Lewis: This week’s Elite Eight would be the pride of the former South East Division


Welcome to the first edition of the Daily Faceoff Power Leaderboard!

Every Monday, we’ll be listing the top NHL teams in the Elite Eight section. We’ll also talk about some teams that are worth mentioning, for good or bad reasons. Finally, we’ll highlight the biggest disaster of the week.

Elite Eight

1. Florida Panthers (18-5-4)

It’s an easy place to start. The Panthers have the best points percentage in the league (0.741), they are tied for second in goal differential (+26) and they have the best expected goal percentage in the league, according to Natural Stat Trick. That they’ve done so well despite Aleksander Barkov’s injury is incredibly impressive.

2. The Carolina Hurricanes (19-7-1)

Without a Sunday night loss to the Vancouver Canucks, the Hurricanes could sit first on this list. They have the best goal differential in the league (+27), thanks to an elite defense and very good goalkeepers from Frederik Andersen. Being difficult to score will go a long way.

3. Washington Capitals (17-5-6)

Although they are ahead of the Canes in terms of points, I have the Capitals behind Carolina because they are slightly supported by the losers’ points. The Capitals are still having a hell of a good season, as they are tied for second in the league in goal differential (+26). 36-year-old Alex Ovechkin is playing at the best points per game pace of his career and he’s doing so without Nicklas Backstrom.

4. Tampa Bay Lightning (17-6-4)

After a rather slow start to the season, the two back-to-back Stanley Cup champions are back. The Lightning enjoyed a five-game winning streak on the road and nearly completed a perfect trip before falling 4-0 to the Ottawa Senators on Saturday afternoon. The highlight of the trip was Tampa Bay’s 5-3 victory over the Leafs in Toronto.

5. Wild of Minnesota (19-8-1)

Finally, we have a Western Conference team. Although the Wild had lost back-to-back games, they had just put together an eight-game winning streak that propelled them to the top of the competitive Central Division standings. Minnesota have a big test on the horizon as their next game will be against the Hurricanes.

6. Toronto Maple Leafs (19-8-2)

The Leafs are tied for the league lead with 40 points. How are they sixth on the power rankings list? Well, they’re seventh in point percentage and goal differential, and they’ve lost two key one-on-one games against other elite teams. The Leafs lost to the Wild in a shootout in early December and were easily knocked out by the Lightning at home last week.

seven.Colorado Avalanche (16-7-2)

Since an embarrassing 8-3 loss to the Leafs, the Avs have been rolling. They are 5-0-1 in their last six games and come off an impressive victory against the Panthers, the best team in the league. Colorado could climb this list quickly if this streak of success continues.

8. New York Rangers (18-6-3)

It might be surprising to see the Rangers, a team tied for second in the league in points percentage, at the bottom of the Elite Eight, but their underlying numbers are cause for concern. New York’s goal differential is a solid +11, but the Rangers are only 26th in the league for expected goals in percentage. Are they really an elite team or is Igor Shesterkin just an elite goalie?

Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports

To note…

the Edmonton Oilers are in free fall.

The team started the season 9-1-0, but are now facing a drop in the playoffs thanks to a five-game losing streak.

It’s been 10 games since Edmonton scored a someone’s goal in their last six games, while Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl are clearly exhausted carrying this team on their backs.

The worst thing about this slippage for the Oilers is the fact that it comes at a time when they badly needed to score points. Edmonton has lost the first four games of a six game homestand and just around the corner there is an eight game swing on the road.

If the Oilers don’t pull themselves together soon, it could turn into a complete implosion.

Remaining in Alberta, the Calgary Flames are also in trouble after a hot start. The Flames are currently in the middle of a four-game losing streak in a season and the NHL just announced Monday that their next three games will be postponed with six Calgary players entering COVID-19 protocol.

And then, all of a sudden, with the Alberta teams in difficulty, the Anaheim Ducks are currently the top team in the Pacific Division with a 16-9-5 record. They’ve been four more games than Edmonton and two more than Calgary, but Trevor Zegras has breathed new life into the Ducks and they look like a legitimate playoff contender.

Along with the Ducks, a few teams that could challenge next week’s Elite Eight if they stay hot are the Pittsburgh penguins and Nashville Predators.

Both teams rank in the top third of the league in terms of expected goals for the percentage and they are starting to see results. Nashville is on a five-game winning streak with four road wins. The Penguins have won four in a row and Evgeni Malkin and Bryan Rust are expected to return from injury soon.

Finally, we must also mention the Vancouver Canucks, which looks like a whole different team with Bruce Boudreau behind the bench. They’ve won four games in a row, which is huge considering their longest winning streak of the season before it was two games.

This week’s disaster …

The Oilers may have ended up as our inaugural disaster, but, understandably, the Arizona Coyotes outscored them.

The Coyotes are a disaster on the ice having lost five straight and are now 5-20-2 for the season. They are also a disaster off the rink, as they were nearly kicked out of their arena mid-season due to unpaid arena fees and overdue tax bills.

It’s certainly not ideal when trying to get help building a billion dollar facility in Tempe.


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