NHL Power Rankings: Chicago Blackhawks Stay In Top 5
2017 is upon us, and it’s becoming more and more clear which teams are running away with their divisions and which ones continue to sputter down and out of contention
Welcome to another week of NHL power rankings here at Blackhawk Up! The competition is beginning to really heat up as the playoff approach ever so fast. It feels like just yesterday we were welcoming in the new season, and now we are turning our calendars and anticipating what is to come.
The Chicago Blackhawks have remained atop the Central Division despite the rough patch we have seen as of late. Lets just hope our ‘Hawks can snap out of this funk, and fast.
Without further ado, lets take a look at our weekly NHL power rankings of all 30 teams with statistics and records as of Wednesday, January 4, 2017.
Dec 31, 2016; Calgary, Alberta, CAN; Calgary Flames center Lance Bouma (not pictured) scores on Arizona Coyotes goalie Louis Domingue (35) at Scotiabank Saddledome. Flames won 4-2. Mandatory Credit: Candice Ward-USA TODAY Sports
No. 30: Arizona Coyotes
Will Arizona ever catch a break? The Coyotes suffered a 4-2 loss to the Calgary Flames, which extended the streak to 7 losses in a row. With Anthony Duclair struggling to find consistency to his game, and the ‘Yotes unable to get anything going with their special teams, things are certainly not looking up. Arizona has a league-low 11 wins on the year and ranks in the bottom five in nearly every offensive category.
Jan 2, 2017; Vancouver, British Columbia, CAN; Vancouver Canucks forward Sven Baertschi (47) scores a goal against Colorado Avalanche goaltender Calvin Pickard (31) during the third period at Rogers Arena. The Vancouver Canucks won 3-2. Mandatory Credit: Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports
No. 29: Colorado Avalanche
The Avs are in search of a heartbeat. Colorado currently has the least amount of points in the standings, which makes the battle for the tough Central Division even harder as we are now into 2017.
Colorado has the worst goals-against average at 3.35 and has allowed 124 goals, which is also good for last in the entire NHL. For as talented of a team as the Avalanche to struggle this bad is rather mind-boggling.
Jan 3, 2017; New York, NY, USA; Buffalo Sabres center Jack Eichel (15) plays the puck against New York Rangers defenseman Marc Staal (18) during the third period at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
No. 28: Buffalo Sabres
While Jack Eichel has played great since his return from injury, the team has not rallied around his stellar work. With 6 goals and 6 assists in his first 15 games played, the sophomore has shown just how much of a presence he can be when healthy. A wild fact for the Buffalo Sabres is that only 3 players have a positive +/- throughout the season so far. Yikes.
Jan 2, 2017; Vancouver, British Columbia, CAN; Vancouver Canucks forward Bo Horvat (53) celebrates his goal against the Colorado Avalanche during the second period at Rogers Arena. Mandatory Credit: Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports
No. 27: Vancouver Canucks
Daniel Sedin reached 600 career assists in Vancouver’s 4th straight win. Bo Horvat is tied for the team points lead with 26 in what is a contract year for the young centerman. Sure, 4 straight wins for Vancouver shows that the team is working in the right direction, but how long will the streak last? I do recall the start of the season seeming very bright for the Canucks and we all saw where that went.
Dec 31, 2016; Winnipeg, Manitoba, CAN; New York Islanders left wing Andrew Ladd (16) reacts with teammates with their victory over the Winnipeg Jets at MTS Centre. New York Islanders win 6-2. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Fedyck-USA TODAY Sports
No. 26: New York Islanders
Although captain John Tavares has begun the season very well for the Isles with 27 points on the year, the Isles have yet to find their game. Despite ranking 8th in the league with 2.9 goals per game, the Islanders are 28th in goals allowed per game (3.1) and 29th in shots allowed per game (33.3).
Jan 3, 2017; Raleigh, NC, USA; New Jersey Devils forward Taylor Hall (9) skates with the puck against the Carolina Hurricanes at PNC Arena. The New Jersey Devils defeated the Carolina Hurricanes 3-1. Mandatory Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports
No. 25: New Jersey Devils
With Taylor Hall back in the lineup and continuing to thrive with New Jersey, the Devils began the year with a 3-0 shutout over the Boston Bruins. Goaltender Cory Schneider is elite without question, but the trend will have to continue for the Devils if they wish to get back into the early playoff picture.
