NHL Power Rankings: Be afraid – the Colorado Avalanche are peaking at the right time

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We’ve only got four weeks left until the playoffs are underway, and the different tiers of teams are really starting to show in the rankings. You’ve got the top-heavy elite teams of the East, then pretty much every playoff contender in the West before you find anymore of the East contenders, and then wrapping up the list are the teams in no-man’s land and the lottery contenders. This won’t predict who sneaks into the playoffs or wins the lottery, but it’s certainly painting a solid picture of the state of the league with a month left on the year.

As I’ve done so far this season, I’ll be ranking teams not just on their results in the standings but also with how they’ve looked in several stats as well. Otherwise I’d just copy and paste the standings, right? No fun in that. The rankings are an aggregate of six different stats: points %, 5-on-5 goal differential, 5-on-5 xGF/60, 5-on-5 xGA/60, power play xGF/60, and shorthanded xGA/60, all coming courtesy of Natural Stat Trick. But, to ground the rankings a bit, no team can be above a team that’s more than five points ahead in the standings, regardless of where the aggregate places them.

And now that we have our first team clinching a playoff spot, I’ve added another rule that teams that haven’t clinched a playoff spot can’t be ahead of teams that have, although I feel like the five-point rule will prevent that from coming into play anyways.

1. Boston Bruins

Record: 53-11-5 (.804%, 1st)
5v5 Goal Differential: +78 (1st)
5v5 xGF/60: 2.8 (10th)
5v5 xGA/60: 2.34 (2nd)
PP xGF/60: 8.48 (12th)
PK xGA/60: 6.28 (1st)
5v5 PDO: 104
Previous Week: 1st (0)

Oh hey, the Bruins are on another winning streak, what else is new? They did drop their second game in a row after a surprise loss to the Blackhawks, but responded with three wins over the Jets, Wild, and Sabres, and doing so quite easily by outscoring them by a combined score of 15-2.

2. Carolina Hurricanes

Record: 45-15-8 (.721%, 2nd)
5v5 Goal Differential: +34 (5th)
5v5 xGF/60: 3.23 (1st)
5v5 xGA/60: 2.06 (1st)
PP xGF/60: 8.58 (11th)
PK xGA/60: 7.17 (4th)
5v5 PDO: 99.5
Previous Week: 2nd (0)

The Hurricanes got some really bad news this week with Andrei Svechnikov’s injury, as the scoring winger will now be out for the rest of the season with a torn ACL. It’s a big blow for a team already lacking a scoring touch with Max Pacioretty out for the year, so suddenly the lack of a big move at the deadline is glaring as they try to look within for that goal scorer come playoff time.

3. New Jersey Devils

Record: 45-18-7 (.693%, 3rd)
5v5 Goal Differential: +40 (2nd)
5v5 xGF/60: 3.12 (3rd)
5v5 xGA/60: 2.38 (t-5th)
PP xGF/60: 8.87 (8th)
PK xGA/60: 7.53 (9th)
5v5 PDO: 100.5
Previous Week: 3rd (0)

It was a Florida state themed week for the Devils, as even with four games on the calendar last week, the Devils played all of their games against the Florida teams. They started off that stretch with three straight losses, twice to the Lightning and once to the Panthers, before snapping the streak on Sunday with a win over Tampa Bay.

4. Toronto Maple Leafs

Record: 42-18-9 (.674%, 4th)
5v5 Goal Differential: +37 (3rd)
5v5 xGF/60: 2.85 (8th)
5v5 xGA/60: 2.51 (11th)
PP xGF/60: 9.17 (t-6th)
PK xGA/60: 6.5 (2nd)
5v5 PDO: 101.6
Previous Week: 4th (0)

After a rough start to their week with losses in back-to-back games against the Sabres and Avalanche, the Leafs salvaged the week with two straight wins over the Hurricanes and Senators. That said, there are some bigger concerns for the Leafs right now, as they’ve seen their play drop off a lot since all their moves at the deadline, with just two games with a 5v5 xGF% of 50% in the nine games since all of their trades.

5. Dallas Stars

Record: 38-19-13 (.636%, 8th)
5v5 Goal Differential: +25 (7th)
5v5 xGF/60: 2.76 (12th)
5v5 xGA/60: 2.48 (t-8th)
PP xGF/60: 9.77 (3rd)
PK xGA/60: 7.2 (5th)
5v5 PDO: 101.3
Previous Week: 5th (0)

The Stars went .500 last week with two wins and two losses, and while that’s not going to cost them a playoff spot at this point of the season, it has allowed the Avalanche and Wild to creep back into the race for first in the Central Division. Their offense took a bit of a hit as well, as Mason Marchment is going to miss a few weeks with his knee injury.

