NHL Power Rankings: No defensemen, no problem for rising Toronto Maple Leafs


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U.S. Thanksgiving weekend has come and gone, and with that, teams that are well out of a playoff spot at this point traditionally don’t make it back in, so this is where the rankings start to have a bit more meaning to them. More interestingly, we have our most chaotic result from the five-point rule yet, as two teams are holding up another four in this week’s 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: 18-4-0 (.818, 2nd)
5v5 Goal Differential: +29 (1st)
5v5 xGF/60: 3.41 (1st)
5v5 xGA/60: 2.05 (1st)
PP xGF/60: 9.13 (7th)
PK xGA/60: 6.45 (3rd)
5v5 PDO: 102.1
Previous Week: 1st (0)

The Devils dynasty at the top of the power rankings continues, but it probably doesn’t feel like much of a win for Devils fans after last week. Despite going 3-1-0 on the week, that loss weighs the most, as their 13-game winning streak came to an end in controversial fashion in a 2-1 loss to the Maple Leafs where the Devils had three goals disallowed. It certainly sours the week, but otherwise it was a great week with wins over the Oilers, Sabres, and the Capitals, and that loss to the Leafs may have been their best played game of the week too.

2. Boston Bruins

Record: 18-3-0 (.857%, 1st)
5v5 Goal Differential: +21 (2nd)
5v5 xGF/60: 2.74 (t-10th)
5v5 xGA/60: 2.19 (3rd)
PP xGF/60: 10.13 (2nd)
PK xGA/60: 6.3 (2nd)
5v5 PDO: 103.4
Previous Week: 2nd (0)

And like the Devils with the first spot, the Bruins have a firm grip on the second place spot. They managed to be beaten again last week, with a 5-2 loss to the Panthers, but it doesn’t even matter, as they’ve been dominant regardless and banked in so many points already with only three losses through 21 games. They did lose goaltender Linus Ullmark on Friday, who’s been unbeatable in the crease so far this season, so they might start to slow down a bit, but Jeremy Swayman isn’t exactly a large drop in quality either.

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3. Toronto Maple Leafs

Record: 13-5-5 (.674%, 6th)
5v5 Goal Differential: +10 (t-5th)
5v5 xGF/60: 2.77 (9th)
5v5 xGA/60: 2.42 (9th)
PP xGF/60: 8.85 (8th)
PK xGA/60: 6.2 (1st)
5v5 PDO: 101.2
Previous Week: 6th (+3)

While the top two spots are quite stagnant, we have a new addition to the top three, as the Leafs climb up a few positions riding a three-game win streak and points in 12 of their past 13 games, all without Jake Muzzin, T.J. Brodie, and Morgan Rielly at certain points of the stretch, and without all of them currently. They also managed to get in the middle of controversy a couple of times last week, first being the beneficiary of a few disallowed goals in their 2-1 win over the Devils, and then Matt Murray getting some attention for knocking the net off a few times against the Wild.

4. Vegas Golden Knights

Record: 16-6-1 (.717%, 3rd)
5v5 Goal Differential: +12 (4th)
5v5 xGF/60: 2.89 (7th)
5v5 xGA/60: 2.34 (7th)
PP xGF/60: 8.29 (15th)
PK xGA/60: 7.02 (4th)
5v5 PDO: 101.4
Previous Week: 4th (0)

The Golden Knights had a week that wasn’t the norm for this squad, splitting their four games, including two straight losses to end the week. They started off strong with wins over both the Canucks and the Senators, but then struggled as they dropped games to the Kraken and then the Canucks in their second matchup of the week. The Golden Knights weren’t going to win 75 percent of their games all season, so going .500 is still far from a disaster for this well-rounded team.

5. Carolina Hurricanes

Record: 11-6-5 (.614%, 12th)
5v5 Goal Differential: +4 (12th)
5v5 xGF/60: 2.94 (6th)
5v5 xGA/60: 2.06 (2nd)
PP xGF/60: 9.49 (4th)
PK xGA/60: 7.16 (8th)
5v5 PDO: 98.2
Previous Week: 5th (0)

The Canes still seem to be struggling to put together wins, as they had another poor showing last week after dropping three of four. They saw their losing streak hit five games as the week went on, dropping three straight last week to the Jets, Coyotes, and Bruins before finishing the week on a strong note with a 3-2 win over the Flames.

