NHL Top 10 Power Rankings for Week 6
NHL Top 10 Power Rankings
10. Arizona Coyotes
Conor Garland of the Coyotes tickled the cage for the fifth time assisted by the veteran Phil Kessel, but it went for naught in a loss against a hot New York Islanders team. Arizona steered the ship in the right direction after falling two behind New Jersey. Nick Schmaltz scored a late first-period goal to halve the deficit, then Michael Grabner put the visitors level. After conceding a goal to Pavel Zacha, the long-time Coyote stepped up in a big spot. Oliver Ekman-Larsson tied the game just past the midway point of regulation. Barrett Hayton had the most important shot of the game on a tip-in not two minutes into the third period. Arizona won 5-3 to get a split of the back-to-back games.
They continued their NHL Eastern Conference swing by getting a well-deserved shootout win after outshooting Buffalo by eighteen after trailing by two. Schmaltz netted the goal to separate the sides and Darcy Kuemper stopped Casey Mittelstadt to complete the victory. They return home to face the Habs Wednesday, then the Avalanche in a few days before visits to the Oilers and Flames.
9. New York Islanders
The Islanders are right on the heels of NHL Metropolitan Division-leading Washington, just three points back with two games in hand going into play Tuesday night. They beat the Arizona Coyotes in a game that had a combined shot total of forty-seven. Anders Lee has the game-winning goal eight minutes into the third which gave New York a two-goal lead, a game they went on to win 4-2. Then in their next game, they had four goals without replay thanks to Nick Leddy’s double, one of which was an unassisted power-play via the wrist shot. They ran and hid in the second period on the second goal of the year by both Matt Martin and Derick Brassard in a comfortable 4-2 result Friday.
Lee was back on the scoresheet against the Philadelphia Flyers, as Johnny Boychuk collected his fifth assist in October. Speaking of goals being set up, Brock Nelson picked up his sixth assist which was put in by Brassard which gave his team the lead for good. The Islanders last tasted defeat on the 11th against Carolina. They are back in Uniondale in action Friday versus the Tampa Bay Lightning, then visit western New York against the Sabres one night later. The Islanders have won eight out of their first eleven.
8. Carolina Hurricanes
Carolina had a back and forth game with the Columbus Blue Jackets before succumbing to Cam Atkinson’s third goal of the season Thursday. Dougie Hamilton did get his sixth tally of the season in the first period, so he has had a good start to his campaign. The defenseman didn’t score in more than twenty-one minutes of on-ice time Saturday, but he didn’t need to. Andrei Svechnikov and Jordan Staal helped increased their power-play efficiency, as they shutout Chicago by four. After a hard-fought game in Raleigh against Calgary, the Hurricanes welcome the Red Wings into town Friday, then New Jersey on the back half of games on consecutive nights before a Tuesday night puck drop in Philadelphia.
7. Saint Louis Blues
About seventy-two hours after beating Colorado, Saint Louis was back in game action, putting up a great showing on the power play from three different goal scorers in each period. Vince Dunn, Alex Pietrangelo, and Brayden Schenn were the protagonists as part of a 5-2 victory by the Mississippi River. They had Boston waiting for them Saturday and were shutout. They did show character after letting go of a 3-1 lead in Detroit Sunday. Ryan O’Reilly scored his second goal of the game. It pulled the Blues even at four on a wrist shot on the man advantage with just over four minutes left. It didn’t take ninety seconds of overtime for Saint Louis to take the second point, thanks to the twenty-sixth pick of the 2007 draft David Perron.
The Blues are on the national television spotlight Wednesday when they host the Minnesota Wild before the two play it back in the Twin Cities Saturday. Sandwiched between those two NHL Central Division fixtures will be the Columbus Blue Jackets on Friday night. Saint Louis will make the long flight to Vancouver on Tuesday. They do need to get their goal difference back up as they are -2 after twelve games.
6. Buffalo Sabres
Buffalo took one on the chin against the New York Rangers, they shutout the Red Wings on the road behind forty-one saves by twenty-six-year-old Linus Ullmark, which included twenty-one in the final frame. Center Sam Reinhart and Jake McCabe were able to provide goal support for the goalie in his sixth season, all with the Sabres. They looked to be in good shape against Arizona building a 2-0 lead thanks to Jack Eichel and Jeff Skinner, but Carter Hutton let goals in the late minutes of the first and second periods to Conor Garland and Carl Soderberg.