6. New York Rangers

Record: 41-19-10 (.657%, t-5th)
5v5 Goal Differential: +21 (9th)
5v5 xGF/60: 2.55 (t-21st)
5v5 xGA/60: 2.57 (13th)
PP xGF/60: 10.04 (1st)
PK xGA/60: 7.57 (11th)
5v5 PDO: 101
Previous Week: 8th (+2)

As far as pure offense goes, there’s no team hotter than the Rangers right now. Not only do they have a four-game win streak, but they have also scored 14 unanswered goals over the course of three games. The bulk of that came from a 6-0 win over the Penguins on Saturday and a 7-0 win over the Predators on Sunday, with the latter seeing them score six of them in a span of 11:14 in the first period on six shots.

7. Vegas Golden Knights

Record: 43-21-6 (.657%, t-5th)
5v5 Goal Differential: +15 (t-11th)
5v5 xGF/60: 2.64 (t-18th)
5v5 xGA/60: 2.48 (t-8th)
PP xGF/60: 8.73 (10th)
PK xGA/60: 7.55 (10th)
5v5 PDO: 100.8
Previous Week: 6th (-1)

The Golden Knights had a four-game winning streak snapped thanks to a 7-2 blowout from the Flames, but they bounced back with a 7-2 blowout of their own against the Blue Jackets to end the week. Jack Eichel ended his own struggles in that win over Columbus, snapping a seven-game goalless drought with a hat trick.

8. Edmonton Oilers

Record: 39-23-8 (.614%, 12th)
5v5 Goal Differential: +13 (t-13th)
5v5 xGF/60: 2.93 (6th)
5v5 xGA/60: 2.52 (12th)
PP xGF/60: 9.79 (2nd)
PK xGA/60: 8.27 (t-18th)
5v5 PDO: 100.4
Previous Week: 7th (-1)

The Oilers seem to have a little bit of momentum going again with wins in five of their last six, including three straight against the Senators, Stars, and Kraken. Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl were their usual selves last week, with McDavid getting three goals and seven points while Draisaitl had two and six in their three games last week.

9. Los Angeles Kings

Record: 40-20-10 (.643%, 7th)
5v5 Goal Differential: +7 (15th)
5v5 xGF/60: 2.75 (13th)
5v5 xGA/60: 2.38 (t-5th)
PP xGF/60: 7.64 (21st)
PK xGA/60: 7.32 (6th)
5v5 PDO: 98.7
Previous Week: 10th (+1)

The Kings have certainly done a good job of keeping up to pace with the Golden Knights for first place in the Pacific Division, with points in nine straight games, including seven wins. Joonas Korpisalo has certainly been worth all the trouble that was caused by trading for him for Jonathan Quick, as he’s rocking a .921% save percentage in his first four games with the Kings.

10. Minnesota Wild

Record: 40-22-8 (.629%, 11th)
5v5 Goal Differential: +6 (16th)
5v5 xGF/60: 2.49 (23rd)
5v5 xGA/60: 2.35 (3rd)
PP xGF/60: 9.17 (t-6th)
PK xGA/60: 7.51 (8th)
5v5 PDO: 100.3
Previous Week: 9th (-1)

The Wild had their lengthy point streak broken over the weekend with a 5-2 loss to the Bruins on Saturday, but they still have points in 15 of their last 16 games as they look to keep up with the Stars and Avalanche for the top Central spot. They’ve done this in spite of two more injuries to add to their growing list, with Marcus Foligno and Jake Middleton missing all of last week for them.

11. Tampa Bay Lightning

Record: 42-23-6 (.634%, 9th)
5v5 Goal Differential: +16 (10th)
5v5 xGF/60: 2.88 (7th)
5v5 xGA/60: 2.59 (14th)
PP xGF/60: 7.93 (17th)
PK xGA/60: 8.38 (21st)
5v5 PDO: 100.8
Previous Week: 11th (0)

The Lightning started off last week on the right note with three straight wins over the Devils, the Devils again, and the Canadiens, before dropping their last game of the week (also against the Devils). Kucherov got in on the action despite the loss, which made him the third player this season (and first non-Oiler) to hit the 100-point mark.

12. Colorado Avalanche

Record: 40-22-6 (.632%, 10th)
5v5 Goal Differential: +15 (t-11th)
5v5 xGF/60: 2.62 (20th)
5v5 xGA/60: 2.41 (7th)
PP xGF/60: 7.85 (18th)
PK xGA/60: 8.37 (20th)
5v5 PDO: 100.6
Previous Week: 16th (+4)

That stretch of four losses in five games is long forgotten, as the Avalanche have more than made up for it with a five-game winning streak, with four last week while on a trip out East. That hasn’t stopped the injuries from flowing in, as Artturi Lehkonen joins their list after a broken finger sidelines him for the next several weeks.

