NHL Top 10 Power Rankings for the Week of 2/10/2020

10. Edmonton Oilers

The Oilers started well against the San Jose Sharks on goals by Sam Gagner and Connor McDavid. However, the pendulum swung the other way 11:01 into the first period when Timo Meier got the visitors got on the board for the start of what would be five unanswered tallies. He added his eighteenth NHL goal with 14:55 in the third to finish off his second.

It was a tough day for Mikko Koskinen as he let in six in a three-goal loss Thursday. The train was placed back on the tracks two nights later, but not before they fell two down to Nashville thanks to Craig Smith and Nick Bonino getting the puck past Mike Smith. A power play late in the second period presented Edmonton with an opportunity to chop the deficit in half. Alex Chiasson deflected the puck past Juuse Saros with less than ten seconds before the intermission. Leon Draisaitl then stepped up to the plate to get goals thirty and thirty-one and Saros peppered away twenty-seven shots in the Oilers 3-2 victory.

Edmonton was involved in a high-scoring game on Tuesday. Riley Sheahan commenced the scoring. Later, with Chicago ahead on two different occasions, Kailer Yamamoto came through to help his team pull even. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins put the team’s noses in front and Draisaitl gained his thirty-second goal three seconds from the finish line to complete a 5-3 victory for him and the Oilers.

Edmonton’s next fixture is Thursday at Tampa Bay. The two-game Florida NHL swing will be completed Saturday against the Panthers for a mid-afternoon clash. The Oilers continue the Atlantic Division theme Sunday afternoon in Carolina. Those two teams played for the NHL Stanley Cup Final back in 2006. Both hope to play hockey in that round of the playoffs for the first time since that seven-game series. 

9. New York Islanders

New York was put on the back foot against the Los Angeles Kings. They found themselves behind 2-0 when Michael Dal Colle deflected a shot into the net at Jonathan Quick’s expense. The home team then found the mountain a little steeper after Trevor Lewis struck just his third goal 7:09 into period two. Twenty-one year old Kieffer Bellows found the net for his first twine-tickler just over three minutes later to keep the home team close. The Islanders restored parity courtesy of Windsor, Ontario’s Matt Martin on a clean sheet of ice for the final period. Bellows earned his second tally. His go-ahead strike came with less than eight minutes left. Anders Lee ended the scoring with his empty netter inside the final quarter-minute of the game. The Isles got the two points after a 5-3 decision Thursday.

Saturday was a setback as New York was beaten on the scoreboard and on many important team categories down in Tampa Bay. Semyon Varlamov was not bad as he kept his team close. Derick Brassard prevented a shutout thanks to his concentration by tipping in an attempt on a power play. The final score was 3-1 Saturday.

Monday, they were showcased on national television in Washington. The Islanders were able to spoil the party as Capitals prolific scorer Alex Ovechkin came in two goals shy of the 700 goal club. It was the New York offense that shined brighter Monday. Anthony Beauvillier provided an early cushion with not one but two goals in the opening period. The road team gained their third from Devon Toews. The 108th pick of 2014 helped to finish off a productive first twenty minutes. New York was able to build an insurmountable lead with Leo Komarov and Jordan Eberle both putting the biscuit in the basket. Also of note, Josh Bailey had a three-point night as all came in the assist category 18:06 into the game. Greiss held down the fort despite being beaten thrice.

In a crazy game Tuesday evening, the Islanders built a 3-0 lead thanks to Josh Bailey, Matt Martin, and Jordan Eberle. Likewise, Philadelphia found scoring from three different players in Travis Konecny, Robert Hagg, and Sean Couturier. With 1:32 left, the Flyers were back on terms, but Ryan Pulock saved the day for the Isles almost a minute later, then Bailey picked up assist number twenty-five which was finished off by Leo Komarov.

The Islanders are in Music City Thursday, accessible on the league app. New York will fly west to Las Vegas Saturday, then southeast to Glendale for an NHL game two days later on the afternoon of Presidents Day. 

8. Vancouver Canucks

Vancouver found themselves chasing the game against the Minnesota Wild as they went behind by three goals all coming in period one. They were tossed a lifeline when Jared Spurgeon slashed Zack MacEwen and both of them went to the box for fighting in addition. The Canucks man advantage went to work and East Palestine, Ohio’s J.T. Miller got his team on the board for goal number twenty-one in the middle period. Zach Parise offset that goal after Adam Gaudette went to the gate after hooking Marcus Foligno. Though the game was beyond reach, thirty-year-old Antoine Roussel made it two goals on special teams.

