NHL Power Rankings: Florida Panthers claw their way back into the top 10


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As we draw into December, we start to see the contenders and the pretenders really separate as they distance themselves in the standings and, as a result, establish their spots in the rankings. That still didn’t stop a few teams from making some big moves on the list, and we even see a new team take the last spot in the rankings.

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 the aggregate.

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1. New Jersey Devils

Record: 20-4-1 (.820%, 2nd)
5v5 Goal Differential: +32 (1st)
5v5 xGF/60: 3.29 (1st)
5v5 xGA/60: 2.06 (1st)
PP xGF/60: 8.65 (10th)
PK xGA/60: 6.69 (3rd)
5v5 PDO: 102.4
Previous Week: 1st (0)

The Devils got their first loss since the Leafs ended their winning streak a few weeks ago, but that hasn’t stopped them from staying on top of the rankings. It also helps that that loss came in overtime, so the Devils are still collecting points on top of their usual dominance. It’s still a young squad, but it’s hard to see this team slowing down any time soon.

2. Boston Bruins

Record: 20-3-0 (.870%, 1st)
5v5 Goal Differential: +25 (2nd)
5v5 xGF/60: 2.74 (t-10th)
5v5 xGA/60: 2.13 (3rd)
PP xGF/60: 9.72 (3rd)
PK xGA/60: 6.24 (2nd)
5v5 PDO: 103.7
Previous Week: 2nd (0)

The Bruins had a quiet week with only two games, but they keep their lock on second place because they still can’t seem to be beaten, or at least beaten consistently. After dropping one to the Panthers two weeks ago, they’ve won three in a row, including two wins over the Lightning and Avalanche last week, with more than 60% of the expected goals in both matches.

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3. Carolina Hurricanes

Record: 14-6-5 (.660%, t-6th)
5v5 Goal Differential: +9 (10th)
5v5 xGF/60: 3.01 (3rd)
5v5 xGA/60: 2.11 (2nd)
PP xGF/60: 9.31 (7th)
PK xGA/60: 6.8 (4th)
5v5 PDO: 99.2
Previous Week: 5th (+2)

The Canes have finally started to put some wins together again, as they now find themselves on a four-game win streak, including winning all three games last week. They weren’t quite as dominant on the scoreboard, but they found themselves on the right side of the expected goals battle, which always helps in these rankings as they shoot up two spots this week.

4. Toronto Maple Leafs

Record: 15-5-6 (.692%, 4th)
5v5 Goal Differential: +12 (t-5th)
5v5 xGF/60: 2.74 (t-10th)
5v5 xGA/60: 2.46 (11th)
PP xGF/60: 9.36 (5th)
PK xGA/60: 6.06 (1st)
5v5 PDO: 101.5
Previous Week: 3rd (-1)

While they didn’t end the week the way they wanted with a 4-3 overtime loss to the Lightning, the Leafs had a five-game win streak beforehand after beating the Wings and the Sharks, and they still haven’t lost in regulation in 11 games. It’s not just the team riding a point streak, either, as Mitch Marner set a franchise record point streak at 19 games with two goals against the Lightning.

5. Vegas Golden Knights

Record: 18-7-1 (.712%, 3rd)
5v5 Goal Differential: +12 (t-5th)
5v5 xGF/60: 2.88 (t-6th)
5v5 xGA/60: 2.37 (6th)
PP xGF/60: 8.39 (t-15th)
PK xGA/60: 7.45 (t-8th)
5v5 PDO: 101.4
Previous Week: 4th (-1)

After a so-so 2-2 mark the week prior, the Golden Knights recovered with wins in two of their three games last week, beating the Blue Jackets and the Red Wings. There may be some signs of concern for Vegas though as Jack Eichel left the win over Detroit early, so that could cause some trouble if he’s out long term.

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6. Dallas Stars

Record: 14-6-5 (.660%, 8th)
5v5 Goal Differential: +16 (4th)
5v5 xGF/60: 2.74 (t-10th)
5v5 xGA/60: 2.56 (t-15th)
PP xGF/60: 10.99 (1st)
PK xGA/60:  7.04 (6th)
5v5 PDO: 102.7
Previous Week: 6th (0)

While the Stars didn’t make any moves this week in the rankings, I’m sure they won’t complain winning two of three games last week, especially when the lone loss was more or less a coin flip in the shootout. They did make some moves off the ice, as they locked up rising star center Roope Hintz to an $8.45 million cap hit for the next eight years.