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6. Dallas Stars

Record: 12-6-4 (.636%, 10th)
5v5 Goal Differential: +10 (t-5th)
5v5 xGF/60: 2.69 (t-13th)
5v5 xGA/60: 2.59 (16th)
PP xGF/60: 11.91 (1st)
PK xGA/60: 7.07 (6th)
5v5 PDO: 102.2
Previous Week: 3rd (-3)

The Stars dropped a few spots this week after also struggling to find wins. Part of it was just bad timing schedule-wise, as the week was bookended with two games against the Avalanche, who seem to have found their groove again, and the Stars got just one point as a result. They did get a point in their other loss to the Jets, while beating Chicago in their lone win of the week, but the bigger surprise was that they struggled despite Jason Robertson’s six goals and eight points in those four games, which catapulted him to second in league scoring.

7. Pittsburgh Penguins

Record: 11-8-3 (.568%, 13th)
5v5 Goal Differential: +9 (9th)
5v5 xGF/60: 2.97 (4th)
5v5 xGA/60: 2.41 (8th)
PP xGF/60: 8.62 (11th)
PK xGA/60: 8.11 (19th)
5v5 PDO: 101.5
Previous Week: 9th (+2)

The Penguins continued their return to form last week, extending their win streak to five games after a 2-1 win over the Flames and a 4-1 win over the Flyers. That streak came to an end after a poor showing on Saturday against the Maple Leafs, who coincidentally also were the last team they had lost to before the win streak started.

8. Seattle Kraken

Record: 13-5-3 (.690%, 4th)
5v5 Goal Differential: +18 (3rd)
5v5 xGF/60: 2.6 (18th)
5v5 xGA/60: 2.32 (t-5th)
PP xGF/60: 5.32 (32nd)
PK xGA/60: 7.09 (7th)
5v5 PDO: 102.7
Previous Week: 11th (+3)

With the Devils out of the way, the Kraken are the hottest team in the league at the moment with a five-game winning streak, including wins over the Kings, Sharks, Golden Knights, and Ducks last week. They aren’t quite as good as their position in the standings indicates, but they are certainly a much better team than last year’s.

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9. Colorado Avalanche

Record: 12-6-1 (.658%, 7th)
5v5 Goal Differential: +10 (t-5th)
5v5 xGF/60: 2.55 (20th)
5v5 xGA/60: 2.49 (13th)
PP xGF/60: 8.66 (10th)
PK xGA/60: 8.16 (21st)
5v5 PDO: 102.3
Previous Week: 10th (+1)

The Avalanche only managed to play three of their four scheduled games last week, as their Friday matchup against the Predators was postponed due to a water main break flooding Bridgestone Arena in Nashville. They had a solid week otherwise, winning both of their matchups against the Dallas Stars but losing to the Canucks on Wednesday.

10. Tampa Bay Lightning

Record: 12-7-1 (.625%, 11th)
5v5 Goal Differential: +3 (13th)
5v5 xGF/60: 2.95 (5th)
5v5 xGA/60: 2.62 (17th)
PP xGF/60: 7.54 (20th)
PK xGA/60: 8.41 (23rd)
5v5 PDO: 100.4
Previous Week: 12th (+2)

It was a relatively quiet week for the Lightning, only getting into two games, so it doesn’t really give them a lot of room to move too much in the rankings. They started off the week with a loss to the Bruins that they played well in and rebounded with a 5-2 win over the Blues last week.