13. Winnipeg Jets

Record: 39-29-3 (.570%, 14th)
5v5 Goal Differential: 0 (17th)
5v5 xGF/60: 2.67 (15th)
5v5 xGA/60: 2.63 (16th)
PP xGF/60: 8.42 (13th)
PK xGA/60: 7.57 (11th)
5v5 PDO: 100.2
Previous Week: 12th (-1)

Just as it seemed like the Jets may have snapped their skid with their back-to-back wins in Florida, they kept it going after that with losses in three of their last four games. Part of that is likely due to the injuries they had to deal with, with both Josh Morrissey and Pierre-Luc Dubois missing time last week while Sam Gagner was announced to be out for the rest of the season.

14. Seattle Kraken

Record: 38-24-7 (.601%, 13th)
5v5 Goal Differential: +36 (4th)
5v5 xGF/60: 2.55 (t-21st)
5v5 xGA/60: 2.5 (10th)
PP xGF/60: 6.76 (27th)
PK xGA/60: 7.75 (14th)
5v5 PDO: 100.9
Previous Week: 13th (-1)

Once again, the Kraken find themselves on a cold streak in the midst of a homestand, as they’ve lost four of their last five overall with their only win against the Sharks being their only game on the road in that stretch. The cold stretch has masked some of their smaller successes, as Vince Dunn’s 12-game point streak has really gone under the radar in the hockey world.

15. Calgary Flames

Record: 31-24-15 (.550%, 19th)
5v5 Goal Differential: +13 (t-13th)
5v5 xGF/60: 2.94 (5th)
5v5 xGA/60: 2.36 (4th)
PP xGF/60: 8.22 (14th)
PK xGA/60: 6.81 (3rd)
5v5 PDO: 98.1
Previous Week: 14th (-1)

The Flames find themselves in another stretch of .500 play in their last eight games, something that is already bad news for a team on the outside of the playoff picture, but even worse considering that this stretch was started by ending a five-game losing streak. That hasn’t slowed down Rasmus Andersson, who had six points in their three games last week despite the middling play from the rest of the team.

16. Florida Panthers

Record: 35-27-7 (.558%, 18th)
5v5 Goal Differential: +26 (6th)
5v5 xGF/60: 3.15 (2nd)
5v5 xGA/60: 2.65 (19th)
PP xGF/60: 9.76 (4th)
PK xGA/60: 7.8 (15th)
5v5 PDO: 100.1
Previous Week: 15th (-1)

Now that the Panthers have found some consistency again, they are on fire with points in six straight games, and are now knocking on the doorstep of the postseason. Nothing personifies how hot the Panthers are right now like their 9-5 win over the Montreal Canadiens, which saw them score seven goals in the first period as part of the 10 scored overall.

17. Pittsburgh Penguins

Record: 34-25-10 (.565%, 15th)
5v5 Goal Differential: -8 (20th)
5v5 xGF/60: 3.05 (4th)
5v5 xGA/60: 2.66 (20th)
PP xGF/60: 8.83 (9th)
PK xGA/60: 8.47 (t-23rd)
5v5 PDO: 99.2
Previous Week: 17th (0)

It wasn’t a good week for the Pens, as they lost all three of their games last week while the Panthers keep winning, putting them well at risk of losing their playoff spot. Their injuries to the blueline haven’t helped the matter, with both offseason-addition Jeff Petry and deadline-addition Dmitry Kulikov looking to miss a bit of time after getting hurt last week.

18. New York Islanders

Record: 36-27-8 (.563%, 16th)
5v5 Goal Differential: +23 (8th)
5v5 xGF/60: 2.64 (t-18th)
5v5 xGA/60: 2.75 (t-23rd)
PP xGF/60: 7.52 (23rd)
PK xGA/60: 8.47 (t-23rd)
5v5 PDO: 101.5
Previous Week: 19th (+1)

The Isles keep chipping away at securing a playoff spot, winning two of their last three games while some of the teams behind them have been struggling. Kyle Palmieri had himself a week as well, with two goals and five points to help them out in those three games.

