NHL Power rankings: Week 1
1) St. Louis Blues
The Blues are poised for a huge year. Vladimir Tarasenko’s two goals are an excellent sign for a team overflowing with depth, though Alex Pietrangelo’s 150-foot slap-pass to T.J. Oshie for a shorthanded breakaway goal was our favorite highlight of the weekend.
2) Pittsburgh Penguins
Two games, two strong defensive efforts for Pittsburgh. The big road wins came despite a combined 0-for-10 shooting performance by Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin.
3) Boston Bruins
Tuukka Rask will need to continue his strong opening night play. Eight of the Bruins’ next 10 games are against teams that failed to make the playoffs last season.
4) Chicago Blackhawks
Meet your NHL goals leader (4) and points co-leader (5), Marian Hossa. The Blackhawks’ offensive weapons took advantage of their opponents’ early season miscues, putting up 11 goals in two games.
5) Los Angeles Kings
L.A. raised a banner and laid an egg. Until Anze Kopitar returns, they’ll have to forge some chemistry with some unfamiliar top-six combinations. Willie Mitchell’s injury takes some toughness out of the lineup.
6) New York Rangers
Who were these “Rangers” that allowed nine goals over the weekend? The schedule doesn’t get any easier with mid-week matchups against Boston (home) and Philadelphia (away).
7) Vancouver Canucks
Vancouver is a better defensive team than what they showed in getting torched by Teemu Selanne, Daniel Winnik and Anaheim on Saturday. More discomforting was the late lead they were unable to protect against Edmonton.
8) Philadelphia Flyers
It was a disappointing first weekend for Philadelphia, which can’t afford to allow 40 shots to get through to Ilya Bryzgalov, as happened Sunday in Buffalo.
9) Tampa Bay Lightning
The Southeast Division is wide, wide open this year – and we like the Lightning as one of the East’s sleeper teams. Tampa Bay will look to allow fewer than the 30 shots they allowed in Saturday’s win.
10) Minnesota Wild
There were a ton of good stories coming out of the Twin Cities this weekend, including Mikael Granlund, who scored his first NHL goal, and Josh Harding, who won his first game in net after being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis over the summer.
11) San Jose Sharks
Patrick Marleau kicked off his 15th NHL season with a pair of goals in San Jose’s 4-1 win at Calgary, and Brent Burns looks like an Ewok.
12) Washington Capitals
Washington will need a bounce-back year from Alex Ovechkin, who logged an impressive 23:35 of ice time in Saturday’s loss, taking four shots in a point-less effort.
13) Phoenix Coyotes
Phoenix and Vancouver – two of the league’s stingier defensive teams – allowed the most goals in the season’s first weekend. We’re not worried about this mobile defense, or about Mike Smith, a favorite to lead the league in smashed sticks.
14) Ottawa Senators
Jakob Silfverberg’s reward for an excellent Binghamton stint is a spot alongside Jason Spezza and Milan Michalek on Ottawa’s top line. The Sens will have a say in the Northeast Division.
15) Anaheim Ducks
Teemu Selanne’ four-point night was the story on Saturday, but seeing Kyle Palmieri get a ton of chances – and bury one – is an awfully good sign for the Ducks. Keep an eye on the burgeoning prospect as he skates with Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf.
16) Nashville Predators
Roman Josi’s 27 and a half minutes of ice time on Saturday were over two minutes more than Shea Weber’s.
17) Edmonton Oilers
If Devan Dubnyk can play against the rest of the league the way he played against Vancouver on Sunday, the playoffs will return to Oil Country.
18) Detroit Red Wings
Jan Mursak suffered a shoulder injury in the opener, Jonathan Erricson stepped on a puck and went hard into the boards at practice on Sunday, 37-year-old Todd Bertuzzi may have mononucleosis, and the Red Wings were outshot 36-14 in a 6-0 loss to rival St. Louis.
19) Florida Panthers
Brian Campbell took two shots, scored on both, and logged 25:42 of ice time in Florida’s 5-1 win over Carolina. Few players are as important to their team’s cause this season.
20) Carolina Hurricanes
Cam Ward was pulled in Carolina’s 5-1 loss to Colorado, one of several high profile goaltenders (Quick, Lundqvist, Schneider) pulled in the opening weekend. There are plenty of defensive questions about this team.
21) New Jersey Devils
We’re going to wait to hold judgment until they face teams other than the Islanders, but allowing 19 shots on opening night is impressive. Adam Henrique is still “a couple more weeks” away from returning from thumb surgery.
22) Buffalo Sabres
It’s not bad to start the season off with a five point night. Thomas Vanek had a hand in all Buffalo goals in their 5-2 win over Philadelphia on Sunday.
23) Colorado Avalanche
Puck-advancing rookie defenseman Tyson Barrie was impressive for AHL-Lake Erie and logged almost 17 minutes in the loss to Minnesota, registering a plus-1. The team does appear to be short at least one stay-at-home type, however.
24) Dallas Stars
Jaromir Jagr’s start is a terrific hockey story, and we hope he’s able to contribute a ton in 2013. But our eyes are firmly on Dallas’ back end, the weakest blue line in the Pacific Division.
25) Calgary Flames
Mikka Kiprusoff can handle a large workload and is a strong candidate to start the most games in the NHL this season.
26) Montreal Canadiens
The Alex Galchenyuk watch is in full effect – he’ll have five games to prove himself to Michel Therrien, or else it’s back to junior hockey for the 18-year old. Held without a point, the third overall pick took two shots and was encouraging in his 13:07 of ice time.
27) Winnipeg Jets
It’s put up or shut up time for Ondrej Pavelec, who signed a five-year contract over the off-season despite a scarcity of NHL accomplishments.
28) Columbus Blue Jackets
Ryan Johansen’s involvement was a bright spot in the team’s shootout win over Nashville. The former fourth overall pick can be counted on to increase his scoring pace in his sophomore effort.
29) Toronto Maple Leafs
Nazem Kadri’s goal is an important mark for a team that desperately needs help down the center of the ice. With four games this week, it will be interesting to see how Ben Scrivens performs in the three starts he’s likely to receive.
30) New York Islanders
According to Newsday, coach Jack Capuano went directly to Nassau Coliseum from the hospital after emergency surgery to remove kidney stones. He’ll return this week.