|Connelly’s Top Ten: Less Than a Week to Opening Day!||Why 2014 Should Make Red Sox Fans Smile||Former Bruins Player Carol Vadnais Dies||John Farrell’s Second Season Unlike his First|
It’s time, once again, for the SoB NHL power rankings. Our four experts have selected their picks, in addition to predictions for who will finish the season with the NHL’s best and worst records.
Four the third time in three possible chances, two teams have dropped from the rankings. We saw the highest ever non-unanimous score of 39, and only one team kept their previous week’s spot. Groups of two or three teams, point-wise, highlight this week’s standings, which includes a seven game win streak and two nine game win streaks.
A first place vote earns a team 10 points, a second place vote earns 9, and so on. Ties are broken based on who received the most first place votes, then the most second, and so on. The second tiebreaker is based on rank in the previous power ranking.
|Brian||Erikk||John||KC||SoB Composite||Last Time||Comments|
|#1||Washington Capitals||San Jose Sharks||Washington Capitals||Washington Capitals||(3) Washington Capitals (39)||#4, up 3||KC – The Caps are running away with the Eastern Conference and have the world’s best player in Ovechkin. Oh, and they’ve won nine in a row, too.|
|#2||San Jose Sharks||Washington Capitals||Chicago Blackhawks||San Jose Sharks||(1) San Jose Sharks (36)||#3, up 1||John – By picking up a point against Chicago, San Jose remains the NHL’s best team. It looks like we’ll see a dogfight down the stretch for the West, and indeed the League.|
|#3||Chicago Blackhawks||Chicago Blackhawks||San Jose Sharks||Chicago Blackhawks||Chicago Blackhawks (33)||#1, down 2||Brian – Such a dangerous team, built for a long playoff run.|
|#4||Vancouver Canucks||Pittsburgh Penguins||Ottawa Senators||New Jersey Devils||New Jersey Devils (22)||#2, down 2||Brian – With Brodeur in goal, how do you beat them in a seven-game series come playoff time?|
|#5||Buffalo Sabres||New Jersey Devils||Vancouver Canucks||Buffalo Sabres||Vancouver Canucks (21)||#10, up 5||John – With a 14 game road trip being broken up by the Olympics, it’s time to cash in those frequent flyer miles. Being away from home for this long will be a huge test to see if the Canucks can handle the jet lag and other stress, and still keep up their winning ways.|
|#6||New Jersey Devils||Colorado Avalanche||Buffalo Sabres||Ottawa Senators||Buffalo Sabres (20)||#5, down 1||John – A Wednesday shootout win over New Jersey keeps the Sabres within one point of second place, and seven of the conference title. But 0-2-1 against the Senators and with a five point lead, Buffalo will need to step it up a notch to maintain the division.|
|#7||Pittsburgh Penguins||Vancouver Canucks||New Jersey Devils||Vancouver Canucks||Ottawa Senators (16)||NR||Brian – Currently enjoying a nine game win streak, the Sens have separated themselves from the pack of playoff hopefuls, comfortably sitting pretty in the East’s fifth spot.|
|#8||Ottawa Senators||Buffalo Sabres||Los Angeles Kings||Phoenix Coyotes||Pittsburgh Penguins (14)||#6, down 2||Brian – If this team ever figures out how to fix their awful power play, no one will want to match up against the Pens in the playoffs.|
|#9||Phoenix Coyotes||Los Angeles Kings||Phoenix Coyotes||Pittsburgh Penguins||Phoenix Coyotes (7)||#9, even||KC – This late in the season, it appears the Coyotes are certainly for real.|
|#10||Los Angeles Kings||Ottawa Senators||Pittsburgh Penguins||Colorado Avalanche||Colorado Avalanche (6)||NR||John – The Avalanche find themselves in and out of the division lead, currently four points behind the Canucks after losing two in a row. It’ll be interesting to see if they can create any sort of separation, whether that separation is good or bad.|
|Others earning votes:||Los Angeles Kings (6)|
They get to feast on a full plate of games against their weak Southeast Division pals the rest of the way, which should help the Caps extend their already comfortable lead in the East.
The Blackhawks have solved the Sharks more often than the Sharks have solved the Capitals. That should help keep them going and give them yet another tiebreaker in hand. San Jose has to win. Chicago just has to not lose.
The Sharks usually tend to finish at the top of the NHL, but come playoff time, it won’t matter. The Sharks tend to blow it big time in the postseason, led at the top by the most un-clutch player in the NHL, Joe Thornton.
Their best player, Phil Kessel, is mired in a major slump, and they should be sellers come trade deadline day. As a Bruins fan, we can only hope the Leafs hit rock bottom.
… assuming no one calls for relegation.
I want to give this slot to the Boston Bruins, but Edmonton is the only winless team in their last 10, and Carolina has built a seven point lead. Boston could easily continue their meltdown, but is Edmonton good enough to make up 17 points in 30 games?
They currently have the worst record, thanks to 12 straight losses. There’s no sign that this team will turn things around. The other worst team, the Hurricanes, beat up on the slumping Bruins 5-1. The Oilers are definitely worse, but barely.
Tags: Buffalo Sabres, Chicago Blackhawks, Colorado Avalanche, Edmonton Oilers, Los Angeles Kings, New Jersey Devils, NHL Power Rankings, Ottawa Senators, Phoenix Coyotes, Pittsburgh Penguins, San Jose Sharks, Toronto Maple Leafs, Vancouver Canucks, Washington Capitals