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11. Los Angeles Kings

Record: 12-9-3 (.563%, 14th)
5v5 Goal Differential: -1 (t-17th)
5v5 xGF/60: 2.67 (15th)
5v5 xGA/60: 2.32 (t-5th)
PP xGF/60: 7.13 (23rd)
PK xGA/60: 7.84 (15th)
5v5 PDO: 98.7
Previous Week: 13th (+2)

The Kings’ struggles continued last week, with another one-win showing after losing two of their three games. They managed to take care of one of their easy matchups by beating the Sharks, but they couldn’t get it done against the Rangers and lost their other winnable matchup against the Sens. In fact, the only reason the Kings moved up in the rankings this week is because the Jets and Islanders are playing traffic control with the five point rule.

12. Winnipeg Jets

Record: 13-6-1 (.675%, 5th)
5v5 Goal Differential: +6 (11th)
5v5 xGF/60: 2.5 (22nd)
5v5 xGA/60: 2.69 (19th)
PP xGF/60: 8.4 (13th)
PK xGA/60: 8.81 (26th)
5v5 PDO: 101.5
Previous Week: 15th (+3)

The Jets move up a few places this week, and while they did win three of four last week and looked alright in those games, that’s not the reason they moved up. They sit in 12th because the five-point rule skips them ahead of the Panthers, Rangers, Flames, and Wild, as otherwise the Jets sit 16th in the aggregate. Connor Hellebuyck has proven in the past that he can mask this team’s poor play, so it’s not exactly unsustainable, but it’s not the best strategy either.

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13. New York Islanders

Record: 15-8-0 (.652%, 8th)
5v5 Goal Differential: +10 (t-5th)
5v5 xGF/60: 2.56 (19th)
5v5 xGA/60: 3.1 (31st)
PP xGF/60: 8.32 (14th)
PK xGA/60: 8.12 (20th)
5v5 PDO: 102.5
Previous Week: 16th (+3)

You’d think a team that won all four games they played last week would move up a lot higher in the rankings than they are, but it doesn’t do them a whole lot here when they got outplayed significantly in all four matchups. They lost the expected goals battle in all four games, with 42.68 percent against the Leafs, 32.18 percent against the Oilers, 37.58 percent against the Blue Jackets and 36.61 percent against the Flyers. And like the Jets above them, they’re actually four places higher than they would be otherwise due to the five-point rule.

14. Florida Panthers

Record: 10-8-3 (.548%, t-15th)
5v5 Goal Differential: +7 (10th)
5v5 xGF/60: 3.17 (2nd)
5v5 xGA/60: 2.45 (10th)
PP xGF/60: 9.42 (5th)
PK xGA/60: 7.18 (9th)
5v5 PDO: 99.2
Previous Week: 8th (-6)

Regression seems to still be holding back this Panthers team that, despite sitting outside a playoff spot after U.S. Thanksgiving, has actually put up better underlying numbers than last year’s team. They split both games last week, beating a strong Bruins team 5-2 before losing to 5-4 in OT to the Blues, but what might be the bigger concern is that they’ve lost Aleksander Barkov for the next couple games due to an illness.

15. New York Rangers

Record: 10-8-4 (.545%, 17th)
5v5 Goal Differential: -1 (t-17th)
5v5 xGF/60: 2.81 (8th)
5v5 xGA/60: 2.48 (12th)
PP xGF/60: 10.06 (3rd)
PK xGA/60: 7.31 (11th)
5v5 PDO: 98.7
Previous Week: 7th (-8)

The Rangers’ interesting season continues as, after continuing their point streak with a 5-3 win over the Kings, they dropped two straight, including a 3-0 collapse at the hands of the Oilers on Saturday. They also moved on from winger Ryan Reaves this week, shipping him off to the Wild, so that gives them some cap space to maybe add another piece to help the team going forward.

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16. Calgary Flames

Record: 9-9-3 (.500%, t-21st)
5v5 Goal Differential: 0 (t-15th)
5v5 xGF/60: 2.74 (t-10th)
5v5 xGA/60: 2.46 (11th)
PP xGF/60: 7.85 (19th)
PK xGA/60: 7.04 (5th)
5v5 PDO: 98
Previous Week: 14th (-2)

The early struggles for the Flames are starting to reach higher levels of concern, as they’re slowly running out of runway as we’ve passed that infamous U.S. Thanksgiving threshold. They started off the week well, beating a Flyers team that’s struggling more than the Flames are, but then dropped three straight to the Penguins, Capitals, and Hurricanes, only getting one point in that stretch.

