An updated look at our power rankings as we approach the halfway mark of the shortened season.
It’s difficult to believe the 2021 NHL season is almost halfway done. We’re starting to see some consistency at the top and bottom of the rankings.
Teams like the Ducks, Red Wings, and Senators have established themselves at the bottom of the league while the Lightning, Golden Knights, and Maple Leafs are monsters.
This was an eventful week with Jack Eichel and the Sabres attracting attention in the worst way, Zach Parise getting benched, and the Oilers getting annihilated by Toronto at home.
With that being said, let’s look at how all 31 teams stack up for the week.
31. Anaheim Ducks
Previous Ranking: 31
The Ducks are on a league-worst eight-game losing streak and are the only team averaging fewer than two goals a game.
At least the kids look good: youngster Isac Lundestrom scored his first career hat-trick this week and Trevor Zegras has his first assist.
30. Detroit Red Wings
Previous Ranking: 29
The Red Wings’ power play continues to be woeful and the defense has been disastrous, conceding 19 goals in their last four.
29. Ottawa Senators
Previous Ranking: 28
The bad: Evgenii Dadonov looks nothing like the guy we saw in Florida and Derek Stepan is out for the season. The good: they were able to win a game this week.
28. Dallas Stars
Previous Ranking: 23
You couldn’t pay Dallas to come up with a win. Injuries are killing them, but no one is stepping up. Miro Heiskanen has been uncharacteristically bad.
Their season isn’t over, but they’re running out of time to turn things around and their schedule moving forward won’t be kind.
27. Buffalo Sabres
Previous Ranking: 25
The Sabres have lost five in a row and have scored just four goals in their last four games. Jeff Skinner has been so bad that he was benched for three straight games and that contract looks worse by the day.
It feels like it’s a matter of time before captain Jack Eichel and Taylor Hall are sent elsewhere.
26. New Jersey Devils
Previous Ranking: 24
The New Jersey Devils have fallen back down to earth after a surprisingly hot start to the season. Their special teams are some of the worst in the league and they just lost newly-appointed captain Nico Hischier to yet another injury.
25. Los Angeles Kings
Previous Ranking: 5
The Kings have cooled down significantly and are on a three-game losing streak. They scored just six goals over that stretch.
24. San Jose Sharks
Previous Ranking: 26
Even when the Sharks score, they can’t defend. This Erik Karlsson contract really couldn’t be worse.
23. Arizona Coyotes
Previous Ranking: 18
The Coyotes continue to be inconsistent. They went 1-2 over the past week while scoring just seven goals.
22. Nashville Predators
Previous Ranking: 27
The Predators have lost two in a row, but they did win two in a row to start the week. They also had a zero goal differential over that span. Shocking.
21. Columbus Blue Jackets
Previous Ranking: 19
It’s Columbus’ offense’s turn to struggle and not enough people are talking about how bad Max Domi has been. That contract sure looks ugly right now. At least they’ve won two in a row and the defense has looked better.
20. Vancouver Canucks
Previous Ranking: 30
Are the Canucks figuring it out or are they just in one of their inconsistent stretches?
They’ve posted a 2-1 record in the past week, including a decisive four-goal shutout against the very good Winnipeg Jets and a huge win against the Toronto Maple Leafs. They’ve also outscored opponents 9-6 in those three games.
This is exactly what they must do moving forward if they hope to keep their season alive.
19. Edmonton Oilers
Previous Ranking: 1
This was tough. The Oilers are obviously better than this, but losing three straight while scoring one goal and giving up 13 is ugly.
It doesn’t matter that these three games came against the Maple Leafs. For a team that was the hottest in the league not one week ago, stretches like this are unacceptable.
18. Montreal Canadiens
Previous Ranking: 17
The Canadiens continue to crash. They’ve gone 1-2 with a zero goal differential over the past week. Goalie Carey Price has been problematically bad and is costing them games.
17. Chicago Blackhawks
Previous Ranking: 7
The Blackhawks were able to muster just one win this week and will need to revert to what they were previously doing as their schedule gets tough.
That doesn’t include Patrick Kane, who’s boasting a career-high points-per-game rate. He was the NHL’s most recent second Star of the Week.
In other news, legendary defenseman Brent Seabrook announced his retirement due to injury on Friday morning. A sad day in Chicago.
16. New York Rangers
Previous Ranking: 21
The New York Rangers have been playing better than their record indicates all season, but they’re finally getting the results to show for their solid play.
