NHL Top 10 Power Rankings for Week 8
10. Florida Panthers
The good news is that Vincent Trocheck scores twice in the third period but the bad news was that they fell short in Sunrise against a strong Winnipeg side 4-3. It got better Saturday against the New York Rangers as Evgenii Dadonov retrieved goals nine and ten. Jonathan Huberdeau, playing in his eighth season with the Panthers, set up two goals in his side’s 4-3 victory. Brett Connolly, who also scored in that game, put one in against Philadelphia. Dadonov recorded multiple assists against the Flyers Tuesday as they struck five times versus Carter Hart to collect two NHL points. Florida concludes their homestand against the Ducks before a visit to Raleigh Saturday. Buffalo awaits the Panthers in the Sunshine State on Sunday.
9. Dallas Stars
The Stars have some wind in their sails following a slow start to their season. They entered Tuesday in the first wild-card position just a point behind the Winnipeg Jets. Joe Pavelski after spending thirteen years with the San Jose Sharks came over to Dallas, scoring his fourth goal of the season on the power play in the second period in Calgary. He later put the game out of reach via an empty-net goal. Also, Justin Dowling scored his maiden goal which stood as the winner. Ben Bishop was called on to make twenty-four saves in the 3-1 NHL win.
The Stars showed no signs of fatigue the following night in Vancouver. Dowling scored again not four minutes into proceedings. The score stayed that way until Blake Comeau, in his sixteenth season doubled his team’s advantage early in the middle frame. After the Canucks got back on terms thanks to Jake Virtanen and Troy Stecher, Dallas scored prior to the second intermission as Tyler Seguin scored at even strength. Alexander Radulov made sure the two points were secure on a backhand shot with less than two and a half minutes remaining. The Stars won nearly sixty percent of their face-offs in their 4-2 victory.
Saturday, they appeared to be pinned against the ropes with less than fifteen minutes left trailing by two, but Comeau scored, then Seguin tied the game with his fifth goal with a hundred and nine seconds left to force overtime. Then Jamie Benn beat Mikko Koskinen on the backhand to cap off three wins north of the border. Benn scored the same type of way Tuesday in Dallas against Vancouver, then on the man advantage almost exactly midway through the game in what turned into a blowout win. The Stars remain home to play NHL Central Division rivals Winnipeg and Chicago. After that, back-to-back games against the Golden Knights and Blackhawks lie ahead.
8. Winnipeg Jets
The Jets got production out of their usual suspects Nikolaj Ehlers and Mark Scheifele in an out of conference game against the Florida Panthers, putting four by Sergei Bobrovsky in a road win. Winnipeg did not miss a beat Saturday in Tampa Bay finishing the Florida swing with identical 4-3 results. Ehlers found the net on the power play. Josh Morrissey who assisted on said goal also set up Mathieu Perreault. Patrik Laine and Ehlers were able to put the puck past Nashville netminder Pekka Rinne Tuesday and the goals stood up in a narrow win. A good early season matchup awaits the Jets in Dallas Thursday before flying home against a struggling Blue Jackets team two night later.
7. Arizona Coyotes
The Coyotes are in great form of late, though the week started with a narrow defeat in Saint Paul at the hands of the Minnesota Wild. Jordan Greenway scored the odd goal in five on a tip-in shot with less than eight minutes left. The bright spots were Conor Garland one goal away from reaching his tenth and Nick Schmaltz gained his twelfth helper. Lawson Crouse who scored Arizona’s second goal in that game added an empty-net goal to go along with an assist in the team’s next game versus Calgary. Derek Stepan, who came over from the Rangers in 2017 ended up with the initial tally. Carl Soderberg lit the lamp and Phil Kessel recorded assist number nine during a 3-0 win at the expense of the Flames.
Monday, the Coyotes beat another NHL Pacific Division foe. Garland beat Kings goalie Jack Campbell, then Stepan tickled the twine on the man advantage as part of a two-goal first period. Jakob Chychrun made sure that it would be a comfortable night for Antti Raanta, who completed the clean sheet with thirty-one stops. Arizona faces an up and down Maple Leafs side Thursday before a mid-afternoon game in Los Angeles Saturday. The Coyotes get the Edmonton Oilers back in Glendale to complete the weekend.
6. Carolina Hurricanes
Carolina needed every goal in order to beat the Buffalo Sabres. Their stars shone as Jordan Staal, Sebastian Aho, and Teuvo Teravainen put the Hurricanes up 3-1. After letting the lead slip, Dougie Hamilton and Teravainen set up Andrei Svechnikov with less than three minutes to play. Carolina could not see the game out in regulation because Johan Larsson lighted the lamp for just the second time for Buffalo. It allowed Hamilton to take center stage for his ninth tally for a 5-4 win in overtime. The momentum carried over in Minnesota.
In contrast to the Sabres game, a different cast of characters scored in regulation play by the names of Joel Edmundson, Brock McGinn, and Warren Foegele. Still, sixty minutes did not separate them from the Wild. Devan Dubnyk was the first to blink as Svechnikov snapped a shot past him for another dramatic win. They kept on scoring in the Windy City as the aforementioned nineteen-year-old who beat Minnesota reached double figures scoring-wise this season. Hamilton picked up his fourteenth assist against the Chicago Blackhawks as Carolina survived a late rally by the final score of 4-2. They have three games in four days including Philadelphia, Florida, and Detroit.