17. Minnesota Wild

Record: 10-9-2 (.524%, t-18th)
5v5 Goal Differential: -10 (26th)
5v5 xGF/60: 2.29 (26th)
5v5 xGA/60: 2.28 (4th)
PP xGF/60: 8.75 (9th)
PK xGA/60: 7.21 (10th)
5v5 PDO: 98.2
Previous Week: 18th (+1)

The Wild move up a spot after winning two of three last week, blowing out the Jets and besting the Coyotes while losing a close game to the Leafs, but this team should probably be higher. The aggregate had them up in 15th if not for them being the fourth and final team held up by the Jets and Islanders, so as long as they get some more points and catch up there, they’ll keep moving up the list.

18. Detroit Red Wings

Record: 11-5-4 (.650%, 9th)
5v5 Goal Differential: -2 (20th)
5v5 xGF/60: 2.15 (30th)
5v5 xGA/60: 2.54 (15th)
PP xGF/60: 8.21 (17th)
PK xGA/60: 7.44 (13th)
5v5 PDO: 101.1
Previous Week: 17th (-1)

The Red Wings also only got into two games last week, but they added to their win streak by winning both of them to increase it all the way to four. They still struggle to outplay teams to get their wins, which is why they still haven’t moved up the rankings much, but they did have 75.5% of the expected goals against the Coyotes (albeit, that’s not much of a feat this season against that team).

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19. Edmonton Oilers

Record: 11-10-0 (.524%, t-18th)
5v5 Goal Differential: -11 (27th)
5v5 xGF/60: 2.69 (t-13th)
5v5 xGA/60: 2.89 (29th)
PP xGF/60: 9.23 (6th)
PK xGA/60: 8.08 (18th)
5v5 PDO: 98.6
Previous Week: 19th (0)

It wasn’t a great start to last week for the Oilers, as they lost quite badly to the Devils and then were shut out by the Islanders, and were even down 3-0 to the Rangers on Saturday, but they managed to salvage the week with four unanswered goals in the fourth to take the win there. Jack Campbell’s bad luck also continued this week, as he took a puck to the face in a game he wasn’t even playing in.

20. San Jose Sharks

Record: 7-13-4 (.375%, t-30th)
5v5 Goal Differential: -15 (28th)
5v5 xGF/60: 2.53 (21st)
5v5 xGA/60: 2.53 (14th)
PP xGF/60: 8.6 (12th)
PK xGA/60: 7.36 (12th)
5v5 PDO: 97.9
Previous Week: 21st (+1)

The Erik Karlsson effect continues to be a thing with the Sharks, as even despite losing three in a row, they somehow move up a spot in the rankings. To really put it in perspective, the Sharks sit at an almost dead even 49.95 percent in expected goals percentage overall at the moment, and that drops to 39.74 percent with Karlsson off the ice. They’d also have the worst expected goals for rate and the ninth-worst expected goals against rate in the league with Karlsson off the ice. Karlsson is a big reason this team isn’t fighting for the worst spot in this list.

21. Vancouver Canucks

Record: 9-10-3 (.477%, 23rd)
5v5 Goal Differential: +1 (14th)
5v5 xGF/60: 2.36 (24th)
5v5 xGA/60: 2.78 (24th)
PP xGF/60: 7.4 (22nd)
PK xGA/60: 7.99 (17th)
5v5 PDO: 101.4
Previous Week: 20th (-1)

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The Canucks seem to be streaking, and that’s played a huge part in recovering their record to almost .500 again after that dreadful start. They’ve now won three in a row and five of their last six, but the reason why that hasn’t moved them up the rankings is because their underlying numbers are actually getting worse, to the point where they might be overperforming. No team will ever say no to wins, but the
Canucks might regret streaks like this if they just miss out on a franchise player in the draft in 2023.

