NHL Top 10 Power Rankings Week 9
10. Arizona Coyotes
It was not a good start to the NHL week as they only avoided a shutout less than twenty seconds from time as they lost to Toronto 3-1. They got to enjoy the view from in front by getting a road victory in the City of Angels. Veteran Phil Kessel tapped in a goal just past the mid-point of the opening period. After Anze Kopitar canceled out his goal early in the second, left winger Lawson Crouse put the Glendale side ahead. Christian Fischer, who plays on the opposite side, scored an empty-net goal to secure a 3-2 win Saturday.
Returning home, they played their NHL Pacific Division rival Edmonton Oilers. Both sides enjoyed leads and each scored on the power play. For Arizona, Carl Soderberg struck his seventh goal. His goal was assisted by Alex Goligoski, who helped set up Fischer’s third tally. Later, his third assist went to Vinnie Hinostroza who is in his fifth year in the NHL with more than six and a half minutes left in the second period. Markus Granlund then got Edmonton back on terms. Arizona had to settle for a point after Connor McDavid’s goal in the shootout but proved that they can be a tough out.
They have more divisional foes coming up Wednesday as Anaheim comes calling. A Vegas side that has been up and down this season awaits the Coyotes the day after Thanksgiving. The Sharks will be the second game of a back-to-back just outside of Phoenix. They go outside the conference on Tuesday in Columbus for their first December game.
9. Pittsburgh Penguins
Though not one of the top three teams in the NHL’s Metropolitan standings as of Tuesday, they are a team that will be tricky to deal with when April arrives barring injury. They pushed the Islanders past regulation after Patric Hornqvist scored with half a minute left in the third period. It was a point earned as they led on two occasions thanks to Evgeni Malkin and Bryan Rust, but they did not pick up the second point.
They were in a better mood by the end of their next game. Four different players found the net against Mackenzie Blackwood and the New Jersey Devils and seven other Penguins assisted for a true team win. Jake Guentzel, who was named the first star picked up his eleventh goal which stood as the winner while Jared McCann lighted the lamp for the eighth time.
In their next game against Calgary, Alex Galchenyuk scored his first goal of the year on the man advantage to even the game at one goal apiece. McCann added another twine tickler on a snapshot in the second period which briefly gave them the lead, but they needed Guentzel again with less than a minute left in overtime to get past the Flames Monday. Still to come are the Canucks, Blue Jackets, and Blues in a span of four days starting this Wednesday.
8. Winnipeg Jets
Thursday, the Jets found themselves behind by three in Dallas before Kyle Connor triggered a rally. It was no surprise that Patrik Laine scored in the comeback, but defenseman Luca Sbisa was the one to tie the game at three, his first of the 2019-20 NHL Season. In the end, it was in vain as the Stars responded and won in regulation in this NHL Central Division tilt.
They were faced with another high scoring contest back home. Scores by Blake Wheeler and Nikolaj Ehlers gave Winnipeg the lead, but the Blue Jackets would not let go as Seth Jones and Gustav Nyquist got to celebrate during the second stanza. Thirty-one-year-old center Mathieu Perreault restored parity before the third period commenced. The game’s seventh goal went the way of the Canadian side as Andrew Copp found his way past Elvis Merzlikins with less than two minutes remaining to sow up an out of conference win Saturday.
The Jets’ next game on the ice will be in the Bay Area in midweek before going down the coast to play the Ducks the following day. Five days later will be a rematch with Dallas this time at MTS Centre.
7. Carolina Hurricanes
The Hurricanes had a game to forget as Petr Mrazek let in four at the hands of the Flyers in a 5-3 defeat. Sebastian Aho and Teuvo Teravainen did score for Carolina early on, but it was not meant to be in Raleigh just before the weekend. The roles would be reversed as the Panthers were two up less than halfway through the first. This time the Canes replied with four goals which included a game-winning goal and an assist by Dougie Hamilton. Andrei Svechnikov struck goal number eleven with the net empty to double up the Panthers. The momentum carried into Sunday as James Reimer picked up a clean sheet not having to be busy, repelling nineteen shots. Aho the right-winger put the only puck past Jimmy Howard while guarding the net in a 2-0 Carolina decision. North Carolina’s hockey team will be busy in the coming days with the Rangers, Predators, Lightning, and Bruins staring them in the face.
6. Edmonton Oilers
The Oilers were humbled in southern California in a 5-1 loss. Connor McDavid was the only player to breach Jonathan Quick, which came unassisted. The game started with center Tyler Toffoli and appropriately finished with him closing the scoring for the team with the least amount of points in the Western Conference as of Tuesday. Edmonton hit the front thanks to McDavid’s wrist shot not five and a half minutes gone by in the opening frame. The story in the Oilers camp this season continues to be the play of one Leon Draisaitl, who racked up three assists in the team’s 4-2 victory in Vegas.
Further south in Arizona, Edmonton continued their winning ways. James Neal got ahold of his fourteenth lamplighter as McDavid punched in his twenty-ninth assist. Markus Granlund, who has skated for all three west coast Canadian sides during his eight-year career helped his team pull level with the minutes beginning to tick down. McDavid became the man of the hour in the one on one skills competition as Mikko Koskinen on the other side stopped all three Coyote skaters Sunday. Edmonton visits Denver before they fly back for a home-and-home against Vancouver over the weekend.
