NHL Power Rankings: Poor goaltending sinking the champs

Yahoo Sports Canada
Binnington has looked average for the Blues this season. (Photo by David Kirouac/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Binnington has looked average for the Blues this season. (Photo by David Kirouac/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Hey everyone, we here at Yahoo! Sports are doing real power rankings for teams Nos. 1-31. Here they are, based on only how I am feeling about these teams and their chances to win the Cup, meaning you can’t tell me I’m wrong because these are my feelings and feelings can’t be wrong. Please enjoy the Power Feelings.

31. Ottawa Senators (Last week: 31)

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Just a note here to say the Senators ended last week (last Monday-Sunday) on pace to finish with 35 points and a minus-117 goal difference. The three points they have through seven games? Naturally, they’re against Tampa and Vegas, the two most talented teams in the league. Sure. Why not.

30. Minnesota Wild (LW: 30)

I was a little taken aback when Jason Zucker called out Bruce Boudreau as needing to be better, so it was nice that the guy publicly and privately apologized. I really feel bad for Boudreau, who got as much as he reasonably could out of the roster last year.

Does that mean he doesn’t need to figure some things out? I mean, I guess it would help, but what’s he supposed to do, realistically? Ask Dubnyk, “Can you try making a save tonight?” Come on.

29. Detroit Red Wings (LW: 25)

Last week, the Wings played three games, scored three goals, and gave up 12. Based on the roster, that sounds… well, about right, I guess.

28. Los Angeles Kings (LW: 28)

27. Columbus Blue Jackets (LW: 26)

26. New Jersey Devils (LW: 29)

Two wins helps relieve the pressure on the coach in theory. But with only two more games in the entire month of October, the perception that these guys are drowning in the division — even with the Rangers’ and Flyers’ slow starts — might be a real issue.

25. Chicago (LW: 27)

These guys have two more home games (tonight and Thursday) before they hit the road for eight of their next 11. They have one regulation win to date. If they can’t beat Vegas and Philly in these next two, I dunno how you go into the road trip feeling like there’s a lot of winnable games.

24. Philadelphia Flyers (LW: 23)

We have our second official big losing streak of the season: 0-3-1 after the Flyers won the first two games. Monday’s win against Vegas notwithstanding, there are a lot of questions to ask for a stretch where they got outscored 15-7.

23. New York Rangers (LW: 22)

22. Anaheim Ducks (LW: 21)

21. Dallas Stars (LW: 20)

And by the way, the first official big losing streak of the season was, of course, the Stars’ run of 0-4-1. It ended, appropriately, in Philadelphia despite the fact that they got outshot 39-16. Gotta love this sport.

20. Arizona Coyotes (LW: 24)

They started the season with just seven goals in their first four games, which gave everyone that big “here we go again” feeling about the team’s inability to score. But in their last three games, they’ve put in 14 and continued to be pretty good defensively. And all of a sudden, they have points in five straight.

Not saying they have something here, but maybe they have something here.

19. Montreal Canadiens (LW: 16)

These guys have played nine games already? Huh, okay. Well, they’re on pace for like 91 points so I’m not getting too worked up about it.

18. Florida Panthers (LW: 19)

17. New York Islanders (LW: 18)

They’re getting insane goaltending (.927 for the season) to cover up the fact that they don’t have a competitive offence. Stop me if you’ve heard this one before.

16. Winnipeg Jets (LW: 12)

On the one hand, they’re second in the division against all odds. On the other hand, to be second in the Central right now, you apparently only have to be .500 and have played more games than everyone else. Who knows? For now, it just seems like they’re wasting some truly inspired Connor Hellebuyck performances.

15. Nashville Predators (LW: 13)

14. St. Louis Blues (LW: 8)

Four straight losses, including two to the Canadiens by a combined score of 11-5, ain’t gonna cut it. Anyone who came into the season worried about the goaltending (that is, smart people) have so far been more or less right. Jordan Binnington looks average, Jake Allen looks horrible. Just something to monitor.

13. Edmonton Oilers (LW: 17)

I’m not even busting balls here, but I really wonder how long this team can keep winning with McDavid and Draisaitl providing 70ish percent of the offence.

12. San Jose Sharks (LW: 11)

Since adding Patrick Marleau, the Sharks are 3-1 with 16 goals scored. Obviously not saying correlation is causation here because this is a 40-year-old guy who has two goals in four games. But it’s really amazing how much better this team would be with, like, any goaltending. Jones and Dell are both sub-.900 again.

11. Calgary Flames (LW: 15)

The Flames are in an 0-1-1 hole against the Kings in what Drew Doughty clearly thinks of as his own personal Cup Final this season. Rocky record against the dregs of the league aside (all their other losses are at least “respectable”) and while I wouldn’t predict this team to have the same kind of season they did last year, any questions you might have had about the goaltending in particular seem moot.

Not bad, but their real issue is they need more offence; 25 goals in 10 games isn’t good enough.

10. Vancouver Canucks (LW: 14)

9. Pittsburgh Penguins (LW: 7)

8. Washington Capitals (LW: 10)

I know Connor McDavid is Connor McDavid but right now if I’m filling out an MVP ballot, it’s John Carlson at No. 1.

7. Toronto Maple Leafs (LW: 6)

6. Colorado Avalanche (LW: 9)

One guy who isn’t getting enough credit so far this season with this team? Andre Burakovsky. He was a little reclamation project who’s already almost a quarter of the way to his career high for goals and points. There’s more to the game than that, but they have the depth to put him in a position to succeed and, offensively at least, he has so far.

5. Carolina Hurricanes (LW: 1)

Three losses in the last four games, including 12 goals against and only eight scored. Two of them were on that California road swing (almost always three games in four nights) and they actually had to go to LA (win) to San Jose (loss) back to Anaheim (loss), which is a tough quirk of the schedule. Start the season with five wins and you give yourself some wiggle room, but they need everyone to tighten it up a little.

4. Buffalo Sabres (LW: 5)

It’s like I always say: If you have Carter Hutton (.952 in five starts), you’re gonna be fine.

3. Boston Bruins (LW: 2)

I talked about these guys yesterday but I didn’t get a chance to mention that Tuukka Rask has been awesome this season and while Jaro Halak has also been well above average, you can probably make the argument that Rask deserves more starts.

2. Tampa Bay Lightning (LW: 4)

1. Vegas Golden Knights (LW: 3)

It’s cool that the top 5 has been so fluid this year. I love it. I still have a Vegas/Tampa Cup Final but I’m not as certain about it as I was a few weeks ago. Fun!

Ryan Lambert is a Yahoo! Sports columnist. His email is here and his Twitter is here.

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