22. Buffalo Sabres

Record: 9-12-0 (.429%, 26th)
5v5 Goal Differential: -1 (t-17th)
5v5 xGF/60: 2.66 (16th)
5v5 xGA/60: 2.73 (21st)
PP xGF/60: 6.22 (28th)
PK xGA/60: 7.85 (16th)
5v5 PDO: 100.1
Previous Week: 25th (+3)

The Sabres managed to put an end to their eight-game losing streak last week with a couple of blowouts, smoking the Canadiens 7-2 and then ending the Blues’ eight-game winning streak with a 6-2 win before losing 3-1 to the Devils. While it definitely beats losing nonstop, it’s not a ton of progress when they only beat the teams they’re better than. But this team probably shouldn’t have playoff aspirations at this point of the season.

23. Nashville Predators

Record: 9-9-2 (.500%, t-21st)
5v5 Goal Differential: -6 (23rd)
5v5 xGF/60: 2.72 (12th)
5v5 xGA/60: 2.72 (20th)
PP xGF/60: 6.59 (25th)
PK xGA/60: 9.67 (29th)
5v5 PDO: 99.1
Previous Week: 23rd (0)

I mentioned the water main break earlier, but the Predators were obviously the biggest losers from that with it happening in their own arena. As a result, they only played two games earlier in the week, beating the Coyotes 4-3 in a shootout before losing to the Red Wings 3-0. It’s unclear at the moment how long the water main break will impact their arena, but thankfully for them they go on a three-game road trip after tomorrow’s game against the Ducks, which has yet to be delayed.

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24. Washington Capitals

Record: 9-11-3 (.457%, 24th)
5v5 Goal Differential: -7 (t-24th)
5v5 xGF/60: 2.43 (23rd)
5v5 xGA/60: 2.65 (18th)
PP xGF/60: 7.07 (24th)
PK xGA/60: 8.79 (25th)
5v5 PDO: 99
Previous Week: 24th (0)

The Capitals had a better week than what they’ve become accustomed to this season, as they managed to take two of their three games last week. However, those two wins came against two struggling teams in the Flyers and the Flames, and then they proceeded to get blown out by the Devils, so it’s not exactly a strong sign of progress either.

25. St. Louis Blues

Record: 11-10-0 (.524%, t-18th)
5v5 Goal Differential: -7 (t-24th)
5v5 xGF/60: 2.64 (17th)
5v5 xGA/60: 2.76 (23rd)
PP xGF/60: 6.45 (27th)
PK xGA/60: 9.81 (30th)
5v5 PDO: 99.5
Previous Week: 22nd (-3)

Well, that high rise in last week’s rankings didn’t last long. For the first time this season, the Blues weren’t incredibly streaky last week, ending their seven-game winning streak with a 3-1 win over the Ducks and then dropping two to the Sabres and the Lightning. They recovered the week with a 5-4 win over the Panthers.

26. Montreal Canadiens

Record: 11-9-1 (.548%, t-15th)
5v5 Goal Differential: -4 (t-21st)
5v5 xGF/60: 2.35 (25th)
5v5 xGA/60: 2.84 (t-25th)
PP xGF/60: 5.57 (30th)
PK xGA/60: 9.98 (31st)
5v5 PDO: 99.1
Previous Week: 26th (0)

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While this holdup isn’t quite as chaotic as what the Jets and Islanders are doing further up the list, the length that the Canadiens have held up the Senators these past few weeks with the five-point rule is on the level of Fernando Alonso (that one was for my fellow F1 fans). They keep banking in the points to maintain this, as after getting blown out by the Sabres to start last week, they got two more wins against Columbus and Chicago to keep themselves in the middle of the pack for the time being.

