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NHL Power Rankings: Hurricanes Maintain the Top Spot

By Jason Chen,


The Carolina Hurricanes hold the top spot in the NHL power rankings by default, but the Lightning, Flames and Canucks had a rough start to this week.

Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports

With the NHL returning to action on Monday following the All-Star Game, there are no major movements in this week’s power rankings. However, with what few games we got, we can make a few observations.

The Lightning’s age is showing. Their entire bottom six is basically over 30, except for Ross Colton. Steven Stamkos and Alex Killorn are 33, and Nikita Kucherov will turn 30 in June. They’ve also played a ton of hockey over the past few years, a task made tougher with the pandemic. They’re not good on the second night of back-to-backs, with a 3-5-1 record, including blowing a 3-1 lead against the Sharks last night. You wonder if they have enough in the tank for the late-season playoff race and the post-season grind.

The Canucks and Flames continue to struggle, and putting together 60-minute efforts just hasn’t been feasible. It may have been a questionable penalty call in overtime, but the reality was the Canucks shouldn’t have allowed the Devils back into the game when they allowed three goals in 50 seconds. The Flames just couldn’t match up to the Rangers’ physicality, and in both cases for the Pacific Division teams, defensive lapses cost them key points in a tight playoff race.

Here’s this week’s THN power rankings.

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(All fancy stats are 5-on-5 and courtesy of CF% stands for Corsi For Percentage and xGF% represents Expected Goals For Percentage.)

1. Carolina Hurricanes (34-9-8, +37. CF% league rank: 1, xGF% league rank: 1)

No games for the Canes or Bruins until Saturday, which means the Canes retain the top spot by default.

2. Boston Bruins (39-7-5, +81. CF%: 13, xGF%: 5)

While no one really expects Linus Ullmark to go 26-4-1 after the all-star break, it’s worth noting that throughout his career, he’s typically been better in the second half.

3. New Jersey Devils (33-13-4, +41. CF%: 3, xGF%: 2)

The Devils needed only 50 seconds to score three goals to break a 1-1 tie against the Canucks, and Jack Hughes is well on his way to setting franchise records.

4. Toronto Maple Leafs (31-13-8, +34. CF%: 10, xGF%: 3)

Ilya Samsonov allowed five goals in his most recent start against the Bruins, and Matt Murray is not ready to return, so Joseph Woll gets called up again. I’ve lost count of how many goalie headaches the Leafs have had over the past few seasons.

5. New York Rangers (28-14-8, +29. CF%: 9, xGF%: 19)

The Rangers’ physicality could be a huge problem for their opponents in the playoffs. Jacob Trouba gets hate for some borderline hits, but his open-ice cracks against the Flames were works of art. He’s not universally loved, but there’s no denying he has the ability to drag his team into battles.

6. Dallas Stars (29-13-10, +41. CF%: 15, xGF%: 14)

They narrowly avoided a fourth straight 3-2 overtime loss and needed Jake Oettinger’s heroics in the shootout. They have not won in regulation since Jan. 21 against the Coyotes.

7. Tampa Bay Lightning (32-16-2, +27. CF%: 11, xGF%: 8)

As noted above, it was a bad back-to-back stretch for the Lightning coming out of the all-star break. For a team whose Cup window is still open, they’ve been strangely quiet leading up to the deadline considering the splashy moves they’ve made in the past.

8. Winnipeg Jets (32-19-1, +29. CF%: 18, xGF%: 21)

The Jets are one of six teams that won’t play their first game following the All-Star Game until Saturday. Will they be rusty or get back on track after losing five of their past eight?

9. Edmonton Oilers (29-18-4, +28. CF%: 16, xGF%: 11)

They have not lost in regulation since Jan. 9, owing to their incredible offense that now leads the league in goals per game, overtaking the Bruins thanks to a five-goal effort against the Wings. Also good news: Jack Campbell’s playing well.

10. Colorado Avalanche (27-18-4, +17. CF%: 5, xGF%: 16)

Getting Valeri Nichushkin and Bowen Byram back should provide a big boost, even though they lost in overtime to the Pens. Next to return to the lineup? Hopefully, captain Gabriel Landeskog.

11. Vegas Golden Knights (30-18-4, +16. CF%: 20, xGF%: 7)

They came out firing following the All-Star Game and dominated the Preds. Interesting Bruce Cassidy went with Adin Hill over Logan Thompson. Their goaltending situation will be one to watch down the stretch.

12. Seattle Kraken (29-16-5, +22. CF%: 8, xGF%: 17)

They keep scoring and scoring until it just suddenly stops. Tuesday’s loss was just their second shutout loss of the season but also their fifth in eight games.

13. Minnesota Wild (27-18-4, +12. CF%: 19, xGF%: 18)

C’mon, man, you gotta beat the Coyotes.

14. Calgary Flames (24-17-10, +4. CF%: 2, xGF%: 4)

Jacob Markstrom breaking his stick on the post following the overtime loss to the Rangers says it all, but maybe he should’ve aimed that swing at Nikita Zadorov, who blew the coverage on Alexis Lafreniere and was also inexplicably on the ice in overtime.

15. Buffalo Sabres (26-20-4, +16. CF%: 6, xGF%: 20)

The Sabres have Tage Thompson and Dylan Cozens locked up through the 2029-30 season for a combined $14.24 million. It’s like the Extra Value Meal on steroids.