Jan 1, 2017; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Detroit Red Wings forward Anthony Mantha (39) reacts after scoring the tying goal to force overtime against Toronto Maple Leafs during the Centennial Classic ice hockey game at BMO Field. The Leafs won 5-4. Mandatory Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports
No. 24: Detroit Red Wings
Sitting next to last in the Atlantic Division, Motown has seen better days. With an OT loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs, in what was a strong comeback for the Wings, the heartbreak continues. Injuries to Jimmy Howard and Justin Abdelkader have played a part in Detroit’s problems along with the league’s worst powerplay percentage (11.7).
Dec 29, 2016; Sunrise, FL, USA; Florida Panthers right wing Jaromir Jagr (68) controls the puck from Winnipeg Jets center Andrew Copp (9) during the first period at BB&T Center. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
No. 23: Florida Panthers
Since Gerard Gallant was fired from the Florida Panthers, the team has struggled to meet expectations and now sits in 6th place of the Atlantic Division. On a positive note, the Florida Panthers still boast an absolutely dynamic blue line from an offensive standpoint. With 22 goals from blueliners, the Panthers rank second in the league in goals from defensemen.
Jan 4, 2017; Dallas, TX, USA; Dallas Stars center Tyler Seguin (91) celebrates a goal against Montreal Canadiens goalie Al Montoya (35) during the first period at the American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
No. 22: Dallas Stars
It’s crazy to think that last year the Dallas Stars practically dominated the entire Western Conference and won the Central Division with 109 points. Dallas struggled right out of the gate in October and has simply failed to improve ever since. To make matters worse, Stars captain Jamie Benn is anything but 100 percent.
Jan 3, 2017; Tampa, FL, USA; Winnipeg Jets right wing Joel Armia (40) passes the puck against the Tampa Bay Lightning during the third period at Amalie Arena. Winnipeg Jets defeats the Tampa Bay Lightning 6-4. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
No. 21: Winnipeg Jets
What a way to start off your career! Rookie Patrik Laine has played exactly as advertised and is well on his way to a highly successful career. While Laine and Co. have played rather well offensively, the team has had its holes as it finds itself slipping through the cracks of the Central.
Jan 3, 2017; Raleigh, NC, USA; Carolina Hurricanes forward Victor Rask (49) checks New Jersey Devils forward Miles Wood (44) into the boards during the first period at PNC Arena. Mandatory Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports
No. 20: Carolina Hurricanes
Cam Ward has been rather solid in net for the Hurricanes and has mostly been the key reason the ‘Canes have remained in as many games as they have. With a save percentage of .916 and allowing 2.29 goals per game, Ward is living up to his 2-year extension with Carolina.
Jan 1, 2017; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Maple Leafs Auston Matthews (34) skates the puck up ice against Detroit Red Wings during the Centennial Classic ice hockey game at BMO Field. Mandatory Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports
No. 19: Toronto Maple Leafs
Auston Matthews has 14 goals in the last 17 games. This bodes well for the young Leafs, who are striving to gain a playoff spot. However, Toronto must begin to hold leads if it wishes to remain on the right course.
Dec 30, 2016; St. Louis, MO, USA; Nashville Predators defenseman Matt Irwin (52) celebrates with goalie Juuse Saros (74) after shutting out the St. Louis Blues at Scottrade Center. The Predators won 4-0. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports
No. 18: Nashville Predators
Pekka Rinne is in a bit of a fizzle while Ryan Johansen, and Filip Forsberg continue to succeed on the offensive end. The injury concern to the newly-acquired P.K. Subban certainly is a problem the Preds don’t need.
Dec 31, 2016; Tampa, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Lightning right wing Nikita Kucherov (86) looks on against the Carolina Hurricanes during the second period at Amalie Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
No. 17: Tampa Bay Lightning
The injury bug has plagued the Lightning this season as big names such as Steven Stamkos and Ben Bishop remain out with injuries. Young Russian forward Nikita Kucherov continues to shine throughout the darker days in Tampa with 38 points (15 goals, 23 assists).
Jan 2, 2017; Newark, NJ, USA; Boston Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask (40) plays the puck during the second period of their game against the New Jersey Devils at Prudential Center. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports
No. 16: Boston Bruins
The Bruins fell flat in a 3-0 shutout loss to the New Jersey Devils, and it certainly raises some concern for Boston offensively. Tuukka Rask has played well since his return, but goals are definitely not coming easy in the other end. David Pastrnak continues to lead the team in goals with 19, but has cooled down immensely over the last few weeks.