27. Ottawa Senators

Record: 8-12-1 (.405%, 28th)
5v5 Goal Differential: 0 (t-15th)
5v5 xGF/60: 3.03 (3rd)
5v5 xGA/60: 2.74 (22nd)
PP xGF/60: 8.09 (18th)
PK xGA/60: 8.23 (22nd)
5v5 PDO: 99.7
Previous Week: 27th (0)

The Sens spent the week out West, and while a 2-2 week isn’t ideal, it’s much better than what they’ve seen lately. While they started off dropping the first two games to the Sharks and Golden Knights, they fared much better later in the week with wins over the Ducks and Kings. I’d say that may have saved D.J. Smith’s job for now, but it doesn’t seem like Pierre Dorion is changing the coaching position anytime soon regardless of wins and losses, no matter how much it’s needed in Ottawa.

28. Columbus Blue Jackets

Record: 7-12-1 (.375, t-30th)
5v5 Goal Differential: -22 (32nd)
5v5 xGF/60: 2.21 (t-27th)
5v5 xGA/60: 2.84 (t-25th)
PP xGF/60: 8.24 (16th)
PK xGA/60: 8.82 (27th)
5v5 PDO: 97.8
Previous Week: 30th (+2)

Last week I mentioned that the Blue Jackets were pulling themselves away from the bottom three and closer to the next level of teams with Chicago and Philadelphia, and not only did they do that, they passed both of them. They didn’t exactly do much to get the job done, losing both of their games last week, but they managed to just simply not play as poorly as the teams they passed from a play-driving standpoint.

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29. Chicago Blackhawks

Record: 6-11-4 (.381%, 29th)
5v5 Goal Differential: -21 (31st)
5v5 xGF/60: 1.91 (31st)
5v5 xGA/60: 2.88 (28th)
PP xGF/60: 6.56 (26th)
PK xGA/60: 7.49 (14th)
5v5 PDO: 98.4
Previous Week: 29th (0)

Well, any hope of that fight for a playoff spot from this Chicago team has gone straight out the window after losing seven straight, including three last week to the Stars, Canadiens, and the Jets. To add insult to injury, that loss to the Habs came at the hands of former third overall pick Kirby Dach, who scored the shootout winner and had a bit of fun with his old fans.

30. Philadelphia Flyers

Record: 7-10-5 (.432%, 25th)
5v5 Goal Differential: -4 (t-21st)
5v5 xGF/60: 2.21 (t-27th)
5v5 xGA/60: 2.87 (27th)
PP xGF/60: 5.43 (31st)
PK xGA/60: 10.16 (32nd)
5v5 PDO: 99.7
Previous Week: 28th (-2)

We have a new addition to the podium of despair at the bottom of these rankings, as the Flyers have surpassed the Blue Jackets to take the third worst spot after dropping all four games last week, and 10 in a row. The worst part for Flyers fans: they might get lower, considering that the only categories where they don’t sit in the bottom six in the league are their record and goal differential, which will only get worse as they lose more.

31. Arizona Coyotes

Record: 7-10-3 (.425%, 27th)
5v5 Goal Differential: -18 (29th)
5v5 xGF/60: 1.87 (32nd)
5v5 xGA/60: 2.9 (30th)
PP xGF/60: 5.61 (29th)
PK xGA/60: 8.63 (24th)
5v5 PDO: 98.5
Previous Week: 31st (0)

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The Coyotes will take any wins they can get while on their road trip from hell, and not only did they get one, it was against a strong Hurricanes team (although they are struggling at the moment, so they walked right into it). They also made a deal to solve their issues of having to drop someone on waivers to make room on their NHL roster, sending Conor Timmins to the Leafs in exchange for AHL forward Curtis Douglas.

32. Anaheim Ducks

Record: 6-15-1 (.295%, 32nd)
5v5 Goal Differential: -20 (30th)
5v5 xGF/60: 2.19 (29th)
5v5 xGA/60: 3.35 (32nd)
PP xGF/60: 7.5 (21st)
PK xGA/60: 9.63 (28th)
5v5 PDO: 98.7
Previous Week: 32nd (0)

They did it, they finally did it! The Ducks got their first regulation win of the season, beating the Rangers 3-2! Sure, they barely had 40 percent of the expected goals in the process, and they lost their other three games last week, but they did it! Now, they just need to beat someone by more than one goal and they might make some noise!

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