7. Florida Panthers

Record: 12-9-4 (.560%, t-16th)
5v5 Goal Differential: +11 (t-8th)
5v5 xGF/60: 3.2 (2nd)
5v5 xGA/60: 2.45 (10th)
PP xGF/60: 9.16 (8th)
PK xGA/60: 7.05 (7th)
5v5 PDO: 100
Previous Week: 14th (+7)

The Panthers didn’t exactly start their Northwestern road trip with a bang, dropping the first two games to the Oilers and Flames, but they did manage to recover it with back-to-back blowouts over the Canucks and Kraken. Those two wins were key to their rise in the rankings, as it managed to get them past the five point rule that held them back with the Islanders and Jets last week.

8. Pittsburgh Penguins

Record: 13-8-4 (.600%, 13th)
5v5 Goal Differential: +11 (t-8th)
5v5 xGF/60: 2.99 (5th)
5v5 xGA/60: 2.4 (7th)
PP xGF/60: 8.35 (17th)
PK xGA/60: 8.22 (18th)
5v5 PDO: 101.4
Previous Week: 7th (-1)

The Penguins had themselves another good week after winning two in a row to end last week, besting the Golden Knights and the Blues after dropping their first game of the week to the Hurricanes. However, that’s far from the biggest story in Pittsburgh, as the team and its fans are more concerned about the recovery of Kris Letang after he suffered another stroke last week.

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9. New York Rangers

Record: 11-10-5 (.519%, 21st)
5v5 Goal Differential: 0 (16th)
5v5 xGF/60: 2.81 (8th)
5v5 xGA/60: 2.47 (12th)
PP xGF/60: 10.48 (2nd)
PK xGA/60: 7.74 (12th)
5v5 PDO: 99
Previous Week: 15th (+6)

It wasn’t exactly a banner week for the Rangers, losing three of their four games and only getting a point out of one of those three losses, but luckily for them, they found themselves getting past that Jets-Islanders road block from last week’s rankings. That’s partially because those teams only played two games, but it also helps that the Rangers played well this week despite those losses.

10. Seattle Kraken

Record: 15-6-3 (.688%, 5th)
5v5 Goal Differential: +17 (3rd)
5v5 xGF/60: 2.61 (17th)
5v5 xGA/60: 2.36 (5th)
PP xGF/60: 5.44 (31st)
PK xGA/60: 7.49 (11th)
5v5 PDO: 101.8
Previous Week: 8th (-2)

The Seattle Kraken saw their seven game win streak come to an end as they finished up the week with a loss to Panthers, but that shouldn’t take away from the start they’ve managed to build themselves so far this season. The biggest headline comes from their win over the Kings on Tuesday, where they won a 17-goal, 9-8 game in overtime, the first 9-8 game in the NHL since 2011.

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11. Winnipeg Jets

Record: 15-7-1 (.674%, t-6th)
5v5 Goal Differential: +8 (11th)
5v5 xGF/60: 2.58 (18th)
5v5 xGA/60: 2.74 (t-21st)
PP xGF/60: 8.7 (9th)
PK xGA/60: 8.15 (16th)
5v5 PDO: 101.7
Previous Week: 12th (+1)

The Jets move up a spot in the rankings, and unlike past weeks when it’s been from a benefit of that five point rule, this week was more or less on their own play and merit. A 5-0 blowout of the Avalanche is certainly a good look to start the week, and while the Jets split their next two games, they controlled the play, so they’re starting to look like a bit more of a legit team (although they still rely a bit too much on goaltending and special teams).

12. Tampa Bay Lightning

Record: 15-8-1 (.646%, 9th)
5v5 Goal Differential: +1 (t-14th)
5v5 xGF/60: 2.88 (t-6th)
5v5 xGA/60: 2.55 (14th)
PP xGF/60: 7.85 (t-20th)
PK xGA/60: 8.26 (t-19th)
5v5 PDO: 100.1
Previous Week: 10th (-2)

The Lightning seem to have picked up even more momentum, winning their eight of their last 10 games, with both losses coming to the Bruins. One of those came last week, but they won their other three games to the Sabres, Flyers, and Leafs, and also saw some franchise history with Steven Stamkos becoming the first Lightning player to hit 1,000 points with the team.

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13. Minnesota Wild

Record: 13-9-2 (.583%, 14th)
5v5 Goal Differential: -8 (t-23rd)
5v5 xGF/60: 2.37 (24th)
5v5 xGA/60: 2.22 (4th)
PP xGF/60: 8.49 (13th)
PK xGA/60: 7.45 (t-8th)
5v5 PDO: 98.4
Previous Week: 17th (+4)

The Wild jump up four spots in the rankings thanks to four straight wins, including three straight last week to finally put the team at a decent margin above .500. They dominated the Oilers and Ducks in their wins to start the week and held their own against an equally excellent Stars team, just edging them out in a shootout.