Jan 3, 2017; San Jose, CA, USA; Los Angeles Kings center Jeff Carter (77) celebrates after scoring against the San Jose Sharks during the third period at SAP Center at San Jose the Kings defeated the Sharks 2-1. Mandatory Credit: Neville E. Guard-USA TODAY Sports
No. 15: L.A. Kings
In a very strange and somewhat off-year for the perennial playoff contenders is the West, the Kings still find themselves in the hunt for the playoffs. This is all without star netminder Jonathan Quick and with a slumping Anze Kopitar. When Quick is back and Kopitar can find his stride, look out!
Jan 1, 2017; Washington, DC, USA; Ottawa Senators defenseman Mark Borowiecki (74) controls the puck in front of Washington Capitals center Jay Beagle (83) during the first period at Verizon Center. Mandatory Credit: Amber Searls-USA TODAY Sports
No. 14: Ottawa Senators
The Sens are currently on a 3-game losing streak, and yet they find themselves trailing only the Canadiens in the Atlantic Division. Ottawa will have a chance to end this skid against the red-hot Capitals, as it strives to hold on to playoff position. Star defenseman Erik Karlsson continues to shine with 32 points (7 goals, 25 assists) in hopes of a playoff run and a shot at another Norris Trophy.
Dec 29, 2016; Calgary, Alberta, CAN; Anaheim Ducks goalie John Gibson (36) guards his net as Calgary Flames left wing Matthew Tkachuk (19) and Anaheim Ducks defenseman Josh Manson (42) battle for the puck during the third period at Scotiabank Saddledome. Anaheim Ducks won 3-1. Mandatory Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
No. 13: Anaheim Ducks
Goaltender John Gibson set a regular-season franchise record in regulation saves with 51 in a shootout victory over the Philadelphia Flyers. Pretty impressive. But obviously allowing that many shots is a concern as the team is hoping to trend in the right direction.
Dec 31, 2016; Calgary, Alberta, CAN; Calgary Flames defenseman Dennis Wideman (6) celebrates his first period goal with right wing Kris Versteeg (10) against the Arizona Coyotes at Scotiabank Saddledome. Mandatory Credit: Candice Ward-USA TODAY Sports
No. 12: Calgary Flames
After a terrible 3-9-1 start for the Flame’s newly-acquired goalie, Brian Elliott, the 31-year-old is beginning to settle in. Collecting 4 wins in his last 4 starts, the Flames netminder is looking to bail out the Flames’ poor defense. Offensively, the team is still playing at high level.
Dec 29, 2016; Edmonton, Alberta, CAN; defensemen Adam Larssen (6) tries to stop Edmonton Oilers forward Connor McDavid (97) from getting to a loose puck during the third period at Rogers Place. Mandatory Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports
No. 11: Edmonton Oilers
Young captain Connor McDavid led all Pacific Division players in All-Star fan votes, and will represent the division as an All-Star captain. Rightfully deserved as the sophomore continues to impress with 43 points (14 goals, 29 assists) to lead the team and be tied for 1st in the entire NHL.
Jan 4, 2017; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia Flyers goalie Steve Mason (35) looks for the puck after making a save against the New York Rangers during the first period at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports
No.10: Philadelphia Flyers
The Flyers have been a surprise in the East despite a current 4-game losing streak. Goaltender Steve Mason has been in net throughout the past four losses, but luckily Michal Neuvirth is back from injury and may provide a boost for the Flyers. Philly’s powerplay percentage ranks 6th in the NHL (21.7), along with the team being 7th in the league at 2.9 goals per game scored.
Jan 2, 2017; St. Louis, MO, USA; St. Louis Blues right wing Vladimir Tarasenko (91) skates with the puck against the Chicago Blackhawks during the second period in the 2016 Winter Classic ice hockey game at Busch Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports
No. 9: St. Louis Blues
St. Louis is beginning to heat up as we’ve reached 2017. The new-look Blues certainly lack the physicality that they’ve grown very accustomed to, but they’ve continued to play at a high level both offensively and defensively. The Blues currently have the 3rd-best PK percentage in the league at 86.4. Vladimir Tarasenko has continued to impress with his team-leading 41 points (18 goals, 23 assists)
Dec 13, 2016; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; San Jose Sharks defenseman Brent Burns (88) during their game against the Toronto Maple Leafs at Air Canada Centre. The Sharks beat the Maple Leafs 3-2 in the shootout. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports
No. 8: San Jose Sharks
After back-to-back losses to the L.A. Kings, San Jose still finds itself in very good position sitting on top of the Pacific Division. Brent Burns seemingly never loses his scoring touch as he leads all defensemen and his team in goals with 15.