Vancouver came up short Thursday 4-2 in Minnesota. In their next game, there was a four-goal first period. Tanner Pearson opened up the scoring for his sixteenth of the season. Bo Horvat racked up an assist on the play for number twenty-eight. Then down 2-1, Adam Gaudette of Braintree, Massachusetts equalized unassisted. Calgary was too much from that point on. Johnny Gaudreau did not score but picked up two assists. Milan Lucic was solid, finishing with a goal and an assist in the 6-3 Flames win.

Monday, the Canucks pieced together a convincing win against the Nashville Predators. Zack MacEwen, Brandon Sutter, and Jordie Benn each got the better of Pekka Rinne. Pearson carried over his recent form from the other night. He scored on a deflection to make it 4-0. Nashville did find a way to beat Jacob Markstrom twice, but the man from Gävle, Sweden did not blink after that. His team could not stop scoring. Miller scored two minutes from the end of the second period set up by Quinn Hughes who was credited with his thirty-fifth helper. Hughes also passed the puck to Jake Virtanen. Jake wristed the puck home on a numerical advantage situation early in the final stanza to make the final margin four.

The NHL games are spaced out for the Canucks within the next week. Vancouver hosts Chicago Wednesday, then welcome the Ducks Sunday afternoon. 

7. Tampa Bay Lightning

The Lightning was able to dismantle one of the best teams in the league, the Pittsburgh Penguins, in front of their fans Thursday. It took just over nine minutes for Mikhail Sergachev to beat Matt Murray. Almost four game-time minutes later, Steve Stamkos reached twenty-five goals on the campaign while Nikita Kucherov assisted for a fortieth time on Tampa’s second. Pittsburgh got the game’s next goal, but the Lightning’s response was swift. Anthony Cirelli, who was drafted in 2015 made it 3-1 to the home side. More game pressure was applied by the Pens in the third as they found a second breakthrough. Andrei Vasilevskiy still did enough and was assured that his team earned two points when Kucherov found the vacated target with thirty-three seconds left.

Tampa did not miss a beat a couple of nights later. They did have to wait until the opening seconds of period two to solve Semyon Varlamov. Brayden Point, born in Calgary hit a slap shot fourteen seconds in. The Lightning doubled their lead on Carter Verhaeghe’s backhanded effort. After the team conceded a power-play goal, they were able to drain the clock and put the game out of reach on Stamkos’ empty-net goal.

Tampa’s grit was back on display Monday night in Columbus. Kucherov’s goal early in the first period was canceled out by Oliver Bjorkstrand 3:44 in the second frame. Curtis McElhinney and Elvis Merzlikins were locked in a goaltender’s duel. Neither one blinked in the third period. In the extra five-minute period, it took thirty-one seconds for Nikita in the open ice to end the game.

Tuesday at Pittsburgh, the Lightning kept finding a way to grind out another result. Sergachev equalized on the man-advantage unit in reply to Evgeni Malkin’s first-period goal, so the game was tied after two frames. The game needed overtime. Twenty-eight-year-old Yanni Gourde struck just his seventh goal of the year to rack up another two points for Tampa.

The Lightning has a pair of NHL Western Conference foes coming up with Edmonton Thursday and Colorado. Sandwiched between those games is a contest in Florida against the Philadelphia Flyers available for consumption without charge on the league application Saturday night. 

6. Dallas Stars

Friday night in North Texas, the Stars were unable to protect a two-goal lead at the hands of the Minnesota Wild. They held that advantage because Joe Pavelski made Jared Spurgeon pay for his infraction on a hook of Corey Perry. Pavelski, the former Shark toted his twelfth goal. The lead increased because Denis Gurianov converted on a slap shot early in the second. Minnesota was able to get back on level-footing just past the midway point of regulation as Joel Eriksson Ek and Ryan Donato each put the puck past Ben Bishop. The Wild denied Dallas a point after regulation on a successful wrap-around attempt with twenty-seven ticks left of the third period.