14. Colorado Avalanche

Record: 13-8-1 (.614%, 11th)
5v5 Goal Differential: +3 (13th)
5v5 xGF/60: 2.55 (20th)
5v5 xGA/60: 2.51 (13th)
PP xGF/60: 8.52 (12th)
PK xGA/60: 8.51 (23rd)
5v5 PDO: 100.7
Previous Week: 9th (-5)

It wasn’t exactly the best week for the Avalanche as far as progress goes, as they dropped two of three games last week to the Jets and the Bruins, getting their lone win against the Sabres. They dealt with both wins and losses to the roster as well, as they made a small addition to their team after signing Alex Galchenyuk but also lost one with the injury to Josh Manson.

15. New York Islanders

Record: 16-10-0 (.615%, 10th)
5v5 Goal Differential: +12 (t-5th)
5v5 xGF/60: 2.54 (21st)
5v5 xGA/60: 2.97 (31st)
PP xGF/60: 8.64 (11th)
PK xGA/60: 8.26 (t-19th)
5v5 PDO: 102.2
Previous Week: 13th (-2)

The Islanders lost that advantage they had over a few teams with the five-point rule thanks to starting off last week with back-to-back losses, but they managed to salvage the week with a 3-0 win over Chicago. They won’t get much help in terms of reinforcements, however, as veteran forward Kyle Palmieri’s injury has proven to be worse than expected and will be on injured reserve for a while longer.

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16. Calgary Flames

Record: 11-10-3 (.521%, t-19th)
5v5 Goal Differential: +6 (12th)
5v5 xGF/60: 2.74 (t-10th)
5v5 xGA/60: 2.41 (t-8th)
PP xGF/60: 7.85 (t-20th)
PK xGA/60: 6.86 5th)
5v5 PDO: 99.1
Previous Week: 16th (0)

Could the Flames possibly be on the rebound? It’s far from a streak, but they managed to take two of their three games last week, scoring 5-plus goals in both of their wins as well, and holding their opponent to two goals in all three games (although they only got one goal in the loss to Montreal). However, unlike a few other teams, the Flames couldn’t get past the Islanders with the five-point rule.

17. Los Angeles Kings

Record: 13-10-4 (.556%, 18th)
5v5 Goal Differential: -4 (19th)
5v5 xGF/60: 2.64 (t-15th)
5v5 xGA/60: 2.41 (t-8th)
PP xGF/60: 7.57 (23rd)
PK xGA/60: 7.79 (14th)
5v5 PDO: 98.2
Previous Week: 11th (-6)

It wasn’t exactly the best week for the Kings as they dropped two of three games, but you can’t blame them too much for the losses, as they not only fell to a streaking Hurricanes team to end the week, they were also on the losing side of that chaotic 9-8 game with the Kraken. One casualty came out of that game though, as Cal Petersen was sent down to the AHL after clearing waivers last week.

18. Detroit Red Wings

Record: 12-7-5 (.604%, 12th)
5v5 Goal Differential: -2 (17th)
5v5 xGF/60: 2.21 (t-28th)
5v5 xGA/60: 2.56 (t-15th)
PP xGF/60: 8.44 (14th)
PK xGA/60: 8.26 (t-19th)
5v5 PDO: 100.5
Previous Week: 18th (0)

The Wings seem to be hanging on to a playoff spot still after two months, but they didn’t do themselves any favors last week by losing three of four games. The losses to Toronto and Vegas are somewhat understandable, but they probably shouldn’t be losing to teams like the Sabres if they want to stay competitive. Detroit took another big injury loss as well, as Tyler Bertuzzi is expected to miss the next six weeks after undergoing hand surgery.

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19. Edmonton Oilers

Record: 14-11-0 (.560%, t-16th)
5v5 Goal Differential: -9 (26th)
5v5 xGF/60: 2.65 (14th)
5v5 xGA/60: 2.85 (t-27th)
PP xGF/60: 9.34 (6th)
PK xGA/60: 8.21 (17th)
5v5 PDO: 99.2
Previous Week: 19th (0)

The Oilers seem to have recovered their season a little bit after winning four of their last five games, but they still struggle to move up the rankings as their play still hasn’t backed it up, only winning the expected goals battle in two of the four wins. They have more injury troubles with Kailer Yamamoto and Ryan McLeod on IR for a bit, so a bit of slack can be given, but they should be outplaying their opponents more often with players like Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl in the lineup.

