it out and how much is just smoke and mirrors? I dunno yet, but I could see things going either way in the new year.
10. Tampa Bay Lightning (LW: 8)
Like I said last week, they gotta figure it out ASAP. Like, 2020 starts and they need to play at a 110-point pace just to be in the conversation. They’re 5-4-1 in December after a 6-5-1 November and 6-4-2 in October. That wouldn’t be particularly good for, say, Philly, let alone a team that put up 195 points or whatever last season.
9. Pittsburgh Penguins (LW: 10)
8. Vegas Golden Knights (LW: 9)
Dating back to Nov. 27, they’re 9-2-2. If they get actual goaltending from the backups, the sky is the limit for this group, man.
7. Carolina Hurricanes (LW: 7)
Hey look, everyone loses to Florida these days. Before that loss, in which they outshot the Panthers 44-22, they were 6-0-1. They stay stationary more because of the teams around them than their own performance. I think this is a swell team. Just swell.
6. Colorado Avalanche (LW: 2)
I think the only argument you can make for losing to Chicago 5-3 at home is that they’ve played them four times in less than a month and it’s really hard to beat a team four times in a row.
Still, that 1-3-0 record in the last week is: Bad.
5. New York Islanders (LW: 6)
4. Toronto Maple Leafs (LW: 5)
Let’s just say it’s a good thing yesterday’s game doesn’t count in these rankings.
3. Boston Bruins (LW: 4)
2. St. Louis Blues (LW: 3)
Winning five in a row is a great way to snap a three-game losing streak that snapped a four-game winning streak. In the end you’re 9-3-0 since late November and that’s good to be.
1. Washington Capitals (LW: 1)
These guys haven’t lost two regular-season games in a row in regulation since… Jan. 18 and 20 last season? They’re 47-16-8 since then. It’s a pace for 118 points.
So I have to ask: What da?
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