19. Ottawa Senators

Record: 33-31-5 (.514%, t-21st)
5v5 Goal Differential: -31 (28th)
5v5 xGF/60: 2.77 (11th)
5v5 xGA/60: 2.69 (22nd)
PP xGF/60: 9.59 (5th)
PK xGA/60: 8.27 (t-18th)
5v5 PDO: 97.7
Previous Week: 20th (+1)

The Sens may have sealed their postseason fate, as losing five straight at this point of the season is nothing but bad news for a team that needs every point to stay in the hunt. That hasn’t stopped Tim Stutzle and Brady Tkachuk from having fun, with the former putting up seven points last week while the latter registered four goals.

20. Washington Capitals

Record: 33-31-7 (.514%, t-21st)
5v5 Goal Differential: -7 (19th)
5v5 xGF/60: 2.66 (16th)
5v5 xGA/60: 2.64 (t-17th)
PP xGF/60: 7.61 (22nd)
PK xGA/60: 8.03 (17th)
5v5 PDO: 99.3
Previous Week: 18th (-2)

Just as the Capitals were starting to look like they may be back in the playoff conversation, they’ve gone cold again by losing three of their four games last week, with that lone win coming against the struggling Sabres. They also dealt with even more injuries last week, with Alex Ovechkin, Nick Jensen, Darcy Kuemper, and Sonny Milano all in and out of the lineup during their four games.

21. Nashville Predators

Record: 34-26-8 (.559%, 17th)
5v5 Goal Differential: -1 (18th)
5v5 xGF/60: 2.71 (14th)
5v5 xGA/60: 2.82 (26th)
PP xGF/60: 7.47 (25th)
PK xGA/60: 8.47 (t-23rd)
5v5 PDO: 100.6
Previous Week: 21st (0)

The Predators responded to a three-game winning streak by then losing three straight to close out the week, but they’re somehow still in the playoff conversation in spite of that. The last loss was particularly ugly, as they were without Roman Josi when the Rangers lit them up 7-0, including six goals in the first.

22. Detroit Red Wings

Record: 30-29-9 (.507%, 23rd)
5v5 Goal Differential: -21 (23rd)
5v5 xGF/60: 2.2 (29th)
5v5 xGA/60: 2.6 (15th)
PP xGF/60: 7.48 (24th)
PK xGA/60: 7.93 (16th)
5v5 PDO: 99.6
Previous Week: 22nd (0)

The Red Wings got into just two games last week, dropping both matchups to the Predators and Avs to make it 9 losses in their last 11 games, and they now find themselves well outside of the playoff picture. The loss to the Avs did see the debut of one of their top prospects in Simon Edvinsson, who didn’t get a point but still made some noise by taking out Nathan MacKinnon.

23. Vancouver Canucks

Record: 31-33-5 (.486%, t-24th)
5v5 Goal Differential: -22 (t-24th)
5v5 xGF/60: 2.36 (t-24th)
5v5 xGA/60: 2.75 (t-23rd)
PP xGF/60: 8.1 (16th)
PK xGA/60: 8.57 (26th)
5v5 PDO: 99.2
Previous Week: 24th (+1)

The Canucks still find themselves on a hot streak pulling them well out of lottery contention, as they’ve now won seven of their last eight games, including three of their four games last week. Demko has played a big role in this resurgence, with wins in six of his eight starts since returning, along with a .927% save percentage that is sixth among goalies with at least five starts in that span.

24. Buffalo Sabres

Record: 33-30-6 (.522%, 20th)
5v5 Goal Differential: -9 (21st)
5v5 xGF/60: 2.65 (17th)
5v5 xGA/60: 2.76 (25th)
PP xGF/60: 6.81 (26th)
PK xGA/60: 9.19 (29th)
5v5 PDO: 99.6
Previous Week: 23rd (-1)

The Sabres looked like they were bouncing back from their four-game losing streak after starting last week with a comeback win over the Maple Leafs, but they followed it up with three more losses to really make their path to the playoffs difficult. Not even the return of Alex Tuch could help them there, as after scoring two goals in that win over Toronto, he was held off the scoresheet in the next three games.

25. St. Louis Blues

Record: 31-33-5 (.486%, t-24th)
5v5 Goal Differential: -22 (t-24th)
5v5 xGF/60: 2.34 (t-26th)
5v5 xGA/60: 2.89 (27th)
PP xGF/60: 5.97 (31st)
PK xGA/60: 8.43 (22nd)
5v5 PDO: 99.8
Previous Week: 26th (+1)

It’s now 10 games of .500 hockey for the Blues recently, and while that doesn’t entirely help their lottery odds, they could certainly do a lot worse considering some of the other teams in this section of the list. They even got two wins to finish the week, and that was in spite of Jordan Binnington being out of the lineup due to a suspension.