Jan 3, 2017; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Capitals left wing Alex Ovechkin (8) celebrates with center Evgeny Kuznetsov (92) and defenseman John Carlson (74) after scoring the game winning goal against the Toronto Maple Leafs in overtime at Verizon Center. The Capitals won 6-5 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Amber Searls-USA TODAY Sports
No. 7: Washington Capitals
In the Caps’ most recent affair, the team battled back from a two-goal deficit in the third to bring home a win in OT. The season has had its ups and downs for Washington, but this is still the deadly team that we saw last year edge closer to the Stanley Cup. Goaltender Braden Holtby has continued to be very reliable as the Capitals have allowed the third fewest goals in the NHL (79).
Dec 29, 2016; Saint Paul, MN, USA; Minnesota Wild goalie Devan Dubnyk (40) makes a save during the third period against the New York Islanders at Xcel Energy Center. The Wild defeated the Islanders 6-4. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports
No. 6: Minnesota Wild
Devan Dubnyk has been rather stellar in goal for the Minnesota Wild with a league-leading 1.75 GAA and 5 shutouts. While we’ve seen Minnesota find great success during the regular season in the past, but will this be the year it translates into postseason glory? The Wild currently rank 4th in GPG (3.1) and 2nd in GAA (2.1).
Dec 17, 2016; St. Louis, MO, USA; Chicago Blackhawks left wing Artemi Panarin (72) is congratulated by right wing Patrick Kane (88) after scoring a empty net goal against the St. Louis Blues during the third period at Scottrade Center. The Blackhawks won 6-4. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports
No. 5: Chicago Blackhawks
While the ‘Hawks have faced their fair share of injuries and offensive struggles, the team still remains in first place in the Central Division with the Wild on their tail. The 2-year extension of Artemi Panarin has proved to be the best news of the season for this team so far. Once the offense can get going from Patrick Kane and Co., watch out!
Jan 3, 2017; Nashville, TN, USA; Montreal Canadiens defenseman Shea Weber (6) celebrates with teammates after an overtime win against the Nashville Predators at Bridgestone Arena. The Canadiens won 2-1 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports
No. 4: Montreal Canadiens
The injury to Alex Galchenyuk was a tough blow for Montreal ,but the team has continued to dominate the formidable Atlantic Division. Shea Weber is fitting into his new home very nicely. Captain Max Pacioretty leads the team with 31 points (16 goals, 15 assists).
Jan 3, 2017; New York, NY, USA; New York Rangers defenseman Nick Holden (22) celebrates his goal against the Buffalo Sabres with New York Rangers center Oscar Lindberg (24) and New York Rangers center J.T. Miller (10) and New York Rangers right wing Jesper Fast (19) during the second period at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
No. 3: New York Rangers
In spite of being in the same division as Columbus and Pittsburgh, the Rangers have remained solid all season long. Special teams have been a strong part of New York’s success as the Rangers are in the top 10 in both PP% and PK%. Offensively this team remains as dominant as ever. Not to mention, having two elite goaltenders is quite the luxury.
Dec 31, 2016; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Penguins center Sidney Crosby (87) readies at the face-off circle against the Montreal Canadiens during the third period at the PPG PAINTS Arena. The Pens won 4-3 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
No. 2: Pittsburgh Penguins
The quest for back-to-back Cups for the Pens’ is sure looking like a strong possibility. There aren’t many teams in the league that possess a single player with points in the 40s. Well, Pittsburgh has two in Sidney Crosby (42) and Evgeni Malkin (43). Currently riding a four-game win streak, the Penguins will look to extend the success at home against the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Jan 3, 2017; Columbus, OH, USA; Columbus Blue Jackets right wing Cam Atkinson (13) celebrates a goal during the first period against the Edmonton Oilers at Nationwide Arena. Mandatory Credit: Russell LaBounty-USA TODAY Sports
No. 1: Columbus Blue Jackets
In case you haven’t heard, the Blue Jackets are for real! Columbus is the story of the entire NHL. Currently on the second-longest winning streak in NHL history with 16 straight wins, Columbus is doing really big things while dominating the entire league. The Blue Jackets have the an NHL-leading plus-52 goal differential along with league’s best PP% (28.3) and GAA (2.0). Columbus is also 2nd in the NHL in GPG at 3.4. This is no fluke, people!
Sergei Bobrovsky leads all goalie in the NHL with 25 wins and only trails Dubnyk in GAA at 1.92. The Jackets can tie the longest win streak in NHL history against the Washington Capitals, but that’s sure easier said than done.
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