16. Los Angeles Kings (28-18-7, -10. CF%: 12, xGF%: 12)

It’ll be interesting to see what they do in net. Both Jonathan Quick and Pheonix Copley lost prior to the all-star break.

17. Pittsburgh Penguins (25-16-9, +9. CF%: 17, xGF%: 10)

Knocking off the Avs must be a huge confidence booster, but Sidney Crosby was right – the league’s as competitive as ever, and on any given night, any team could beat any team.

18. Washington Capitals (27-20-6, +14. CF%: 14, xGF%: 15)

The Caps' early-season success is long in the rearview mirror, and the reality is that this is an aging team that might have too many injuries to overcome this season.

19. Florida Panthers (25-22-6, +1. CF%: 4, xGF%: 6)

An impressive 7-1 defeat of their in-state rival, and Sergei Bobrovsky and Spencer Knight are healthy. At the very worst, Alex Lyon seems to have proven he’s at least a capable third option.

20. New York Islanders (27-22-5, +9. CF%: 22, xGF%: 23)

The Bo Horvat era is off to a roaring start with two straight wins and outscoring their opponents 6-1. The race is on, and the Isles have surprised in the past.

21. Nashville Predators (24-19-6, -8. CF%: 21, xGF%: 22)

The loss against the Knights was uglier than the actual score, 5-1, and it’s been difficult for the Preds to put together any meaningful winning streaks when only Juuse Saros shows up.

22. Ottawa Senators (24-23-3, -8. CF%: 7, xGF%: 13)

The Sens won’t make the playoffs, and the real story in Ottawa now is the sale of the team. Considering the state of regional sports networks in the U.S. and how some huge TV money has propped up franchise values, it’s going to be interesting to see what the sale price will be. It should be a bigger story than it is right now.

23. Philadelphia Flyers (21-22-9, -21. CF%: 25, xGF%: 25)

John Tortorella penned a rare letter to the Flyers fanbase, and, as usual, he was brutally honest. It means the Flyers are selling, and curiously it came from Tortorella’s pen and not Chuck Fletcher’s. Is there light at the end of the tunnel?

24. Vancouver Canucks (20-26-4, -29. CF%: 24, xGF%: 24)

Impressive comeback against the Devils, even though they shouldn’t have been in that spot in the first place. Not ironically, the Canucks needed a minor-leaguer who hadn’t scored in the NHL in 710 days to score the game-tying goal. They simply don’t make things easy on themselves, and their leadership always seems… scattered.

Predicting the Last-Place NHL Team in 2022-23 (; 4:02)

25. Detroit Red Wings (21-20-8, -18. CF%: 26, xGF%: 26)

Dylan Larkin’s contract stalemate is climbing up the ranks on issues that Michigan would consider a state emergency, and the Yzerplan has hit a major crossroad. The free-agent spree didn’t go as planned. Whether Steve Yzerman likes it or not, the decision to re-sign his Michigan-born, Michigan-raised, Michigan-developed team captain might come down to a decision between sentimental value and practical business sense. Plot twist: the Wings and Larkin do a nudge-nudge deal where they trade him as a rental, giving the Wings a potential haul and maybe creating cap space to facilitate other trades to get more assets, and then in the summer, the Wings will just re-sign Larkin.

26. Arizona Coyotes (17-28-6, -45. CF%: 30, xGF%: 30)

Mullett Arena’s fun factor continues to be at a fever pitch, and they’re now 3-1-0 at home over the past two weeks.

27. Anaheim Ducks (17-29-6, -80. CF%: 31, xGF%: 32)

A shootout loss to the Stars and an overtime win against the Hawks bump up the Ducks. It’s also clear that the difference between being pretty bad and being the league’s worst is whether Vezina-caliber John Gibson or get-me-outta-here John Gibson shows up. Sometimes, I think he’s silently crying out for help.

28. Chicago Blackhawks (15-29-5, -59. CF%: 32, xGF%: 31)

We could see Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane finish the season with the Blackhawks, and they should. They can always re-sign in the summer on a one-year deal and do the same dance next year. (I do wonder about the dynamic between Canucks fan Connor Bedard sitting in the same locker room as Toews and Kane). They deserve a nice send-off in front of their fans, and Game 82 on April 13 will be at home against the Flyers, the team Toews and Kane defeated to win their first Cup in 2010. John Tortorella will be the witness – he previously coached Kane (along with James van Riemsdyk) on Team USA at the 2016 World Cup, and obviously, Tortorella has coached against Toews many times internationally.

29. St. Louis Blues (23-25-3, -29. CF%: 28, xGF%: 27)

Time moves fast. It wasn’t even four years ago the Blues lifted the Cup, and yet today, they’re closer to bottoming out than contending.

30. San Jose Sharks (16-25-11, -38. CF%: 23, xGF%: 9)

An impressive comeback win against the Lightning, but we all know this team’s going wayyy down there… there… there… there…

31. Montreal Canadiens (20-27-4, -55. CF%: 27, xGF%: 29)

The Habs have so many injuries up front. As of Tuesday night, per CapFriendly , they’re carrying just nine healthy forwards on their roster. Nine .

32. Columbus Blue Jackets (15-32-4, -67. CF%: 29, xGF%: 28)

This is the worst season in Jackets history. But I hear Columbus is a nice place to live?

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