FOXSports.com final NHL power rankings
APR 30, 2013 3:04p ET
1 Blackhawks 36-7-5
Chicago, which won the Presidents’ Trophy for the best record in regular season, has easily the most consistent team so far. On top of that, the Blackhawks have largely avoided major injury woes. If there is a question headed into the playoffs, it’s goaltending.
2 Penguins 36-12-0
Sidney Crosby (broken jaw) is expected to return for Game 1 of the first-round series as the East’s regular season champs take on the New York Islanders. The Pens not only added depth before the trade deadline, they also added some hungry veterans (mainly Jarome Iginla and Brenden Morrow) looking for their first Stanley Cup.
3 Ducks 30-12-6
As somebody who hammered Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau a few times during his first NHL coaching gig in Washington, I have to give him credit for the Ducks’ spectacular season. He’s guided Anaheim to its second division title in team history and has managed the roster masterfully.
4 Canadiens 29-14-5
The Habs salvaged a decent finish, beating the Jets and Maple Leafs to close out the regular season. (Montreal had lost five of the last six before that.) I’m not sure exactly where the Canadiens would have finished had this been a full 82-game slate, but the Northeast champs exceeded expectations.
5 Kings 27-16-5 +1
After a start as middling as last season's, the defending Stanley Cup champs rebounded. The question remains whether goalie Jonathan Quick, who won the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP a year ago, can go on a similar run this year.
6 Bruins 28-14-6 -1
No playoff team had fewer wins (three) over the final 10 regular-season games than the Bruins, who finished with consecutive losses. The Bruins still could have won the Northeast on the final day of the regular season, but had to settle for the fourth seed after Sunday’s 4-2 loss to Ottawa.
7 Canucks 26-15-7 +1
Cory Schneider isn’t a playoff noob, but this will be his first playoff as the No. 1 goalie. It’ll be interesting to see how well he handles that pressure in the first round against the Sharks, especially with Roberto Luongo — the goalie who took the Canucks to the finals two years ago — in a ballcap nearby.
8 Blues 29-17-2 +4
The Blues finished the season like they started it: as one of the hottest teams in hockey. The club seems to have settled on Brian Elliott, who should at least be in the conversation for the Vezina Trophy as the league’s top goalie.
9 Capitals 27-18-3
The Caps were 8-1-1 over their final 10 games en route to securing their fifth division title over the last six seasons. The league’s top goal scorer Alex Ovechkin (32 goals) inserted himself into the MVP conversation as the Caps finally seemed to settle into the scheme run by first-year coach Adam Oates.
10 Sharks 25-16-7 -3
Goalie Antti Niemi played in 25 of the Sharks’ final 26 regular season games and was stellar during that run. The Sharks remain one of the better all-around teams in the league, although the difference in whether the Sharks finally break though into the finals for the first time and an earlier exit likely falls on Niemi.
11 Maple Leafs 26-17-5 -1
The Maple Leafs had been the only team not to make the playoffs after the previous work stoppage, the lockout that wiped out the 2004-05 season. Toronto finally broke through after this most recent labor dustup. The Leafs’ playoff run, however, will be a short one unless they limit shots allowed and avoid listless stretches on offense that have plagued them down the stretch.
12 Islanders 24-17-7 +3
Congrats, Islanders. You made the playoffs for the first time since the 2006-07 season, and now you get to the face the Pens. The Islanders’ playoff run might not last long, but (outside losing three in a row to finish the season) credit New York for a great turnaround.
13 Rangers 26-18-4 +3
New York secured a playoff berth (and another first-round series against the Caps) with only three regulation losses over their final 14 games. What changed after the trading deadline? Addition by subtraction by dealing Marian Gaborik?
14 Senators 25-17-6 -3
The Sens’ two major assets defensively — defenseman Erik Karlsson and goalie Craig Anderson — are healthy and contributing. That could make Ottawa a factor.
15 Blue Jackets 24-17-7 -2
A stumble down the stretch prevented what would have been the most shocking turnaround this season. Still, it’s something this relatively young team can build on for next season.
16 Red Wings 24-16-8 +1
The streak continues. A late surge allowed the Red Wings to secure a berth for the 22nd consecutive season — and they avoid the No. 1 Blackhawks to boot.
17 Wild 26-19-3 -3
On paper, this team shouldn’t have backed into the playoff the way they did. In doing so, they get the top-seeded Blackhawks.
18 Coyotes 21-18-9
Phoenix couldn’t overcome a 2-4-2 start to the season and goalie Mike Smith’s game slipped a bit this season. And, as colleague Craig Morgan of FOX Sports Arizona points out, “Get an owner already.”
19 Jets 24-21-3 +1
Although the team is young, the Jets had enough talent to be a playoff team. They were atop the Southeast — although that’s not really something to brag about — just a few weeks ago.
20 Flyers 23-22-3 +3
Peter Laviolette will return as a coach next season. Now, if only the Flyers could find a way to bring some defensive consistency back next season.
21 Stars 22-22-4 -2
Dallas finished outside of the playoff picture for the fourth consecutive season. The Stars are already making changes, starting with the widely hailed move of bringing in Red Wings front office veteran Jim Nill as GM.
22 Sabres 21-21-6
The Sabres let go of longtime coach Lindy Ruff and several veterans this season, including Jason Pominville. After this disappointing season, goalie Ryan Miller might not be far behind them.
23 Devils 19-19-10 -2
No team quite had the collapse of the Devils. As a result, New Jersey became the first Cup finalist to miss the playoffs the following season since both the Hurricanes and Oilers a year after their 2006 Cup runs.
24 Oilers 19-22-7
Edmonton is back in familiar territory: the draft lottery. One of these years, all that alleged talent will do something.
25 Hurricanes 19-25-4 +2
The buzz created with trading for Jordan Staal and signing Alex Semin was squelched by injuries and odd bounces this season.
26 Flames 19-25-4 -1
The Flames finished the season out of the playoffs, and their longtime captain Jarome Iginla was dealt at the deadline to the Pens. The Flames do have three first-round picks — and with the shrunken salary cap moving forward — might not be in for a long rebuilding process.
27 Predators 16-23-9 -1
This team was likely more than one Ryan Suter — who left as a free agent last offseason — away from the playoffs. It’s scoring, again, that was the issue as the Preds finished last with 111 goals.
28 Lightning 18-26-4
The Lightning had the Art Ross winner for most points ( Martin St. Louis) and the league’s No. 2 goal scorer ( Steven Stamkos). Now, if the Lightning can sort out that goalie situation, they should be set for next season.
29 Avalanche 16-25-7
Joe Sacco is out as Colorado’s coach, which should go a long way in shaking up this fractured locker room.
30 Panthers 15-27-6
Bright spots like rookie forward Jonathan Huberdeau were overshadowed by a rash of injuries and lackluster play.