Incredibly, they were able to get their legs back under them Saturday after a tough loss. They did go behind by two to the Saint Louis Blues in the space of 3:31 by defenseman Colton Parayko. A late first-period goal by Jamie Benn on the power play drew the road team within one. Tampere, Finland’s Roope Hintz made it deuces wild on his sixteenth goal of the year. Anton Khudobin and Jordan Binnington both put up a zero in the third-period column. The crowd was reduced to silence with 2:41 left in overtime as Hintz claimed his second goal of the game.

Tuesday versus Carolina, the Stars were back home and eleventh-year player Jamie Benn had a virtuoso performance, netting a hat trick, two of them at even strength. Gurianov was responsible for Dallas’ other goal. Only Sebastian Aho in the first period prevented Khudobin from a clean sheet.

The Stars will cross the border for their next set of NHL games, which include three games in four nights versus the Maple Leafs, Canadiens, and Senators beginning Thursday.

5. Colorado Avalanche

The team currently occupying second place in the Central Division had a very good week starting in Ottawa, never trailing. Valeri Nichushkin, twenty-four years of age found a way past Marcus Hogberg almost eight minutes into the game. After Brady Tkachuk got the Senators tied, the Avalanche found scoring by committee. Matt Nieto of Long Beach, California found the net. The Colorado power play soon went to work and Cale Makar capitalized. In the third period, J.T. Compher’s name was called. The second-round pick by the Sabres in 2013 established a three-goal margin which resulted in a positive outcome Thursday.

The Avs showed that they could rescue games too. After Seth Jones put the Blue Jackets ahead, Colorado needed a response, and they got it off the stick of Nazem Kadri inside of nine minutes left. Nathan MacKinnon came up with the goods on the tiebreaking goal. The native of Halifax, Nova Scotia scored four minutes after the first Avalanche goal. Philipp Grubauer was kept busy, stopping thirty-one shots on goal. There was no activity on the scoresheet in Minnesota in periods one and three.

Colorado found the odd goal in five during an eventful middle stage. The team was down a man, but there was no problem for Pierre-Edouard Bellemare as he lit the lamp for a short-handed tally. Spurgeon scored on a different power play more than three minutes afterward. The Avalanche lead was restored through MacKinnon on a five on four scenario. They then gained some separation by the veteran Gabriel Landeskog. The Wild closed the margin to one by Kevin Fiala’s slap shot. The 3-2 win Sunday gave Colorado four wins on the trot. Tuesday, the streak continued against Ottawa. The Avs were on the front foot as Mikko Rantanen got the better of Marcus Hogberg inside the final minute before the first intermission. Grubauer was perfect between the pipes repelling all thirty-four shots on goal.

Nichushkin gave Colorado more margin for error as he was able to tip a shot past the Senators netminder. Landeskog and MacKinnon added more points on the team’s third goal to complete a 3-0 shutout.

Lying ahead for the Avs include Washington in Denver Thursday. They will then be in Colorado Springs for an Outdoor Series clash with the Los Angeles Kings Saturday nationally in primetime at Air Force’s football stadium. The team will then go back to the state capital to welcome Tampa Bay on Monday.

4. Pittsburgh Penguins

The Pens found themselves playing uphill and came up short in Tampa Thursday by the score of 4-2. Twice the team came within one. First, it was Evgeni Malkin, then John Marino but they were unable to find more goals past Vasilevskiy.

Pittsburgh bounced back in their next NHL game which was not a straight forward one. The offense gave Tristan Jarry a lead to work with. Kris Letang and Teddy Blueger made it two goals without reply. Mike Hoffman pulled one back, but in the second period, the visitors found a third from a familiar face, Sidney Crosby. His tenth of the campaign on the power play made it 3-1. It would stand as the game-winner. Jarry was forced into action often. He turned aside thirty-three attempts on target Saturday.

Tuesday, the Penguins got another opportunity against Tampa Bay, this time with the seventh man in attendance. It looked good early when Evgeni Malkin had his team hit the front for his eighteenth of the year. Matt Murray played well but yielded to Mikhail Sergachev in the second period. In the three-on-three skills competition, Victor Hedman assisted for a thirty-eighth time in the 2019-20 season for Tampa Bay setting up Yanni Gourde, and Pittsburgh could only settle for a solitary point by Tuesday’s end.