The Blueshirts have gone 3-1 over the past week, outscored opponents 16-9, and are on a two-game winning streak. Chris Kreider is on a tear and number one pick Alexis Lafrenière is finally settling into the NHL.
Goaltender Igor Shesterkin, who had been playing tremendously as of late, left the third period of Thursday’s blowout against the Devils with an injury that looked serious. The Rangers will hope that that is not the case.
15. Minnesota Wild
Previous Ranking: 6
The Wild have cooled down a bit. They’re on a two-game losing streak and have actually been outscored 14-12 over the last week.
The Wild were in the news after Zach Parise’s benching. He’s been struggling, but can take his team to the next level if he gets hot.
Speaking of hot, Mats Zuccarello was the most recent NHLPA Player of the Week and NHL’s Third Star of the Week, and has been incredible since rejoining the team.
14. Calgary Flames
Previous Ranking: 22
The Flames remain one of the most inconsistent team’s in the NHL. They are 2-1 over the past week, all three of those games against the dreadful Senators. Let’s see if they can defy expectation and build on their most recent win.
13. Pittsburgh Penguins
Previous Ranking: 12
The Penguins had a mediocre week, going 2-2 and outscoring opponents 12-11. Their special teams have been some of the worst in the league and must improve if they hope to get back into a playoff spot.
12. Boston Bruins
Previous Ranking: 13
The Bruins have really cooled down lately. They weren’t great when we last updated our power rankings and have gone 1-1-1 over this past week, even getting outscored 7-9.
Some of their losses have been particularly ugly (see blowouts at the hands of both New York teams).
11. Florida Panthers
Previous Ranking: 4
The Panthers have had a rough week, winning just one game and getting outscored 10-11. At least they were able to get points in both losses.
In case you were wondering, Sergei Bobrovsky still isn’t very good and everyone’s still waiting for him to get it together.
10. Winnipeg Jets
Previous Ranking: 8
Pierre-Luc Dubois doesn’t look like his usual self yet, but the Jets are rolling. They’re 3-1 over the past week, are on a two-game winning streak, and might be one of the clutchest teams in the NHL.
9. Philadelphia Flyers
Previous Ranking: 15
The Flyers have looked much better in their last four games. They’ve gone 3-1 while outscoring opponents 12-8.
Granted, two of these wins were 3-0 shutouts against a disastrous Sabres team, but they also had a very impressive comeback victory against Pittsburgh on Thursday.
8. St. Louis Blues
Previous Ranking: 20
The Blues are 3-0 in the past week. Those victories came against the Sharks and Ducks, yes, but they look better. They’re also getting Vladimir Tarasenko back at a crucial time.
7. New York Islanders
Previous Ranking: 9
The New York Islanders look like the team that made it to the Eastern Conference Final last season. This team doesn’t lose anymore, especially in regulation.
The young Oliver Wahlstrom is proving to be another dangerous offensive weapon for this already-stacked team.
6. Washington Capitals
Previous Ranking: 14
The Capitals are back to looking as dominant as they did early on. They’re on a four-game winning streak and are doing a phenomenal job defensively.
5. Colorado Avalanche
Previous Ranking: 11
The Avs are rolling, having gone 3-1 over the past week while outscoring opponents 15-10. This is how we expect the potential cup contenders to play on a regular basis.
4. Carolina Hurricanes
Previous Ranking: 16
The Hurricanes are on a four-game winning streak and are tied with Tampa Bay for first in the division. They’ve been so dominant and are just as good as any of the top teams. Hats off to the veteran Jordan Staal, who’s scoring at career-high levels.
3. Toronto Maple Leafs
Previous Ranking: 3
The Maple Leafs have been so consistently good this season. They went to Edmonton and just destroyed the hottest team in the league, shutting them out in their first two games and then winning 6-1 in game three.
This is a testament to an elite defense that was able to shut down the likes of Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl, arguably the two best players on the planet.
2. Vegas Golden Knights
Previous Ranking: 10
The Golden Knights can do it all and they’ve looked elite from top to bottom. They’ve been playing like true contenders lately and should have no problem finishing the season strong.
1. Tampa Bay Lightning
Previous Ranking: 2
The Lightning are lucky that their division isn’t the strongest.
They’re on a six-game winning streak and went 3-0 over the past week, outscoring opponents 8-2. Most of that can be credited to two back-to-back shutouts against a Stars team that’s seen better days.
Even so, this team plays like it just won the Cup a few months ago. Goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy deserves credit for his elite play. He was also named the NHL’s most recent First Star of the Week.