Nonetheless, Hutton was still very active, stopping forty-two Coyotes shots on net. It took a shootout to decide the game, and Nick Schmaltz gave Arizona the lone goal in the one-on-one skill competition. The Sabres get to dust themselves off and try to see how they do in Washington, D.C. against the Capitals Friday on the front end of a back-to-back. The Islanders, another team that has started out well will be at KeyBank Center in Buffalo.
5. Nashville Predators
Nashville has nineteen points after beating Chicago. The Predators came off a high after a comeback victory in Tampa this past Saturday. Trailing two to one with just over five minutes left, a snapshot by Roman Josi on the power play got past Lightning goaltender Curtis McElhinney. It set the stage for Ryan Ellis to be the hero in the extra five minutes which was set up by Josi’s eighth assist of the young season. They will spend a lot of time at Bridgestone Arena before their next away game is in Detroit. There are opportunities for the Predators to keep good form with Calgary and the New York Rangers in town after playing Chicago Tuesday.
4. Colorado Avalanche
Friday, Colorado took complete control in Nevada, boat racing the Golden Knights to the time of 6-1. Nazem Kadri, the twenty-nine-year-old scored goals four and five to propel the Avalanche to victory. Philipp Grubauer only had to face twenty-six shots, so the defense did the work they need to do. They came back to home ice the following night against the Anaheim Ducks. Colorado was put behind the eight-ball with goals from Adam Henrique and Carter Rowney inside the first twelve minutes of the game. Grubauer did not play in goal for this one, but Nathan MacKinnon did get on the board for goal number six. The Panthers and Stars visit Denver in the next few days before their second matchup versus the Coyotes Saturday. This will be their first meeting in Arizona this season.
3. Edmonton Oilers
The Oilers showed great fight against the Capitals thanks to Leon Draisaitl who scored twice including the odd goal in seven. Edmonton out-shot the opposition in each period including the overtime period’s only shot Thursday. They did get humbled against a good Florida side with head coach Joel Quenneville creating a winning culture. James Neal and Draisaitl did get consolation goals in that game Sunday. They out-shot the Red Wings away from home in a 3-1 loss. They have hit a rough patch no doubt, and they will try to atone on Wednesday against the Columbus Blue Jackets. Pittsburgh waits in the wings early Saturday afternoon before they take on the Coyotes. I think Edmonton is a strong side, and this is a stretch to find out if their start was real or not.
2. Boston Bruins
The Bruins were able to win their Stanley Cup rematch Saturday night, shutting out the Saint Louis Blues as David Pastrnak struck first for his eleventh goal. Anders Bjork and defenseman Brandon Carlo each made the twine move behind Jordan Binnington in front of their own fans. They came up with another strong showing after a slow start at Madison Square Garden. Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand found the net in a game where Boston put four in the middle frame past Henrik Lundqvist. After a convincing win over the San Jose Sharks Tuesday, the Bruins welcome Ottawa Saturday. This comes before a fascinating matchup against the Pittsburgh Penguins Monday. Next, they have a quick turnaround north of the border against a fierce NHL Original Six rival Montreal.
1. Washington Capitals
Last Tuesday, the Capitals were outshot 35-30 in Calgary but got a nice road victory. Alex Ovechkin did not score the game-winner but kept adding to his goal-scoring tally. Tom Wilson assured Washington of the two points. On Thursday, Ovechkin added two more goals. Although the team could not hold onto a two-goal lead against the Edmonton Oilers in an overtime defeat.
The Caps did manage to take two of three in western Canada in unexpected fashion Friday in Vancouver. Evgeny Kuznetsov, who had the game’s first goal scored in the closing seconds of period number two to create a spark going into the intermission. Lars Eller and a pair of goals by Michal Kempny, by the time the clock read 12:19 remaining in the third, incredibly made it five-all. T.J. Oshie and Nicklas Backstrom scored one the shootout. Ovechkin scored a game-winner Tuesday against the Toronto Maple Leafs. This team has so many players that can put the biscuit in the basket. I have them at the top.
Are there any other teams you would place inside the NHL Top 10 Power Rankings? Leave a comment below.
Stay onside with IroniqMedia for all of our NHL coverage.
Follow Michael on Twitter @MJBolesta2.
Works cited: NHL app