5. Edmonton Oilers
The Oilers had a game to remember, though they found themselves behind quickly on the first of two Andre Burakovsky goals. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins put Edmonton on level footing. Connor McDavid had a hat trick, each of them on the power play in the span of a little more than sixteen minutes. Zack Kassian scored what turned out to be the game-winner for the Oilers’ third goal. Leon Draisaitl has been an assists machine as he reached twenty-six for the campaign by the late stages of period number two. It all added up to a 6-2 decision on Thursday.
Saturday, they did get a point against the Dallas Stars. Draisaitl dropped a goal and an assist. Twenty-five-year-old Jujhar Khaira added a pair of goals, but the Stars came from two behind to win in overtime leaving Edmonton with a bitter taste in their mouths. After having faced the Sharks in San Jose for the second time in a week they go down the coast to face the Kings. Their road trip continues in Vegas and Glendale on Saturday and Sunday.
4. Saint Louis Blues
The Blues traveled to Columbus but wound up on the wrong side of a 3-2 contest in which the game needed more than sixty-three and a half minutes to complete. Mackenzie MacEachern got Saint Louis even at one in the final minute of the opening period on a wrap-around goal. Brayden Schenn made Eric Robinson pay for his tripping infraction to put the Blues ahead. Pierre-Luc Dubois and Zach Werenski helped to complete the Blue Jackets comeback which forced the visitors to settle for a point on Friday. Jordan Binnington faced just twenty-four shots but gave up three in a four-one defeat, one in which Derek Grant with his late empty-net goal earned a three-goal performance. Vince Dunn was the only player to solve John Gibson.
Tuesday, Saint Louis got the train back on the tracks against the Lightning. Three of their stars came through against last year’s NHL President Trophy winners. David Perron and Oskar Sundqvist scored in a nine-minute span between the late second period and early third. Jaden Schwartz ended the drama with Tampa Bay’s net unoccupied. Calgary and Nashville visit the Blues in the upcoming days before Saint Louis visits central Tennessee next Monday.
3. Boston Bruins
The Bruins won a back and forth game in Toronto thanks to Brad Marchand’s two goals in a 4:47 span of the final period. Though they were not great on restarts, they outshot, out-hit, and out-blocked the Maple Leafs in a 4-2 result Friday. They then took the team with the most NHL points to this point of the season, the Washington Capitals, all the way to the fifth round of the shootout before succumbing. David Pastrnak recorded his seventeenth goal earlier in the second period while Charlie Coyle opened up the scoring earlier in the evening.
Boston took out their frustrations a few nights later in New Jersey, pulling away from the Devils 5-1. Pastrnak added two more goals, while David Krejci had assists on the first two Bruins tallies. Matt Grzelcyk and Connor Clifton also found their way past Mackenzie Blackwood on Tuesday. Buffalo and Minnesota visit Boston in the near future before visiting their fierce rivals in Quebec, the Montreal Canadiens.
2. New York Islanders
The Islanders needed to survive a late flurry from the visiting Toronto Maple Leafs Wednesday. The New York power-play unit was successful thanks to Anthony Beauvillier and Derick Brassard. In the next game against the Flyers down 3-0 in Philadelphia, Beauvillier used the backhand twice in the third and also needed Barzal’s ninth twitch of the net to eventually get the Isles into a shootout. He and Jordan Eberle each solved the Brian Elliott puzzle you complete an unlikely win Saturday.
The wackiness did not end three nights later. The Pittsburgh Penguins twice led by two goals only to be pegged back on each occasion. Beauvillier and Brock Nelson made it 2-2 in the second, then Josh Bailey and Ryan Pulock canceled out Brandon Tanev and Jake Guentzel scores to get the game past regulation. Nelson capped off yet another comeback victory against Matt Murray and the New York Islanders just keep piling up the wins.
1. Washington Capitals
The Capitals started the week picking up two points thanks to Evgeny Kuznetsov’s goal in the second round of the shootout in Philadelphia. They then took it in the chin in their next game as Ilya Samsonov conceded four in the second period against a very good Montreal Canadiens side. Alex Ovechkin netted his fourteenth goal of the year in an otherwise forgettable game. They got back off the mat Saturday by going into Boston as Travis Boyd and T.J. Oshie helped get Washington back level after falling behind. Nicklas Backstrom needed to beat Jaroslav Halak to keep his side in the one on one skill competition. Jakub Vrana scored on Washington’s fifth attempt and Chris Wagner.
They had less stress against the Anaheim Ducks. Both Ovechkin and Vrana got in the action, with the former scoring on the power play. Meanwhile, the latter struck an unassisted goal. The Caps hit the ice Wednesday night against a .500 New York Rangers side for another nationally televised NHL game before returning for a home game Saturday against the Vancouver Canucks.
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Works cited: NHL app