5. Dallas Stars
The Stars have been red hot, winners of seven straight going into Tuesday. Matthias Janmark, Jason Dickinson, and Radek Faisal helped get Dallas to get a three-goal lead against Winnipeg Thursday before they watched their lead fritter away. Twenty-five seconds after Winnipeg got back on terms, Jamie Benn sent a backhander past fifth-year goaltender Connor Hellebuyck to restore the lead and Tyler Seguin scored for the sixth time on an unoccupied net to finish off a 5-3 victory.
Saturday, they were in a fight against the Chicago Blackhawks. Twenty-three-year-old Roope Hintz opened the scoring for the Stars with his tenth goal on a deflected shot before Olli Maata equalized. Both Anton Khudobin and Robin Lehner were active as they kept their side in the game. In the shootout, Joe Pavelski and Seguin scored and Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane were turned aside to give Dallas the second point Saturday. Forty-eight hours later, the Stars found it easier to put the puck in the net. Alexander Radulov scored two power-play goals and Seguin recorded two helpers in a 4-2 result in favor of Dallas.
The streak ended Tuesday at the hands of familiar faces from Chicago’s period of three Stanley Cups in six years earlier this decade. Brandon Saad and Kane accounted for two of the three goals by the Blackhawks while Corey Crawford stopped all thirty-two Dallas attempts on goal. The Stars will look to regroup against the NHL’s Central Division leading Saint Louis Blues Friday, then hit the road against the Minnesota Wild Sunday afternoon. After that, they cross the border to play the Winnipeg Jets two days later.
4. Saint Louis Blues
The Blues were convincing in front of their fans at the expense of Calgary Flames. Zach Sanford picked up four points while Oskar Sundqvist recorded a pair of goals. The Richmond Hill, Ontario native Jordan Binnington needed to turn aside forty shots to get the shutout.
In their next outing, Saint Louis was not as crisp, tasting a 4-2 defeat by the visiting Nashville Predators after falling behind early on goals by Filip Forsberg and Matthias Ekholm less than four minutes and could not fully recover from there. In the reverse fixture, they gave up the first two goals likewise, but this time managed to scratch out a point thanks to goal scorers David Perron and Brayden Schenn. They were one save from a victory in the shootout but Forsberg beat Jake Allen. After Robert Thomas failed to put his side ahead, Daniel Carr scored a walk-off goal for Nashville.
Saint Louis is in Tampa Bay on Wednesday, then a good matchup in North Texas Friday night against the Stars before coming back to Enterprise Center to host the Penguins during the weekend. The week culminates against their local rivals Chicago in the Windy City.
3. New York Islanders
The Islanders have piled up wins this season, meriting a very high ranking despite hitting a funk of late. They fell behind Pittsburgh twice and each time they came back, finally taking the lead on Brock Nelson’s seventh goal, but the Penguins were undeterred. Hornqvist got his side back on equal footing late in the third period. In overtime, Nelson backhanded a shot by Matt Murray to send Islanders home in a good mood Thursday.
The Isles flew to the west coast in their next outing in San Jose and conceded the first goal to Marcus Sorensen in the second period, but New York was quick to respond as Casey Cizikas on a tip-in assisted by Adam Pelech and Ryan Pulock. In the end, Martin Jones went toe to toe with Semyon Varlamov to give the Sharks a chance, and Logan Couture treated him halfway through the extra five minute period with a snapshot to win the game Saturday.
In Anaheim, the Ducks jumped ahead on Ryan Getzlaf’s ninth goal just past the midway point of the game. John Gibson got some insurance from Cam Fowler and Ondrej Kase deep in the third to shut down the Islanders. New York will go across town to play the Los Angeles Kings Wednesday night before the long flight home. Saturday, the Isles welcome the Blue Jackets, then will play the Red Wings in Hockeytown before they go to Quebec to play Montreal.
2. Boston Bruins
Thursday in Beantown, the Bruins scored thrice in a narrow victory thanks in part to Brad Marchand, who scored a goal in each of the first two periods. The power play was effective as David Pastrnak tallied his twentieth goal of the season. Boston needed every goal in its next contest versus Minnesota. Jake DeBrusk leveled the game at one more than four minutes into the middle period. The Wild struck twice thanks to the sticks of Victor Rask and Eric Staal. Marchand had a big goal right before the second intermission to get his side within one. However, Kevin Fiala restored the Wild’s two-goal lead. The Bruins showed great will and toughness as David Krejci scored two goals in the span of forty-eight seconds to force the game beyond three periods. Torey Krug netted the winner versus Alex Stalock on a backhand shot in overtime Saturday for an impressive win for the Bruins.
The carryover from this game had a positive impact. Pastrnak continued his great run of form by recording a hat trick and Jaroslav Halak was very busy even with his side comfortably ahead, stopping thirty-nine in an 8-1 thrashing in Montreal. Boston will set their sights on the Ottawa Senators before they start a homestand with a national game at TD Garden early Friday afternoon against Original Six side New York Rangers. After that, they face the Canadiens and Hurricanes.
1. Washington Capitals
After a three-goal defeat at Madison Square Garden on NHL Wednesday Night Hockey, the Capitals returned to Washington, D.C. for what was a tense game against the Canucks. Jakub Vrana was set up by Lars Eller for the opening goal less than two and a half minutes into play. The advantage was wiped clean after Elias Pettersson answered for Vancouver. From there, Jacob Markstrom and Braden Holtby made save after save all the way into the shootout, and in the seventh round, Bo Horvat finally broke through, and the Caps came away with a point but on the short end of a 2-1 defeat Saturday. Washington will be itching to get back on the ice, and they will face the Florida Panthers the day before Thanksgiving. After that, the Lightning, Red Wings will finish off three matches in four days before a visit to northern California Tuesday.
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Work cited: NHL app