20. Ottawa Senators

Record: 10-13-1 (.438%, 26th)
5v5 Goal Differential: -3 (18th)
5v5 xGF/60: 3 (4th)
5v5 xGA/60: 2.74 (t-21st)
PP xGF/60: 8.39 (t-15th)
PK xGA/60: 9.02 (27th)
5v5 PDO: 99.2
Previous Week: 27th (+7)

The Sens may not be where they expected to be at the start of the season, but they’ve pieced together a decent streak with wins in four of their last five games, and as a result, they’re no longer stuck behind the Canadiens because of the five point rule. They found themselves in uncharted waters off the ice last week as well, as they became the first team in the cap era to not sign an RFA by the Dec. 1 deadline with Alex Formenton (although with his involvement in the case with the 2018 Canadian World Juniors team is still unknown, it likely made him an easy player for prospective suitors to avoid).

21. Buffalo Sabres

Record: 11-13-1 (.460%, t-23rd)
5v5 Goal Differential: +1 (t-14th)
5v5 xGF/60: 2.76 (9th)
5v5 xGA/60: 2.71 (20th)
PP xGF/60: 6.89 (25th)
PK xGA/60: 8.46 (22nd)
5v5 PDO: 100.3
Previous Week: 22nd (+1)

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While splitting your games last week isn’t exactly the best case scenario, I’m sure the Sabres will take it with their recent struggles, and with one of those two losses coming in OT, they’ll take all the points they can get. The defeats being against last season’s Stanley Cup Final matchup in the Lightning and the Avs are forgivable, and the underlying numbers show this team is starting to actually become competitive… just maybe not in the standings this season.

22. Nashville Predators

Record: 12-9-2 (.565%, 15th)
5v5 Goal Differential: -5 (20th)
5v5 xGF/60: 2.64 (t-15th)
5v5 xGA/60: 2.69 (19th)
PP xGF/60: 6.72 (26th)
PK xGA/60: 9.59 (29th)
5v5 PDO: 99.7
Previous Week: 23rd (+1)

The Predators managed to get their schedule back on track after that water main break the other week, and it seems like that break in their schedule did some good, as they swept last week’s games. The Ducks were a gimme, and while the Isles have been successful early on, they’re still a team that the Preds can beat. It’s the 4-3 overtime win over the Devils that’s probably the most impressive of Nashville’s three wins.

23. San Jose Sharks

Record: 8-16-4 (.357%, 31st)
5v5 Goal Differential: -15 (28th)
5v5 xGF/60: 2.5 (22nd)
5v5 xGA/60: 2.57 (17th)
PP xGF/60: 9.37 (4th)
PK xGA/60: 7.47 (10th)
5v5 PDO: 98.6
Previous Week: 20th (-3)

The Sharks placement on our rankings seems to finally be catching up with their record, as the five-point rule has started to drop them down the rankings. I’m surprised it’s taken this long, as it’s felt like they’ve been near the bottom of the league for a while, but it’s finally kicked in this week as a 4-0 win over Montreal to start last week couldn’t save them from three straight losses to the Leafs, Sens, and Sabres dropping them down the standings.

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24. Vancouver Canucks

Record: 10-12-3 (.460%, t-23rd)
5v5 Goal Differential: -6 (21st)
5v5 xGF/60: 2.33 (26th)
5v5 xGA/60: 2.85 (t-27th)
PP xGF/60: 7.68 (22nd)
PK xGA/60: 7.78 (13th)
5v5 PDO: 100.1
Previous Week: 21st (-3)

It wasn’t the prettiest week for the Canucks, as they were dealt back-to-back blowouts to start the week, and ended it with drama against the Coyotes after planning on scratching Brock Boeser before eventually playing him and watching him score. It might be more like this for a while though, as they also found out they’d be without goaltender Thatcher Demko for the next six weeks.

25. Washington Capitals

Record: 10-12-4 (.462%, 22nd)
5v5 Goal Differential: -8 (t-23rd)
5v5 xGF/60: 2.42 (23rd)
5v5 xGA/60: 2.58 (18th)
PP xGF/60: 7.06 (24th)
PK xGA/60: 8.72 (24th)
5v5 PDO: 99.2
Previous Week: 24th (-1)

It was another forgettable week for the Capitals, as after a gimme win against the Canucks, they dropped their next two games to the Kraken and the Flames. At the very least, if they’re mostly just focusing on Ovechkin’s goal record, they hit a goal record this week, as he now has the most goals on the road in NHL history.

