Over The Hump: Power Rankings (Oct. 17)

Week two of our power rankings sees some big changes in momentum from a few teams and some depressing levels of stability from others. Here are your Central Division Rankings:

1) Nashville Predators: (5-1-0)

You can’t argue with three straight wins. The Preds bounced back from their banner-beatdown at the hands of Calgary and have outscored their competition 12-4 since. When given the eye test this team still doesn’t seem to have it in gear, but when you have this much talent saturating the lineup, you can afford to take your time.

Upcoming Games: @CGY, @EDM, SJ

What’s Gonna Happen:  Nashville could easily go into their tilt with San Jose on a five-game win streak. Could we be seeing a preview of the WCF? Maybe… but I predict NSH v SJ will be a snooze fest. The win streak stops at five.

2) Chicago Blackhawks: (3-0-2)

THEY’RE STILL UNDEFEATED, BABY… in regulation. Cam Ward has continued to perform like an umbrella in a hurricane. He now has 21 goals against in five games. Don’t worry, his save percentage has stabilized at a stout .879. All eyes look forward to Thursday, which is still slated to be Corey Crawford’s first start since 2017. Just as Crawford finally seems ready to play meaningful hockey, Chicago’s 6-million dollar man, Brandon Saad, is rumored to be a healthy scratch. Hi, Artemi! How’s Columbus treating you?

What’s Gonna Happen: ARI, @CBJ, TBL, ANA

What’s Gonna Happen: Corey Crawford plays well in his debut, but the Hawks still find a way to blow a lead in the final minute and the OT streak continues.

 3) Colorado Avalanche: (3-1-2)

Nathan MacKinnon has now scored in six straight games. Apart from a thrashing of Buffalo, it has been a rocky week for Colorado who has lost three of their last four games. They’ve only lost one game in regulation, for whatever that’s worth. Actually, I guess that’s worth two points, isn’t it? They’ll take ‘em. That alone lofts them into 3rd place.

Upcoming Games:  @NJ, @CAR @PHI

What’s Gonna Happen: Three tough road games are coming up. They’ll take three points on the trip but only win one game. You know, the Colorado special.

4) Winnipeg Jets: (3-2-1)

Winnipeg can’t put two full games together. The Jets had good wins over St. Louis, LA & Carolina that were immediately followed by brutal losses to Dallas, Nashville, and Edmonton. Only two Jets had more than a single goal heading into the Edmonton game. Much like Nashville, this is a team which can probably afford a slow start, but you’re completely in the right to scream at your TV if you feel the need.

Upcoming Games: VAN, ARI, STL

What to Expect: This start-stop season will continue. The Jets beat Vancouver, lose to Arizona and go 2-0 against St. Louis. Paul Maurice is going to throw Laine’s PS4 out a window.

5) Dallas Stars (3-3-0)

John Klingberg has picked up where he left off from last season. The blueliner has four goals in five games. Special teams should be the biggest focus of the Stars. Their power play is ranked second in the league, but when they find themselves shorthanded, they’re only killing 75% of penalties. The Stars can’t pin their 4-1 loss to Ottawa or 3-0 loss to New Jersey on special teams alone, however. Those were just lousy performances and they are the reason the Stars drop from 1st all the way to 5th in the rankings.

Upcoming Games: MIN, LAK

What’s Gonna Happen: Dallas really needs to get some momentum back. They’ll be facing two tough netminders in Dubnyk & Quick. Good thing both the teams in front of them are slower than a sloth in quicksand. Dallas will regain some mojo.

6) Minnesota Wild (2-2-2)

It isn’t quite reflected in their record, but the Wild are slowly looking better. Minnesota got a building block win in a crazy comeback against Chicago and gave the Canes and Preds some trouble in tough losses. Zach Parise has been a wizard with the puck, totaling six assists so far this year. The Wild are still starting games too slowly. They haven’t scored the first goal in a game since October 6th.

Upcoming Games: @DAL TBL

 What’s Gonna Happen: Woof. That’s not an ideal upcoming week for a team still treading water. Though the team is improving, they’re going to take a bump and go 0-2. 

7) St. Louis Blues:

This team is good at winning faceoffs… and that’s about it. Chad Johnson turns out to be a real guy, but he’s clearly not a starter for a reason. St. Louis went 1-2 over the past week, including another wild loss to Chicago in overtime. It doesn’t look like it will get better soon either.

Upcoming Games: @MTL, @TOR, @WPG

What’s Gonna Happen: As of now, this team is bad, boring and they are going on a road trip which will put them face to face with some of the scariest players in the league. We all know how that’s going to go. Man, this team bums me out…