The Penguins are back on NHL ice Friday against the Canadiens. After that, they get the Red Wings in a Sunday matinee in western Pennsylvania. Toronto comes calling on Tuesday night. The latter two games receive coast-to-coast treatment. 

3. Saint Louis Blues

Tuesday’s game in Anaheim was postponed as word came through on the league website and was being talked about on Twitter that Jay Bouwmeester collapsed in the bench area during the first period, so thoughts and prayers for his well-being and recovery process.

Earlier this week, Saint Louis looked for more wins on the ice. Connor Hellebuyck outperformed Jordan Binnington in Winnipeg’s 4-2 win on the Blues home ice. It was a game where Jansen Harkins earned his first goal for the Jets and the familiar names of Patrik Laine and Nikolaj Ehlers produced. Saint Louis was down 2-0 when Colton Parayko and Carl Gunnarsson got the partisan fans in attendance back on their feet. However, Andrew Copp ended up having the decisive twine-tickler in the final outcome.

Saturday, Saint Louis was unable to handle prosperity versus Dallas as Parayko’s double went in vain. Jordan Binnington faced more than thirty shots but Roope Hintz stole the show with his pair of strikes.

Thursday, the Blues are scheduled to face Vegas. They return to The Show-Me State for fixtures against Nashville and New Jersey Saturday and Tuesday. Sandwiched between those games will be the second of a home and home with the Predators in central Tennessee Sunday afternoon. 

2. Washington Capitals

Saturday was a listless showing for Washington as their neighbors from Philadelphia put a seven-spot on the ice of the Capitals. With the D.C. based side trailing 1-0, T.J. Oshie lit the lamp for a twentieth time on a power play less than two minutes from time in the initial frame. The other Caps goal came from the stick of Evgeny Kuznetsov, but it was the ninth and final goal of the game. Sean Couturier, Jakub Voracek, and Claude Giroux all had their mitts in the Flyers performance. Braden Holtby conceded five goals at even strength.

They stubbed their toe against a very good Islanders side. Ilya Samsonov, who relieved Holtby in the last game had a rough outing as five shots went behind him and his outfit. There was resistance after going two scores behind. Nicklas Backstrom assisted John Carlson and at 5-1 when Lars Eller and Oshie made the deficit manageable before the close of forty minutes, but they dug themselves too deep of a hole.

The Capitals seek to re-capture the form they have had for much of the season as they take in the thin air against the Colorado Avalanche Thursday. Two more out-of-conference NHL games await them in Glendale Saturday and in Vegas in the middle of Monday afternoon. 

1. Boston Bruins

In Chicago Wednesday, the Bruins picked up an overtime NHL win thanks to Charlie McAvoy. The game was not without discussion at the end of regulation as the Blackhawks thought they scored a go-ahead goal in the closing moments only for a hand pass to negate the play. Replays could not definitively show whether Olli Maatta after putting the puck down with his hand subsequently touched his stick which would not have been a hand pass. The call was waved off on the ice and stood. As for the rest of the action, the goals came in the second period. Sean Kuraly answered Alex DeBrincat’s power-play tally. Jaroslav Halak turned aside twenty-one attempts for Boston while Robi Lehner spits away thirty-eight.

They may have given up the game’s first goal to Phil Kessel and the Arizona Coyotes Saturday, but there was no let-up. After Charlie Coyle evened the score, the power play was lethal in the first period. Patrice Bergeron and Jake DeBrusk made the most of their opportunities, and they did not look back, clinching victory on Coyle’s twelfth with Adin Hill away from his net. 4-2 was the final in Massachusetts.

Sunday, the quick turnaround did not lead to another win as they fell to a rebuilding Detroit Red Wings side 3-1. Torey Krug scored the only Boston goal that counted in the infant stages of period three. The Bruins had an offside take away a goal following a Detroit challenge earlier in the game. Andreas Athanasiou sowed away a surprising outcome with two lamp-lighters in the third.

More NHL Original Six matchups await over the next set of days. The Canadiens, Red Wings, and Rangers are those teams coming up. 

How would you rank the top 10 NHL Power Teams? Leave a comment below.

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Works cited: NBC, NBCSN, Fox Sports Southwest, NHL Center Ice at a local restaurant, NHL app, NHL and NBC Sports YouTube Channels

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