NHL Top 10 Power Rankings Week 3
10. Carolina Hurricanes
Carolina went to San Jose but had no answer for Evander Kane as he scored three, all of them in the opening period Wednesday, and the Hurricanes could not recover from that. The bright spot was they got end products from Dougie Hamilton and Erik Haula, but it was a special night for the Sharks. The adversity continued in Anaheim as the Ducks followed the same script as their Northern California rivals. Carolina’s opposition put four past Petr Mrazek meaning that James Reimer got a half-hour’s worth of ice time, stopping all seven shots in relief. Again, Haula provided some silver lining in solving Ryan Miller to prevent a shutout. Carolina has work to do, and they have a good Columbus Blue Jackers side awaiting them Thursday. I still think the Hurricanes are one of my NHL top ten and will have more to say after a rough week.
9. Buffalo Sabres
The professional football team in Buffalo is not the only sports team in town off to a good start. The Sabres did get humbled in Anaheim Wednesday but did get a split in Southern California by taking down the Kings 5-2 the following night. Zemgus Girgensons netted the game-winner in San Jose in a back and forth game, scoring the game’s seventh goal. After their west coast trip, they get a well-deserved rest before returning to the NHL ice Thursday against the New York Rangers. The Sabres have fifteen points through nine games.
8. Toronto Maple Leafs
Toronto lost by the odd goal in seven in Washington. Michael Hutchinson had an eight-minute span to forget as four goals went past him. The twenty-nine-year-old John Tavares got ahold of his third tally, but the Leafs could not make it three wins on the trot. The team in blue attire got back to work, facing-off against their fierce Eastern Conference rivals from Boston. The Maple Leafs kept answering the bell when the opposition kept pegging back. The 150th pick in 2012 Alexander Kerfoot was able to step up in the third period. Morgan Rielly made his presence known, scoring twice, including the decider with almost four minutes elapsed in the extra session.
Toronto could not string back to back victories, but certainly not for a lack of trying against the Columbus Blue Jackets. After Riley Nash and Pierre-Luc Dubois put the visitors in front, the Maple Leafs tied the game by the end of the first period thanks to Kasperi Kapanen and Auston Matthews. William Nylander gave the Ontario-based side the lead, but Fredrik Andersen gave up goals to Alexander Wennberg and Gustav Nyquist. Toronto is a fun side, but they play in a lot of high-scoring games, so they have to learn to stop the other side.
7. Edmonton Oilers
Edmonton fired six goals past the Philadelphia Flyers despite generating twenty-two shots. It did not mean that Mike Koskinen wasn’t busy. He saved forty-nine shots in the Oilers 6-3 victory. Connor McDavid struck his fifth goal of the campaign to help his side take control. Friday’s game was won the more conventional way. James Neal tickled the twine for a ninth time in the young season as part of a 2-1 win against the Original Six member Detroit Red Wings. The Oilers did scratch a point in Winnipeg, but Connor Hellebuyck was just a little better on the night than Mike Smith in the shootout. Kyle Connor and Patrik Laine found passage against the netminder who was drafted by Dallas in 2001.
6. Colorado Avalanche
The Avalanche could not pick up the full two points in Pittsburgh Wednesday, but a point is better than the alternative against an experienced side. They played another game that went past sixty minutes forty-eight hours later. This time, they got the desired outcome in Sunrise, Florida, showing great character after falling two goals behind. Andre Burkakovsky had a goal along with an assist for Nathan MacKinnon’s game-winning goal with less than two minutes left in the overtime session. They did not lose a beat Saturday, trouncing the Tampa Bay Lightning for six goals inside Amalie Arena thanks to Tyson Jost’s hat trick. They had a setback in Saint Louis but will have had a few rest days prior to playing the Vegas Golden Knights.
5. Pittsburgh Penguins
The Penguins are rounding into form. Their goal difference was enhanced by their two lopsided wins, but on Wednesday, they beat Colorado in overtime, one of the best teams in the West on national television. Kris Letang had a pair of goals against Dallas Friday night. In their third game in four days, they got outhit and the power play was not very good as they were shutout by their former goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury. They get set to start a road trip with the Florida swing as the NHL season’s fourth week is set to commence.
4. Saint Louis Blues
Vladimir Tarasenko was fantastic in Saint Louis’s 3-1 victory over the Colorado Avalanche Monday. He scored his third goal of the season and helped set up the other two. It took some of the stench away from their losses against Vancouver and Montreal. They remain at home before returning to the scene of their NHL Stanley Cup victory Saturday against the Bruins. They have a quick turnaround in Detroit following that to complete a two-game road trip.
3. Anaheim Ducks
Anaheim’s Adam Henrique put two by the paraphernalia of Linus Ullmark in their 5-2 decision against the Buffalo Sabres. He then added goal number five in the first period at the expense of the Carolina Hurricanes. Rickard Rakell also was racking up points in both of those games. Ryan Miller was not asked to do too much, stopping twenty-two Carolina attempts on net.
The good news Sunday was that Jakob Silfverberg struck his fifth goal, but the bad news was that John Gibson gave up a slap shot to Michael Stone and a snap attempt to Mikael Backlund, the latter of which occurred towards the midway point of the third period. The Ducks lost to the Calgary Flames 2-1. After dusting themselves off in a lopsided defeat in Nashville, they look to get a win in Dallas against a Stars side that is trying to find their way after a poor start to the season. I think Anaheim will win the NHL Pacific Division this year.
2. Boston Bruins
Wednesday, Boston lost a hard-fought game at home to a Tampa Bay team. David Pastrnak did his part to make sure the game went past regulation time. He was not able to score in the shootout, and the goal came off the stick of Steven Stamkos to separate the sides. The Bruins pushed the following game past an hour only to be undone by Morgan Rielly’s wrist shot in Toronto, but they got another chance to face them.
They exacted revenge on them in Massachusetts four goals to two. Pastrnak got his side on the board with a power-play goal. Brad Marchand canceled out Kasperi Kapanen’s response. Tuukka Rask stopped twenty-eight of thirty Maple Leaf shots on goal. The B’s were sixty percent on the face-offs and they doubled their opponents in the hit department. They get their chance to get back at the Blues in a few days in the Cup Final re-match.
1. Washington Capitals
Washington enters Tuesday riding a three-game win streak. They beat one of their bitter rivals in the New York Rangers by pulling away in the third period thanks to T.J. Oshie on the power play. Michal Kempny and Nick Dowd scored their maiden goals of the 2019-20 NHL Season. Braden Holtby was put to the test, stopping forty-one shots in Chicago. The superstars showed up in this one as Alex Ovechkin and Oshie found the scoresheet. Despite all that, the Blackhawks found parity through Patrick Kane’s third of the year. Right winger Tom Wilson put the Caps ahead for good inside eight minutes left in regulation by beating Corey Crawford Sunday. Washington is in the midst of making the rounds through Canada.
How do you see the power in the top 10 of the NHL? Leave a comment below.
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Works cited: NBC Sports and NHL YouTube video channel, NHL app