26. Philadelphia Flyers

Record: 25-32-12 (.449%, 27th)
5v5 Goal Differential: -15 (22nd)
5v5 xGF/60: 2.34 (t-26th)
5v5 xGA/60: 2.68 (21st)
PP xGF/60: 5.95 (32nd)
PK xGA/60: 8.89 (28th)
5v5 PDO: 99.4
Previous Week: 25th (-1)

It’s now five losses in the last six games and nine in the last 11 for the Flyers as they are inching closer and closer to Connor Bedard territory. They still have a ways to go, and with John Tortorella at the helm, they are a team that will still pull the odd win out of their hats to make that task tricky.

27. Arizona Coyotes

Record: 27-32-11 (.464%, 26th)
5v5 Goal Differential: -22 (t-24th)
5v5 xGF/60: 2.16 (31st)
5v5 xGA/60: 2.9 (28th)
PP xGF/60: 6.1 (29th)
PK xGA/60: 9.61 (30th)
5v5 PDO: 101
Previous Week: 28th (+1)

I guess the Coyotes really don’t want Connor Bedard, as they’ve now won six of their last seven games, all six of them coming from the home-ice advantage at Mullet Arena. Last week’s three wins included two against other teams in the fight for the bottom spot, as they beat both the Blackhawks and Canucks during this streak.

28. Montreal Canadiens

Record: 27-37-6 (.429%, 28th)
5v5 Goal Differential: -28 (27th)
5v5 xGF/60: 2.26 (28th)
5v5 xGA/60: 3.05 (31st)
PP xGF/60: 6.44 (28th)
PK xGA/60: 9.77 (31st)
5v5 PDO: 99.9
Previous Week: 27th (-1)

The Canadiens are well-into tank mode at this point, as they’ve now lost nine of their last 10 games, although they at least snapped the seven-game losing streak with a win over the Penguins. It wasn’t a great week for their defense and goaltending either, as they gave up an eight-spot to the Avalanche and a nine-spot to the Panthers, including seven goals in the first period of the latter game.

29. San Jose Sharks

Record: 19-37-14 (.371%, 31st)
5v5 Goal Differential: -37 (29th)
5v5 xGF/60: 2.84 (9th)
5v5 xGA/60: 2.64 (t-17th)
PP xGF/60: 7.8 (20th)
PK xGA/60: 7.42 (7th)
5v5 PDO: 98.1
Previous Week: 29th (0)

The Sharks are so cold that the water has probably frozen over at the Shark tank at this point, as they’ve now lost six games in a row and 10 of their last 11. Then again, the hot water they found themselves in on Saturday probably melted said frozen ice, as James Reimer joined the recent trend of players using their religion as an excuse to not partake in Pride Night festivities.

30. Chicago Blackhawks

Record: 24-39-6 (.391%, 30th)
5v5 Goal Differential: -53 (30th)
5v5 xGF/60: 2.06 (32nd)
5v5 xGA/60: 3 (30th)
PP xGF/60: 5.99 (30th)
PK xGA/60: 7.68 (13th)
5v5 PDO: 99.3
Previous Week: 30th (0)

The Blackhawks pulled off a couple surprising wins last week, upsetting the Bruins in a 6-3 win before playing spoiler to the Predators with a 2-1 victory. They lost the game that mattered though, as the Coyotes bested them in a 4-2 loss to end the week and help their lottery odds.

31. Anaheim Ducks

Record: 23-37-10 (.400%, 29th)
5v5 Goal Differential: -68 (32nd)
5v5 xGF/60: 2.18 (30th)
5v5 xGA/60: 3.45 (32nd)
PP xGF/60: 7.82 (19th)
PK xGA/60: 9.86 (32nd)
5v5 PDO: 99.1
Previous Week: 31st (0)

As is tradition, the Ducks found themselves losing three of their last four games, but their lone win came against one of the teams they’re fighting for in the lottery, as they beat the Columbus Blue Jackets 7-4. In fact, that win is the only reason they aren’t in last place, as the five-point rule keeps the Ducks ahead of the Blue Jackets for now.

32. Columbus Blue Jackets

Record: 21-41-7 (.355%, 32nd)
5v5 Goal Differential: -61 (31st)
5v5 xGF/60: 2.36 (t-24th)
5v5 xGA/60: 2.95 (29th)
PP xGF/60: 8.12 (15th)
PK xGA/60: 8.73 (27th)
5v5 PDO: 98.2
Previous Week: 32nd (0)

Unlike some, the Blue Jackets are still committed to losing, as they’ve lost seven of their last eight games including their last three. Of course, their one win was probably the one they really wanted to lose, as it was against the 31st place team in the Sharks, but at least Johnny Gaudreau got a five-point game out of it.


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