26. Montreal Canadiens

Record: 12-11-1 (.521%, t-19th)
5v5 Goal Differential: -8 (t-23rd)
5v5 xGF/60: 2.34 (25th)
5v5 xGA/60: 2.82 (25th)
PP xGF/60: 5.53 (29th)
PK xGA/60: 9.95 (32nd)
5v5 PDO: 98.3
Previous Week: 26th (0)

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The Montreal Canadiens have finally let the Ottawa Senators by, partially thanks to the Sens winning two of three, but also because of the Canadiens’ struggles last week. They barely squeaked by the Flames with a 2-1 win but droped games to the Sharks and Oilers to lose out on enough points to keep that 5-plus point advantage on the Sens.

27. St. Louis Blues

Record: 11-13-0 (.458%, 25th)
5v5 Goal Differential: -12 (27th)
5v5 xGF/60: 2.56 (19th)
5v5 xGA/60: 2.81 (24th)
PP xGF/60: 6.49 (28th)
PK xGA/60: 9.73 (30th)
5v5 PDO: 99
Previous Week: 25th (-2)

The Blues struggles continued last week, as they lost all three games and have lost five of their last six. If you ask me, I think it’s karma for the childish antics of Jordan Binnington, who last week got embarrassed by Jordan Staal while trying to hit him before opting for a cheap shot on Jason Zucker later in the week.

28. Columbus Blue Jackets

Record: 8-13-2 (.391%, 29th)
5v5 Goal Differential: -19 (30th)
5v5 xGF/60: 2.22 (27th)
5v5 xGA/60: 2.87 (29th)
PP xGF/60: 8.1 (19th)
PK xGA/60: 8.96 (25th)
5v5 PDO: 98.7
Previous Week: 28th (0)

It was a pretty average week for the Blue Jackets, or at least by their standards, as they got three of a possible six points with a shootout loss to Vegas, a win over the Jets, and then a loss to the Red Wings to finish off the week. They also had a revolving door of injury news this week, with Patrik Laine and Elvis Merzlikins activated off IR, but also got confirmation that Jakub Voracek, Zach Werenski, and Jake Bean will be out long term.

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29. Chicago Blackhawks

Record: 7-13-4 (.375%, 30th)
5v5 Goal Differential: -26 (31st)
5v5 xGF/60: 1.92 (31st)
5v5 xGA/60: 2.89 (30th)
PP xGF/60: 6.6 (27th)
PK xGA/60: 7.86 (15th)
5v5 PDO: 98.2
Previous Week: 29th (0)

As the Hawks continue to make their slow descent down the standings, they seem to have found themselves a comfortable spot at 29th in the rankings. They almost made some noise with a late comeback in their loss to the Oilers and managed to beat the Rangers on Sunday before getting shut out by the Islanders to end the week.

30. Philadelphia Flyers

Record: 8-12-5 (.420%, 27th)
5v5 Goal Differential: -7 (22nd)
5v5 xGF/60: 2.16 (30th)
5v5 xGA/60: 2.8 (23rd)
PP xGF/60: 5.3 (32nd)
PK xGA/60: 9.89 (31st)
5v5 PDO: 99
Previous Week: 30th (0)

Good news, Flyers fans, the team finally ended that lengthy losing streak at 10 games with a 3-1 win over the Islanders. However, the bad news is that they followed it up with two more losses, and that’s what keeps the Flyers in the bottom three. It seems like this is where the team might be settling down in these rankings for the rest of the season.

31. Anaheim Ducks

Record: 6-17-3 (.288%, 32nd)
5v5 Goal Differential: -27 (32nd)
5v5 xGF/60: 2.21 (t-28th)
5v5 xGA/60: 3.41 (32nd)
PP xGF/60: 8.19 (18th)
PK xGA/60: 9.28 (28th)
5v5 PDO: 98.3
Previous Week: 32nd (+1)

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After a lengthy tenure at the bottom of the rankings, the Ducks have finally been dethroned for worst team in the NHL. It wasn’t really anything the Ducks did in particular to save themselves (unless those two pity points against the Preds and Wild really helped them out), as they dropped all four games last week and find themselves on a six-game losing streak. But the play of the Coyotes warranted the change.

32. Arizona Coyotes

Record: 7-11-4 (.409%, 28th)
5v5 Goal Differential: -17 (29th)
5v5 xGF/60: 1.9 (32nd)
5v5 xGA/60: 2.84 (26th)
PP xGF/60: 5.45 (30th)
PK xGA/60: 9.01 (26th)
5v5 PDO: 99
Previous Week: 31st (-1)

Somewhere the Coyotes are sitting in a corner saying to themselves “one more week” over and over again, as they have just two stops left on a 14-game road trip that’s seen them win just four of the 12 they’ve played so far. As they return to Mullet Arena this Friday, they also received some good news for a future barn as well, with the Tempe City Council voting 7-0 in favour of a new arena.


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